Giving Away or Using Up Scrap Wood

Ideas for making use of small hardwood or plywood scrap and off-cuts. March 25, 2007

What do you do with cutoff plywood and hardwood at your shop? We are throwing it in our dumpster and having it taken to a landfill. It has always seemed a shame to me to waste all of those scraps. I was wandering if anyone has found a good solution for this wood waste.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor P:
I give a lot away. Set up a holder in front of the shop for hardwood scrap and a sign that says free firewood. Someone will take it all every week, at least around here. I wanted to set up one of those wood furnaces, the kind that mount outside the shop, but the insurance company nixed the idea.

From contributor T:
Check with your local schools - I had a small elementary school take virtually all of my scrap for years.

From contributor K:
I don't know if you make your own components, but you would be amazed at how much of your regular and odd-sized waste can be applied to components. For example...

Ply cut-offs:

Toe-kick (ladder) material
Cutting board holder
Cutting board*
I-Beam for cabinets
Cutlery Dividers
Spice racks (drawer style)*
Drawer Pull-outs*
Pan Dividers
Shoe racks*
*in conjunction with leftover hardwood

Spice racks (multiple types - single unit door hung, multi-piece door hung, pull-outs)
Edging for Susans
Front piece for Susans (90 degree and splay)
Cutlery Dividers
Misc. Moldings/Edge Material
Shims (cut-offs from S3S)
Pictures or Standard Frames
Drawer Pull-Outs
Plate Racks

Of course, these are made during slow times, or as change of pace projects to avoid burnout (who likes to only sand all the time, right?), but you can come up with great components from what is normally considered waste. Anything left over, like others have said, you can give it away.

From contributor M:
I also pastor a church and I collect some scrap plywood through the spring and cut parts for bird houses, tool boxes, wheel barrels, trucks, etc. Then some of us act as teachers at vacation Bible school and let the young'uns build their project and paint it the way they want. It works the pastor to death that week, but the fun the kids get from it is more satisfying than the kitchens I've been doing lately! Maybe there is a church that would appreciate the scrap. There is always some hobbyist in a church that would cut the parts.