Scrounging: Leftover Materials Can Equal New Projects

Here is a quick tip-guide on where to go scrounging for leftover materials for your small projects around the home.

| January/February 1976

  • construction
    Demolition sites can be a good spot to scrounge for cheap materials. Make sure to ask permission first.

  • construction

I used to be frustrated by craft magazine articles which began, "Here's a great little project that you can build from the scraps you have around your shop." Because I never could afford enough shop materials to build my main projects, let alone have scraps left over for every small one evening job I wanted to do.

But that's all in the past now. My poverty stricken days (at least as far as shop materials go) are behind me. In fact, I've become embarrassingly wealthy in 2-by-4's, odd sheets of plywood, lengths of molding, one inch thick solid walnut boards, and other delicious lumber and hardware since I learned to scrounge.

That's right. Scrounge.

No, I don't mean steal! Scrounging, first and foremost, isn't stealing. Not the way I do it. It's recycling: the gathering up and the putting to use of materials that others don't want. Materials, to state it bluntly, that others are glad to get rid of. So glad that I'm usually encouraged to haul away everything I want at very little charge and, frequently, at no charge at all.

Not only is this financially advantageous to me, it's sound ecological practice for the planet as well. One small example: This country throws away, burns, or otherwise destroys hundreds of millions of board feet of usable lumber every year. Why shouldn't you or I recycle some of that total for our own purposes thereby simultaneously lessening our disposal problem and cutting our personal demand for new materials?

"And where," you may ask, "is this abundance hidden?"


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