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Thread: Storage for LOTS of small pieces

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2003

    Storage for LOTS of small pieces

    I have what is probably an uncommon problem. My basement shop, garage and shed are full of small pieces of lumber. The kind of stuff you would find in a bin of shorts or offcuts at a good lumberyard. And it's a lot of good stuff I don't want to waste either - all kinds of species, grain patterns, a lot of clear pieces, etc. Problem is that if I added it all up, it would be over a thousand board feet of the stuff. Lumber costs money and often I have just the right piece at hand and don't have to cut something bigger, or worse, buy it.

    So in a few weeks, barring complications, I am moving everything in my basement shop to my garage workshop, which is an 800-sf space. I need a good solution for storing all of these short pieces of lumber until I can find a use for them. Yes there will be cutting boards and lathe work and all kinds of uses eventually, but hoarding goes on. The cute little roll-around bins that you can build with a sheet of plywood are nice, if you only have a couple hundred feet of the stuff. I'm gonna need a dozen bins. Anyone have any brilliant ideas on specifically how to store all these short lumber pieces?
    Jon Endres
    Killing Trees Since 1983

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Putney, Vermont
    Sounds like you need another shed Jon. With shelves.

  3. #3
    Depends how small.

    I remember one person using 5 gallon buckets for offcuts.

  4. #4
    I do something so that you can tell at a glance how long the board is. Saw a YouTube video where the builder varied the depths of the pigeon holes so that they all looked the same depth, but where not. That would probably help you in finding the right sized piece, since the length is often the only size not readily apparent.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    West Lafayette, IN
    Id do some kind of stacking bin system. Maybe a bunch of PVC sections stacked on top of each other or something. When it gets too much inside though it and burn which I find to be too much that Ill never move.
    When I moved states a few months ago I gave it all to a neighbor to burn. Good riddance to the clutter!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    I've been thinking about doing something like Matt mentions as I have a similar situation and need to reclaim the space as well as be better organized with my "shorts and scraps".

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  7. #7
    I have a moving dolly under a crate I built for off-cuts. 3-5' stand in the taller back sections and it tapers down to about 8" in the front bins. A couple weeks ago I had finally had it with the shop debris. the shelves along the wall with a lot of wood on it resembled the scree at the bottom off a mountain. It kinda builds out onto the floor. I did a major clean-up and was very pleased with how much I got rid of as well as how well organized my bin and shelf storage was. In the cart I sorted by length and type. Two weeks later, it is a mess again. The rolling cart works well. It just needs a better operator.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Central North Carolina
    You should learn to scroll saw. Most of my smaller pieces of hardwoods get saved for scroll sawing. When they are too small for the scroll saw they make great fire starting materials in the fireplace. If they are pine or other softwoods and less than 1' long they bypass the scroll saws. Then, when my storage space begins overflowing, I may bypass the scroll saws for some of the larger pieces. This is usually a sad day and makes me use the scroll saws more.


  9. #9
    I too save many small pieces, but they take up so much space, I found there was no room for bigger pieces. So when my grandkids were visiting, went out and cut the scraps into 2 1/2" strips, then glued them flatways together, and when they were dry, cut them into 2 1/4" blocks. One of the grandsons went out to the shop with me, and glued up an art project of his own. Kid is talented. Sent them home with about 200 blocks.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    I will be re-working this stack. I will make the front plane even and stair-step the back to make it easier to get the little stuff in the top bins. Other than that it has worked great.

    Cutoff Bin v2 (9).jpgCutoff Bin v2(12).jpgre-vamped wood stash (6).jpg

    Obviously built out of whatever plywood I had left over from other things, you can make it as tall, deep or wide as you like.
    She said How many woodworking tools do you need?
    I said Why? Do you know someone who is selling some?

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