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Thread: Offcuts

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2017
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    2,074

    Offcuts

    Small offcuts are easier to let go if they get some kind of use. We don't have a fireplace but our friends do so offcuts go into a box for them to burn. But today I am working in Purpleheart. Those go to compost. Purpleheart might burn really bright but not bright enough to see well enough to pull those tiny splinters.

    Got any similar species?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    2,882
    Medium size offcuts are the bane of my existence. Too big to burn, only rarely big enough to be useful. We already have cutting boards coming out our ears. They are beginning to overwhelm my shop. Any piece of 2x4 shorter than 3-4 ft I throw away without a second thought, but I just can't seem to do it with hardwood. I already have so many projects to do I can't imagine wanting to invent new ones just to use up my offcuts. I'm too cheap to just cut them smaller and throw them in the pizza oven (they burn too fast anyway).

    I suppose I could store them out of sight in the basement and then my kids can dumpster then when I'm not around.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Orwell, NY
    Posts
    860
    I mostly only have quite small hardwood pieces that are too small for what I make, but I save them in a box or three and when I get about 30 or 40 pounds I put them on Craigslist in the Free section and someone always takes them away for knife handles, carving, crafts etc.

  4. #4
    It was too hot and dry for our usual Friday night bonfires this summer, so I am drowning in the kindling and offcuts that usually get burned by this point in the year. Now that it is starting to get below freezing, they are going into the shop wood stove for heat. I need to go through nearly my whole scrap bin so I can fill it with the stuff in my wood rack that should really be scrap. The only thing I don't burn is treated wood, wood with glue in it (plywood, mdf, etc), and painted wood.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Waterford, PA
    Posts
    1,018
    My sister uses a fair bit of wood spring, summer and fall. She and he hubby have a small firepit that they use almost every night, so I keep a box in the space under the miter saw. My saw even has a mark on it for the maximum length they can comfortable fit in the pit. Everything that is even remotely too small for easy use goes in the box unless it is treated. I guess because she is often asking if I'm close to having another box ready for her, I tend to putting it in her box rather than saving it.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Bastrop, TX
    Posts
    161
    The thing about off-cuts: they are essentially 'sized' and ready-to-use. And as others have noted: HARDLY ever do they find a use. That's been my experience ... and like others: I'm choked. Nowadays I do a lot of extra work to use-up anything that I can. IF I had-it to do over ... and in the case of some 'species' I just-might: at the end of a project, glue-up all the pieces that are the same thickness ... sand-flatten-and-trim ... and keep gluing-up till I have a board that is of useful thickness. This is do-able for a VERY serious hobbyist. And for 2x pieces as-well-as some 'species' ... get a finger-joint cutter to make longer boards. Two years-ago I called and asked around for someone to come-and-take ... nobody ever showed-up.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    McKean, PA
    Posts
    13,888
    Here's one solution for off cuts.
    blocks.jpg
    Lee Schierer
    Captain USN(Ret)

    My advice, comments and suggestions are free, but it costs money to run the site. If you found something of value here please give a little something back by becoming a contributor! Please Contribute

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Kansas City
    Posts
    2,047
    I separate out the maple and cherry pieces, and offer to friends who have smokers. The others I burn in a cheap fire pit during the summer. More than once, I've pulled a piece out of the scrap pile to use for a repair or finish test, so I like to keep scraps for a while.
    Hobbyist

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Location
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Posts
    59,420
    I am more selective with off-cuts at this point due to storage concerns, but I hate waste and like to be able to paw through a bunch of beautiful and still functional offcuts for "just the right piece". No burning happens around here...if I do discard, it's in the trash at this address.
    --

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

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Location
    West Tennessee
    Posts
    97
    I use a Vogelzang box stove, cut-offs are utilized.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Millstone, NJ
    Posts
    574
    I have a hard time throwing away tiny pieces of BB. let alone hardwood. I find projects to use it all up.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2021
    Location
    Portland, OR
    Posts
    152
    Normally I save all my offcuts til the end of year, use whatever I can as the months go by. Around thanksgiving I turn them all into cutting boards and give them away to my top clients of the year as gifts.

    I burn most softwoods, other than cedar and juniper. I also burn my paint grade hardwoods. We heat the house with fire and also entertain by the firepit, so I always need something for burnin.

    I will admit though: I plan to rebuild my outfeed table and expect it to be nothing more than storage for lumber and offcuts. Which seems a bit insane when I think about it...

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Michiana
    Posts
    2,347
    I had the same quandary. I had heaps of offcuts just waiting for a project and taking up space. Then I met a bladesmith that can use them for knife scales and such. Now he has heaps of offcuts just waiting for a project and taking up space.
    Sharp solves all manner of problems.

  14. #14
    I stack them in a corner until there's no more room, then one day I'll say enough is enough and chop them all down to wood stove size. The usable cherry, walnut, and hard maple pieces get recycled into cutting boards, everything else ends up as kindling or just tossed in the woodstove. Nothing like a toasty warm wood stove fire on a cold winter evening.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Sierra Nevada Mtns (5K feet)
    Posts
    258
    I have the same problem. Also have many cutting board for wife plus all other family members. I sometimes make coaster sets of scraps. About 4-5 inches square. A set of six for friends is usually quite welcomed. I sometimes mix the wood types, other times six of the same species . It is also fun when in between stages of a project. However, most goes into the woodstove.

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