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Has anyone figured out a good/profitable use of scraps?12/4
I am trying to figure out a good way to use our scrap wood from our manufacturing plant. We are a high end custom cabinet shop that have about 3-5 residential jobs going every week. There is a lot of scraps that I know could be used for something. My main prospect is cutting boards. We have a CNC machine that has the ability to take on some pet projects if I can establish a good misc. market as well.
My personal opinion on cutting boards is unless you have a very high end market or some niche way of putting them together and marketing them your putting yourself in competition with every garage/basement shop in your area, every craft fair, and basement shop on the internet. The guys who spend all day putting together 4-6 boards, cutting up new material, and selling them for $50 bucks a piece (a $300 day, gross). Doesnt seem like a profitable venture to me but then I have seen single board, figured maple, cutting/bread boards at galleries priced at 90-110$ for basically a 14" piece of figured 4/4 or 5/4 Maple, 8" wide, with some edge profile and a hole punched in them.
We set aside suitable board material until there is enough to fly out 30-40 in a couple days and give them to customers as gifts or donate them to local fund raising events (charity auctions).
Stikwood started out as a way to reclaim drop
Maybe a grinder and a briquette extruding machine would be a better bet.
We grind much of our wood waste and feed it into a silo/biomass boiler system to heat the shop.
Considering that the left over materials were paid for by your clients and are already written off, rather than spending any significant time trying to figure out ways to make them into something saleable, give them away and move on to more profitable uses of your time. Selling your next kitchen job comes to mind. I'm sure that if you look around a bit, you could find a secondary school or community college with a woodshop or art department that would be happy to accept and haul away your donation. There may even be a non-profit or other training program in your area that would be delighted to accept your scrap.
One of the more successful woodworkers I ever met had a bookcase business. He built bookcases day in & day out. Nothing but bookcases.
He came to this business from a background in second-hand stores. He had noticed that bookcases were always what sold first. He started out building bookcases in a corner of his retail store. This corner grew to half of the store then took over the whole business.
He also bagged up his scrap pieces of pine and sold them for $1 a piece. The bags were clear plastic, about the size of a grocery bag. I used his piles of firewood bags as one data point for my economic analysis of the local area. If the bags were piled up I interpreted this to mean business was good.
This man had more discipline than the rest of us. I offered to wholesale him my oak scraps but he turned me down.
The shop I trained in back in the 70's made stair cases, stair parts, mantles, doors, and large architectural things, some for stock and some for custom. We used a lot of C&btr Pine.
All the scraps were saved - end cuts under the rip saw and rippings over in a bin. The company also made little interior moveable louver panels, where no part was larger than 3/4 x 1-1/4 x 30" and most were much smaller. Slats were fed thru an ancient sash sticker for profile, and rails and stiles were all processed very efficiently. Mortised and tenoned and drilled for the slats in jobs that made 4-8-12 panels for someones windows.
The material was effectively sold twice this way, and was plentiful, and 1 or 2 men made a living making the shutters, mostly by cleaning up the scrap.
Im with David on this one. The fact that the material is already paid for is all the more reason to use it if you can. Its a win win all the way around, more profit margin, no cost of disposal, not filling a landfill, and so on.
The issue we have always run into is merely finding that product that can put it to use. Always looking but havent found one yet.
I have a 40ft conex, with many different shelves and bins to organize different shapes & lengths of material. I do a lot of custom displays, bars and oddball projects, so I have a wide rage of material offcuts and extras, etc. Occasionally I can pull a client's entire project out from this scrap bin. Nice using material that was paid for long ago, and getting rid of it clears up space. It's especially good when trying to do some weird project that has an insufficient budget for what it really should be, but interesting enough that I'd still like to do it. Those client are more flexible on the materials/sizes they end up with, so the scrap bin saves the day again.
I changed the way I looked at scrap a few years ago. I was trying to use every last inch of a panel and had several areas of storage for them. When I looked at the cost per foot of the space they took up. The labor involved in making it work and the time it took to go through inventory and create a cut list from all these drops, i came to the conclusion it just isn't worth it. We dont keep anything smaller than 16 x 48 usually. I have a small vertical rack we keep them in next to production manager shop and we check before running a job. If we have a piece that will work we put a label on it so its there when we run the job
I may be up for discussing the scrap wood with you. I sell a lot of specialty hardwood flooring and wall paneling online and I've been wanting to expand product offerings to include end grain wood blocks, edge grain blocks, hexagon blocks etc. So it's possible that I could put some of it to use. Feel free to drop me a message to discuss further. Thanks
I have seen shops selling scrap wood by the pound to hobby woodworkers.
Compared to natural gas, it takes about 200 pounds of wood to equal the heat from $ 6 of natural gas.
Is there perhaps a non-profit wood shop nearby, perhaps incorporating handicap person, or maybe an educational institution that would like scraps donated, with you taking an appropriate tax deduction.
I recall a shop in Ohio that sold 12" long shorts (mostly clear pieces) in packs that were shrink wrapped and shipped by UPS. Prices were about 430 per bundle. They also had longer pieces. Business was so good that they even cut up lumber directly into short pieces...just kidding.
I don't mean to hijack, but I am in the same boat. Except my scraps are truly useless pine. All I do now is haul it to the dump. Can you burn pine for heat? Currently do not have a burner, but would entertain the idea if it would work. Especially in this 9* effin weather.
For all wood, you are able to recover about 5000 BTUs of useful heat (after losses) per pound of wood. Due the resin in pines and a few other woods, and if the wood is quite dry, this number might increase slightly. One million BTU of natural gas costs about $6.
Any wood can be burned for heat. The issue of creosote (unburned wood) results because the fire is too cool and this results because there is not enough oxygen (vents may be nearly closed). With enough air, wood of any species can be burned safely. (Short answer)
I just finished listening to the book "The Goal" for the second time in 2 months and it changes the way you look at things on costs and time and profitability and savings.
Regarding the cost of burning scraps, there are additional costs. Collecting into a dumpster, renting the dumpster and paying for hauling and tip fees is usually a significant overhead cost, running all year, not just the heating season.
I am pretty ignorant on this subject, but I will ask the question anyway.
Is it harder on the environment to burn the scraps or take them to the dumb?
I only need 4ish months of heat and produce plenty of scraps to burn. But if its close to a wash, I would like to do whats best for environment.
Scraps are a biproduct of manufacturing. With any biproduct, we do always have to make sure that we do not retract from the main product when working with a biproduct. So, the first step should be to maximize the main product. With raw wood being perhaps 75% of the value of a product, profit gains in efficient processing (low waste) are tremendous, so long as such processing changes do not affect the primary product quality.
Obviously, we will have some wood waste and it's disposal must be done. People have looked at wood waste for decades to see what value it might have. In a few cases, people have been able to make a profitable product--small boxes, kiln stickers, hobby market, fuel, bedding and compost--but seldom are these products that profitable, especially if handling and government regulations are restrictive.
Burning wood for disposal sounds great and maybe helps cash flow until we encounter various regulations, from fire risks, air pollution and so on. Plus there is handling, including fuel prep and storage over weekends, and so on. Plus, after burning, we have ash disposal concerns which we can ignore if the environment is not important, or we can find out are expensive. Wood has many trace minerals that are concentrated in the ash. Who cares if these are now concentrated in the landfill when we dispose of the ash? It is just a few shovels of ash in a dumpster every week.
One discussion topic is the fact that any organic burning generates CO and CO2. The more long-life wood products we make, the more we sequester carbon and reduce CO2 in the air..etc. so, putting scraps in a landfill helps, except the deterioration of wood in the landfill does release CO2 over time. 9flimsy, short-lived wood products from overseas have a short life' better made products from the USA can help sequesrtor carbon- -buy USA.
All in all, wood manufacturing is a tough job with high complexity if we think about more than profit.
Thanks Gene. In my situation, I guess I will just keep taking it to the dump. I produce more that I can burn, and I don't know if its worth it for the little heat I need per year. I also don't really care for the smoke associated with the burners.