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Well-made scrap

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There’s really no such thing as scrap: Every little piece is useful, no matter how small. But what if the scrap’s a whole finished project?

They say measure twice and cut once. I say it just doesn’t matter how many times you measure if you write it down wrong. Measure it 37 times if you want, but if you put the width where the length goes, the result is junk.

When I did my new shop cabinets this past winter, I outfitted them with drawers. But I did the dimensions backward for one drawer; it didn’t fit where I wanted it to go, and I had no other place for it. But it’s a great, well-made drawer. Designed for hand tools, it’s wide and long but not very deep. After some carefully selected rough language announcing my stupidity within earshot, it occurred to me that instead of busting it apart to salvage the parts (in essence, turn a large, finished piece of scrap into smaller pieces of scrap), I could mount it underneath the top of my outfeed/assembly table.

I took measurements, writing them down correctly this time, and although the drawer wasn’t the optimum size for such an application, it was close enough that it would work just fine. I never planned a drawer for that table so I’d need a creative way of mounting it, but that’d be no problem. So I stashed the drawer for a day when I had time to mount it.

Since then, however, I’ve been using that drawer as a work tray. I get it out whenever I do a project, and as I work I can toss tools and other items I’m prone to lose – which, as regular readers know, is anything I use – into it to keep everything together. When the project’s done I carry it around the shop to put everything back where it belongs. For a recent project upstairs in my house, I loaded it up with everything I needed for the chore and carried it all in one trip. It kept the upstairs room tidy while I worked, and everything was easy to carry down to the shop when done.

I’ll still make that under-table drawer someday – once the idea occurred to me it makes a lot of sense – but I think I’ll leave that “scrap” drawer just the way it is. If anyone ever visits the shop and asks about it, I’ll tell them I made it just for that purpose. They’ll never know it was an accident.

Unless you tell them.

Till next time,


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Scrap process

I’ve said here at least a dozen times over the years that there’s no such thing as scrap. There is, however, wood that’s just not very useful.