What to do with scrap wood

by Sam Harper

There was a time when you thought it was a good idea to hang on to your little cut-offs because you could use them for tip overlays later. And because you're so poor, you never wanted to waste a single bit of wood, so you put every bit of it in a box thinking you'd use it some day. But then the amount of tip overlay material grew exponentially compared to how many bows you were making. Eventually, you figured out that you had far more tip overlay material than you'd ever need. So what should you do with all that scrap wood?

One idea is to jazz up your tip overlays, like this:

But here's a few other things I've done with my scraps.

This isn't the best picture, but I made a mosaic by gluing several pieces of walnut, bamboo, and bloodwood together and used it as an accent in this bow.

Here's a giant replica of the One Ring I made out of some Osage scraps.

I hate to throw Osage away because it's such a wonderful wood. It really is like gold, and I thought it was perfectly appropriate to make this ring out of it.

That ring was originally going to go on a tankard that I'm making for a friend. Which brings me to another thing you can do with scrap wood. You can make drinking vessels out of it.

The professionals put a clear odor free epoxy finish on them. I found a clear epoxy, but it ended up having a strong smell, so now I'm looking around for something odorless. I found some stuff they use to finish bar tops and table tops, but I can't find it in small quantities. If you know where I could get something like that in small quantities, send me an email. (Update: I found it in a small quantity at Michaels! Update 2: And by the way, I did a tankard build along showing how I make them.)

Here's a trigger mechanism I made for a crossbow. It's all from Osage scraps.

Here's a box turkey call I made from some cedar scraps. You need chalk, but that's really cheap.

Here's a spatula type thingy I made out of a bamboo cut-off. I use it for stir frying and for stirring macaroni and cheese.

Here's a netting needle I also made out of a bamboo cut-off.

Be careful if you decide to try your hand at making nets. Netting is a gateway hobby to knitting, and it can happen before you know it.

Here's a fork I made out of a piece of cedar just for the fun of it. I don't actually eat with it.

I had a small sliver of hickory from a hickory stave, and I used it to make a tiny bow. Then I used that tiny bow to make a mouse trap.

I made some arrow footings out of blood wood scraps.

Here's a knife I made out of Osage and walnut with pins made out of poplar.

After I showed this knife to my nephew, Jake, he suggested I make a sword and showed me a book full of pictures. The blade of this one is maple and walnut left over from a furniture project my brother-in-law was working on. The Osage guard is scrap from a bow. The white oak handle was a scrap piece my brother-in-law gave me. The purple heart pommel...well all purple heart is scrap to me. I bought some to make a bow for a friend, so I have a lot of that.

You could also use your scrap wood to make charcoal for your forge. There are videos on youtube to show you how. Some of the hardwoods burn pretty hot, so it's perfect for forges.

Finally, if all else fails, you can just burn it.

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