In our woodshop, we have an ever-growing pile of scrap wood accumulating in the corner. This pile presents the dilemma that every woodworker has to deal with – Is it firewood or can I turn this pile of scraps into something useful…eventually. Luckily, we have a number of scrap wood projects that sell well on our Etsy shop that we can fall back on when it is time to whittle down the pile a bit.
The remaining scraps that can’t put to use typically end up getting listed on Facebook for a small sum or simply given away.
Finding Scrap Wood for Projects
As a new woodworker, I was often looking for opportunities to find scrap wood for projects. This was a cheap way to start building out my wood collection and for trying out new woodworking techniques.
My first scrap wood find was from a woodworker who was moving out of state and needed to offload some of his extra wood. While it wasn’t anything to write home about it did net me a number of usable pieces of exotic woods that I have been able to turn into profitable woodturning projects over the years.
My second scrap wood score was from a carriage door manufacturer. This shop typically works with 8/4 material in lengths up to 12 feet long. Their “scrap wood” that they had listed for $400 was an entire pallet of domestic and exotic hardwoods pieces ranging from 12″ to 40″ long by 6″ to 16″ wide. Needless to say, it was an incredible amount of wood that has paid for a dozen of times over.
Finding a good source of scrap wood can be a game of patience and persistence but certainly pays off when you find a good haul. Keep an eye out for listings on local marketplaces and reach out to local woodworkers or manufacturers like door or trim makers.
Once you have a stock of wood to work with its time to start making scrap wood projects to sell.
Ideas for Scrap Wood Projects that Sell
I love small woodworking projects to sell in my Etsy shop. As a full-time stay-at-home-dad, I don’t have a ton of time to invest in complex woodworking projects. Projects that can easily be completed within 20 – 30 minutes work best for my schedule and also tend to sell really well as they are within maybe shopper’s budgets.
Luckily, scrap wood projects also fit this bill so there is a lot of overlap in the work I do and scrap wood projects that sell well.
Wood Lathe Projects
If you have a small lathe in the shop tops are an extremely easy and quick project to make. All you need is any small piece of wood a few inches long by at least 1 inch square. Chuck it up between centers and in a matter of minutes you can turn a top that can easily sell for a few dollars on Etsy.
Turning pens is a great way to use up offcuts of nicely figured or exotic woods. Pens are always great sellers, especially around the holidays, and they require very little wood. Most pen blanks are around 5″ long by 3/4″ inches square.
Pen kits are an inexpensive way to get started and there are an incredible variety of pen-style options to choose from.
3. Shaving Brush Handle
If you have picked up a catalog from a woodturning store like Penn State in the last few years you’ll notice that there are hundreds of different project kits available. Ice cream scoops, shaving brushes, razors, pizza cutters, bottle stoppers, etc, etc, etc. All you have to do is turn the handle and these accessories turn it into a finished piece.
The best part is you can tailor the handle to fit whichever size scrap wood you have at the time. Shaving brushes or bottle stoppers will use shorter pieces while ice cream scoops or pizza cutters are great for longer scrap.
4. Decorative Trees
Turning decorative trees is a GREAT way to get your Etsy shop noticed around the holidays. There is certainly plenty of competition in this space but there are also a ton of shoppers so there is plenty of traffic to go around.
I have already sold close to 70 trees this shopping season and it is only December 6th! Best of all is I have turned almost every single one out of scrap wood that I had saved just for this project.
5. Salt and Pepper Shakers
Over the past few years I have sold a number of different salt and pepper shaker styles on the Etsy shop. A lot of my work requires thicker pieces of wood and I ultimately end up with a lot of shorter offcuts.
Wooden wedding rings are a booming market right now and they require very little wood. We’ve written more about how to get started making wooden wedding bands here.
Wands are a fun project and a great way to use up an otherwise boring piece of scrap wood. After turning them they can be dyed or painted with your favorite wizard-themed movie colors.
Maple offcuts take dye extremely well which will make your wands stand out amongst the crowd.
Small Woodworking Projects
Spoons are the perfect scrap wood project to sell for people with little shop space or for random offcuts of wood. Even a branch found alongside the road or in your backyard can make for the perfect material to start carving spoons.
9. Butter Knives
Hand-carved butter knives or serving knives make for a great accompaniment to wooden spoons as they can be sold in sets. They also sell great with cutting boards which, if you are ripping down a lot of straight wood stock, also make a great scrap wood project.
I have made a number of butter knives using offcuts that I have given away as gifts over the years. I cut the basic shape of the knife out on the bandsaw then use a disc sander to refine it to the final shape.
10. Scroll Saw Animals
Best of all, because of their small size, you can use almost any small scrap of wood.
Coasters are a great project for using randomly shaped pieces of scrap wood or even entire branches! One of my favorite sets of coasters I have made were cut from a madrone branch found in our wood pile!
Construction Lumber Scrap Wood Projects
12. Candle Holder
13. Coat Rack
Adding a quick coat of stain and some coat hooks can quickly transform a piece of scrap wood into a rustic coat hanger.
Adding a upper shelf and key hooks or magnets can make this an even more marketable and versatile piece.
14. Rustic Wooden Signs
Joining a few pieces of construction lumber together with a pocket hole jig and finishing it with a weathered style wood stain makes a great palette for painted signs. We have an entire post on how to make different styles of wooden signs if you want to get some more inspiration for ideas and techniques!
Final Thoughts on Scrap Wood Projects that Sell
Scrap wood around the shop can be a gold mine for your online shop. We are always thinking up projects to maximize the material we have available. Hopefully some of these ideas will inspire you to come up with some ideas for using the scrap wood around your shop.
Derek grew up woodworking in his father’s shop and has since gone on to start up a successful woodworking business on Etsy. In his spare time, you can find him mountain biking, skiing, or writing.