A scrap shoot

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I’ve maintained for years that there’s no such thing as scrap. Well, if scrap doesn’t exist, then how is that I have way, way too much of it?

In making preparations for my shop window installation, I’ve had to move some stuff away from the wall where that window will go. That happens to be the corner where I store leftover pieces of sheet goods. No problem, I’ll just move it to the corner by my lumber rack.

Oh, wait, there’s already a large barrel there for long cutoffs. OK, I’ll move it to a third corner where … Nope, can’t move it there, either; that’s where I keep half a dozen smaller containers for shorter cutoffs. I also have a 5-gallon bucket by the workbench filled with very small cutoffs, another next to it for very, very small cutoffs, and nearly the entire lower portion under my workbench is filled with odd-sized cutoffs and boards. A milk crate rests next to the table saw for fresh cutoffs, while another 5-gallon bucket filled with 2x4 cutoffs is tucked under the lumber rack.

There’s no way I’d want to sit down and do the math – it’d take days – but I’m betting I must have at least a thousand board feet of scrap. There, I said it. I used the “S” word.

I find scrap to be eminently useful, and because I make a lot of small-scale items like boxes and clocks, I put a lot of it to good use. I have, in fact, made entire projects from stock pulled from all those buckets and barrels. But I’m saving it faster than I can use and I’ve reached a saturation point. I have to start getting rid of it, and I’m not sure why that upsets me so much: Since I’ll continue to save it, I’ll soon be overrun with it again in short order.

Still, the idea of throwing it away makes me want to cry.

What’s next? Will I decide that I really do have enough clamps?

A.J.

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