As many craftsmen can understand, the majority of projects tend to leave you with at least a small amount of scrap wood or leftover lumber to get rid of. While most people dispose of these unused scraps others might see an endless medium of creative expression. Whether you’re looking to whittle a new soup ladle or create a wood-fired oven for the entire neighborhood to enjoy we’ve reached out to the experts from Dallas to Portland to provide you with some creative ideas for putting your scrap wood to use.
Think outside the box
I made a wood-fired oven out of collected material. In this project, I did with collected wood, bricks, and clay from a dug-out foundation. I can’t throw away wood. I was part of a home building crew for a number of years and always was collecting wood material from scraps left over. The only thing I purchased was the fire bricks for the surface of the oven. I collected these things over about 3 years before getting around to doing it. With help from neighbors and friends, we mixed up the clay and created the shell.
The oven is called “The Brooklyn Bump”. The name was created by leftover scraps from the previous residence of our home. He made all the road signs in our mountain community. There were only a few whole words to choose from. I looked up Brooklyn Bump to see if it was already a name for anything. I found out it was actually a parking method in Brooklyn where you slightly bump the car behind you, so you can fit into a parking space.
There is always room for one more at the Brooklyn Bump. – Snowy Range Designs
Before sending scraps to the burn pile, consider utilizing old pallet lumber for constructing a unique clock or a rustic coffee table. Have extra 2×4 scraps laying around? Fashion up a laptop or small phone stand, dog food and water bowl stand, step stool, or a life-sized Jenga game. Are you holding onto some hardwood scraps? Take those extra pieces of walnut, maple, or cherry wood and turn them into fine wall art or craft a butcher-block or end-grain style cutting board, using a beeswax-based food-grade finish. – Makerviews
Over the years I have been an avid woodsman and in my daily life I do a lot of carpentry, so I always have scrap wood laying around. After a job spent running longboards through a table saw I often save the remnants so they can be glued up and cut to size for a decorative cutting board. Pallets are taken apart and made into all manners of projects from toolboxes to serving platters. I take all of my shavings from a spoon and ladle carving and throw them in the garden where they feed the Wine cap mushrooms that come up every year, giving us mulch and providing us with delicious food to eat a few months of the year. – No.MI Forager
Turn scrap into profit
You can make money! From coasters to cutting boards, people LOVE handmade items. Our scrap wood turned into an entire business and we teach people on social media how we did it. – Jennie and Davis
Make it utilitarian
The core function of a craft is utilitarian and what is more useful than a wooden spoon for eating and cooking in your everyday life? Use scrap wood and a knife to make spoons. Spoon carving is an art, and throughout human history, people have carved wooden spoons not only because they are useful, but also for the meditative and healing qualities of this process. – Entoten
When chopping firewood we like to save pieces with interesting coloring or grain patterns. By drilling holes and gluing in a few wooden dowels you can make a quick and inexpensive live-edge coat or hat rack to hang on the wall. We even use ours to hang bike frames for safekeeping during the production process. – Normal Bicycles
Imagination is a wonderful thing and can be used to transform trash into treasures. Tree trunks and limbs removed while clearing a lot for a house can become yard art, a mantel, a bench or a sign. Scrap wood can be made into cutting boards, serving trays, cooking utensils, wall decorations, or even gifts. – Bill’s Woodshop
Create something magical
Hardwood scraps about 1-2 feet long and a diameter of 1″ or less can easily be transformed into a magic wand. Use a sharp pocket knife to whittle away excess wood and carve details. Finish with high-grit sandpaper, an optional coat of wood stain or paint for color, and finally a protective coat of polyurethane, shellac, or varnish. Use the same method on longer and thicker scraps to make a rustic walking stick or even a wizard’s staff. – Praeclarus Wands
Pro-tip for your scrap wood search
If you’re on a budget and on the hunt for more wood, browse marketplaces such as Craigslist, Facebook, Instagram, Nextdoor, etc. You can often find people giving away wood or selling it at a bargain price. Set up alerts with specific keywords through the apps and get notified as soon as someone posts an ad. I’ve scored a ton of incredible hardwood pieces this way from people that are just wanting to clear out their garage or shop. – Fleming and Cazalas