Introduction: 10 Uses for Thin Scraps of Wood
If you are anything like me, you keep every single bit of scrap wood no matter how small. In my case the thin strips of wood were starting to take over the shop so I thought I would come up with a few different ways of using my cache of wood and to save it from going into the bin! The video above shows 8 different ways, but since then I have come up with two more ways.
I hope you enjoy these tips and if you have any other thoughts on uses for thin strips, don't forget to share them in the comments below!
Below are links to tools and materials I used in this article. It is either the exact tool/supply or something very close.
- The main supply for this article is thin strips of wood. If you don't have any, you can always make some by ripping some wood.
Note: The links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.
Step 1: Use 1: Garden Markers
I hated looking at the plastic vegetable markers in our garden and I thought that thin strips of wood work to replace them.
I first cut a bunch of strips to ~12" with a spike on one end. Then I asked my way more artistically talented wife to do some pyrography. All of the different vegetables got a new marker and they can be personalized for those gardeners that need an extra special gift.
By the way, these work in a pinch if the zombies are invading your backyard!
Step 2: Use 2: Stir Stick
This is an easy one. Cut a thin strip to ~12 inches and boom, you have a stir stick. I can't tell you how many times this has come in handy when I forgot to grab those free ones at the store.
Step 3: Use 3: Table Saw Runners
I'm sure one of the first table saw jigs used this trick. Take some of your thin strips and cut them until they are the same width as your miter slot. You want them to slide freely in the slot. Then you can attach them to a jig or sled for your table saw.
If you want to see more detailed information on how to attach them to a sled/jig you can check out this instructable post where I make the jig pictured above: https://www.instructables.com/id/Ultra-Precise-Mit...
Step 4: Use 4: Glue Spreaders
I find that the "thinner" thin strips are great for spreading glue. With wood glue I tend to just use my finger, but when I am using epoxy I find it easier to use something like this.
Step 5: Use 5: Sanding Sticks
Trying to sand those hard to reach places can be a pain. Fear not, thin strips are here to save the day!
I either take some adhesive backed sand paper or I use double sided tape and some regular sandpaper and attach it to a thin strip of wood. I then have a basic file that can reach into those tight locations.
Pro tip: have a different grit on either side of the thin strip, this way you can switch between grits quicker!
Step 6: Use 6: Bandsaw Push Stick
This is a nice and simple use and it is something I use quite often. I took a "thicker" thin strip and cut it down until it fit into the miter slot of my bandsaw. I then have it easy to grab anytime I need a push stick for finishing off those big resaw cuts on the bandsaw.
Step 7: Use 7: Splines for Mitered Corners
I love using thin strips to add strength and beauty to picture frames. It is a bit more complex than some of the other uses I have presented here, but with a proper jig it can be done pretty easily.
For information on how to build a mitered spline jig, check out this instructable by fellow Canadian and all around awesome person Marie DIY: https://www.instructables.com/id/Make-a-Simple-Spline-Jig/
After you have the jig, you basically cut the corners of your frame (or other item with mitered corners) and glue in corresponding thin strips. The important thing to keep in mind is that your saw blade can only cut so thin (usually around 1/8"), so you need to make sure you have some thin strips that are the same size are the kerf of your saw blade.
Step 8: Use 8: Drawing Circles
If you ever needed to draw multiple circles of a predetermined diameter thin strips can help you!
Just simply mark out the dimensions you want to make and drill small holes into a thin strip. Using a nail (or thumb tack) on one end and a pencil on the other, you can now draw as many circles as you need!
Step 9: Use 9: Small Shims
Sometimes, despite my best efforts, projects are not perfectly square. When this happens I pull out some of the thin strips I have from cutting off the cupped edge of a board (a.k.a. jointing) and use them as shims.
Basically I slide it under the project until the shim takes up the slack. Then I cut a small piece and install it on the project. In the example I showed I am using cutting board bumpers, which makes it so my transgression is completely hidden!
Step 10: Use 10: Wreath for Your Front Door
Making a thin strip wreath is one of my favourite projects. This is for 2 reasons, the first, I think it turned out really nice and the second, it used up a lot of thin strips!
As this is a more complex project, I have made an entire instructables post about it and you can find it here:
Step 11: Thank You
Thanks for checking out this post, I hope it helped to give you some ideas on how to use those bits of wood laying around your workshop. If these tips and tricks weren't enough and you have become inundated with scrap wood, there is always the option to have a nice fire (and thin strips can help start that fire!)
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If you have any other ideas, please let me know in the comment below, I would love to hear from you.
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