Wood offcuts–we love them, we hate them. They take up room, however we “might” want them sometime. They are too precious to burn, but it’s troublesome to maintain them in a helpful manner. Any answer must be flash-quick, each for storing and for locating the smallest offcut that can serve your present want. As properly as that, it must be versatile sufficient to permit for the consistently altering provide of assorted lengths and sizes of offcuts and for brand spanking new wooden coming in. My strategy is straightforward, close to-on the spot, and versatile, and permits me to maintain and set up all my offcuts and common lumber in a manner that has saved me time and cash.
When I started my furnishings making profession, I constructed shoji (Japanese wooden and paper doorways) and comparable fitments, on my condominium’s tiny fireplace escape in Somerville, Mass. I had no room for retaining spare lumber, a lot much less cutoffs, in my one-room condominium. Yet, there I started my lengthy trek to effectively retaining and storing cutoffs from numerous woods, sizes, and thicknesses.
Today, after 30 years as first an expert, and now novice, woodworker, I not often have to throw helpful wooden on the hearth. Instead I fairly often discover precisely what I would like on my cabinets and storage stacks shortly.
Principles that simplify
I started by attempting to retailer wooden by species, however shortly realized that will require more room and group than I had accessible. Instead, I set up as follows:
- At the best stage, I separate stable inventory from plywood. Even this rule just isn’t absolute, however almost so. Solid inventory is available in an infinite number of types and sizes and thicknesses, however plywood is extra constrained in its seemingly sizes. This methodology I apply to plywood, however it’s easier, so right here I handle only solid-wooden storage.
- The stable inventory I set up first by size, into a number of groupings:
- Up to 30cm, or about 12 in.
- Up to 75cm, or about 30 in.
- Up to 120cm, or 44 in.
- Up to 160cm, or about 5-ft, four in.
- Up to eight ft. (since numerous issues begin out this measurement)
- Up to 16 ft. for something over eight ft.
- Anything longer must be a specialty, saved elsethe place
- Up to 30cm, or about 12 in.
Having separated by size, every size class is saved on a set of cabinets, one above the opposite. Since the cabinets in every class are all about the identical size, this methodology maximizes using wall house, for the reason that cabinets holding different sizes might be hung proper up in opposition to this set.
Because I’ve a sequence of cabinets, normally 3, four or 5, one above the opposite, only for one size, I retailer one thickness on every shelf throughout the size class. For Three cabinets these normally these find yourself being underneath ¾ in.; as much as 1½ in.; and thicker. With size and thickness outlined inside one shelf, I can stack all my lumber of that size and thickness by width, organized a bit by species the place it is sensible.
Here, my subsequent-to-smallest items are stacked on an outdated bookshelf. They run ~1-2 toes in size. The prime shelf is all underneath ¾ in., and lined up by width. Easy to seek out one thing that can yield a half of-in.-thick piece 10 in. lengthy and a couple of in. huge.
Here are the subsequent measurement up–these run roughly 2 ft. to three ft. (though I work largely in metric, I’ve to know the English system for purchases, and many others.). By the precept, all of the wooden I personal that’s of that particular LENGTH is right here–it’s not and can’t be anyplace else within the store. When I need this size or much less for a mission or jig, and many others. I am going right here and shortly discover what I would like with minimal waste. Each shelf has a slender vary of thicknesses, so I can slender any search quickly to a single shelf, at the very least to start out.On the left aspect of the photograph above, you see the tip of the cabinets of the subsequent measurement up. Below, the storage bins for the cutoffs which are too quick or oddly formed to be on a shelf are additionally sorted by thickness.
What occurs after I want a bit of wooden? I do know immediately the place to look, and which comparatively small pile to dig by. It takes nearly no time to discern if I’ve what I would like, or should go “one size up” to chop down some bigger piece into the wanted bit.
For instance, I used to be simply constructing a espresso desk, and wanted finish caps for the highest. The size was 22 in. and the width was 1½ in. for every of the 2 items. I walked to the “up to 30 in.” shelf, and shortly noticed that I had a bit of cherry from which I may minimize each finish caps. Had that not been the case, I might have gone to the “up to 44 in.” shelf, and sought an answer there.
Had THAT not labored, I might have escalated to the longer choices, till I discovered what I wanted. This minimizes waste, permits most use of offcuts, and ensures that if I don’t discover the fabric I would like, then it’s not in my store. I received’t discover the wooden per week later underneath a pile of butternut within the nook, having bought 5 board toes to supply the small piece I wanted for this tabletop.
And the system is versatile. If I’ve extra items of 1 measurement than I’ve room for, I add the shortest ones to the dimensions shorter, or the longest ones to the subsequent measurement up shelf, and alter my psychological map of the shelf order accordingly. Ease of use, flexibility underneath altering wants, and close to-on the spot discovering of what’s accessible are the objectives, and this method accomplishes that.