Off cuts:

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Off cuts:

  • Throw them all away?

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Keep as many as possible?

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Have cleanout once month?

    Votes: 0 0.0%
  • Try and hide them somewhere else?

    Votes: 0 0.0%

  • Total voters
  • Poll closed .


Established Member
31 Dec 2004
Reaction score
Cotswolds UK
What do you do with off-cuts?
Do you suffer from bins full of perfectly good bits of wood that may come in useful one day?
Brought about by the knowledge they were just what you wanted the day after they went in the incinerator last time.
depends on the wood and size of the offcut...

the current project initially generated loads, but as I fitted more and more glue blocks, fillets and braces the pile gradually deminished.
Hardwood pieces are handy for handles, knobs, shims etc. Anything that hasn't been used gets shipped to my sis (wood burner) every few months. Odd bits of ply are handy to use as packers, backing pieces to prevent blow out when drilling through a piece and the occasional jig.
I buy them :oops: . They're ideal for small-scale fretwork.

I used to keep everything, but I'm getting better now, and do chuck them out. I need a better solution, as it is a waste. I have also given them away to someone with a wood burning fire.

I've found having a lathe is the death-knell for throwing away off-cuts. Even the smallest piece could come in handy for a file handle or a relapse of mini-mallet making.
Anyway they're the priciest wood imaginable; think of all that work, wear and tear on tools etc that's gone into making them, I couldn't possibly throw them away... Having said all that, I have a nasty feeling what I call my stock supply of timber would be considered by a lot of people as leftovers or waste. My "off-cuts" are usually in the region of a couple of inches long - or even less in the case of exotics*. If anything does get tossed it goes in the fuel bucket for the wood stoves, unless it's MDF, treated etc when it goes in a seperate bucket for use in the garage for wedges, shims etc (don't ask me; TPTB seem to find use for it all). Crumbs, that sounds terribly organised and nauseatingly eco-friendly doesn't it? Someone pass me a tree to hug...

Cheers, Alf

*It's not like wood grows on trees, is it...?
Well I did try to keep everything, but being unable to use the bench as its disappearing under a mountain of that will be useful at some time bits just had to stop. :roll:

I still keep lots of them, the rest go to warm the shop in the wood burner. :D
Happy New Year to all,

Practically my entire stock of wood consists of someone elses scrap etc.
Hardwood and softwood plank ends, pieces with unsuitable grain, waney edged and warped bits and bobs are a treasure to me. Mostly donated by Compton joinery. I also rescue old and broken hardwood furniture which costs far less than the cost of new timber.

I make animal shaped door wedges, jewelery boxes, chopping boards, clocks, stools etc etc which are mostly given away as gifts. Occasionaly I am forced to pass on very small bits for burning but I do know that these are picked over for miniature turning.
Why not make some intarsia pictures?
All in all not much leaves me without carefull consideration!!

There was a hardwood supplier in Cambridge, MA, who used to throw all their offucts in the dumpster (skip). I learned the gentle art of 'dumpster diving' by clearing out all the good stuff (anthing over 9" long, generally). I made boxes out of them and sold most of them. The proprietors were happy for me to take the stuff away as they then didn't have to pay to have it shifted.

I still have some bits, and have created more. Unfortunately I haven't yet found a UK woodyard that has an offcut dump.......
Mine get used eventually and I'm now down to 3 boxes, We've had a few fires lately. I am getting better but anything over 4" in length and its not an offcut. Like others I pick up a few offcuts from a local joinery shop. Its rubbish to them but a box to me.

Hi Brian, WHW,

I've found one! Recently, hidden on a backroad just a couple of miles from home. A small firm producing mainly doors and mouldings for the house building trade. He imports oak by the lorry load. Anything other than straight or flat, or with any splits or checks, they don't bother to put through their machines :roll: - it's just dumped outside and when the pile gets too big they just put a match to it :shock: :cry:

If I catch it before it's fired I'm welcome to stop, have a rummage and fill up the car. And I don't mind prepping it straight and flat and cutting out the bad bits. :D Mind you, the best piece so far was only about 8"x1and1/2"x8'. :roll:

Off-cuts - I'm with the rest of you in the main. I tend to keep everything "that might come in useful" - and that's most of it. If it's decent timber and just large enough, say, for a light pull it's valuable and worth keeping. Hey, but I ain't 'arf got a big box of light-pull wood! :oops: I don't count shavings and dust as offcuts - they go on the stove.


My humble viewpoint - there is NO such thing as an offcut. They are all undiscoverd works of art waiting for ressurrection. :D :D
because of space limitations I generally have a burn-up whenever they start getting in the way.

as mentioned, immediately after a burning a use for the off-cuts magically becomes apparent :roll:
Tend to keep everything by way of offcuts from old timber - getting impossible to find now - you never know when that Georgian Mahogany piece will come in again need a strip of cock beading or a few plugs to be made up to cover a well intentioned screw. The smallest bits tend to be the most useful!
With new stuff i love to keep it but have to have a good ruthless sort out every now and then and donate it to the Father in laws fire stock.
Well much as I thought, I feel better about the accumulation in the bins (wonder if I dare place a copy of this thread for SWIMBO to find) next time the workshop gets to the point she can't live with it anymore and has a cleanout.
Guess from some of the comments I must get a bit more inventive with what to do with them though.