No such thing as an offcut?

Say what!

Wood just does not come in the shape you want it. You always buy more than you need and you always end up accumulating the pieces you didn’t use. They’re rarely good enough for another piece of furniture and yet they’re usually too good to burn.

We regularly buy 50% more wood than we need for a project, and the students here at Rowden are encouraged, quite rightly, to buy no less than 30% more than they need. The extra is where you might find a knot or a crack, or the ends of the planks because the board length has to be over the dimensions you need Buying wood under length would be just silly (obviously)!

So we hoard these pieces until the workshop is awash with them and then you realise the space is needed and they’ve got to go.

So what can you do? Well… in no particular order…

Laminate them and make a lamp base

Turn a plate or bowl

Glue cubes of end grain up to make a chopping block

Tea lights, thousands and thousands of tea lights!

Door stops

Wood samples

Neat little jewellery boxes

Picture frames

Cut constructional veneer offcuts into business cards (a personal favourite)


Corner blocks for chairs – make a ton of them, they’re a right pain to make in small batches of 4


Finally, and we have to thank a friend of ours, Don, for this. Not a man to waste wood, he turns acorn shaped bathroom light pulls. He waits until he has a couple of hundred pieces about 2cm cubed and then  turns  the lot in a day. Job done.

There are a million ideas out there for sure. In reality, the only limit is your imagination.

You’ll never look at an offcut the same way again!

 Until next time,



David established Rowden Atelier in 1995, a now world renowned fine woodworking school. Discover Rowden, the woodworking courses, and the work that students go on to do.

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