The many faces of wood scrap

fire-for-blogThe best thing about scrap wood is that it comes in SO many varieties. There’s always the natural scrap wood that is everywhere and considered unsightly to most people. Here is what I picked up in less than 10 minutes and it provided me a warm fire on a cold January evening.

There is the endless array of small pieces of construction waste, an omnipresent thing in this rapidly expanding town. Lumber can be connected in a simple but structural way through a scarf joint (see illustration below), which creates a dimensional and solid structural member for projects.

scarfjointstechshop-scraps-for-blogScarfing, a word I associate with scrapping, ties elements together with the most effective joinery. This is always a good skill when dealing with any kind of leftover materials.

This selection of scrap wood (left) are the remnants from the laser cutters at the new Tech Shop in Round Rock. The potential of these little goodies makes my heart spin!


These super cool chairs come from Austin’s Petrified Design. They reuse the wood from local wine barrels and the cask curve creates that sexy seat and back. My favorite part though, is the fact that the color comes from the wine stained oak. Now that’s a natural solution!

You can find the chairs at Mockingbird Domestics, a fairly new shop located at 2515 South Lamar. It has a delightful mix of vintage and modern and the whole store reads like a healthy recipe file of natural, honest, and repurposed materials.

The airy nest pictured below graces the front yard of a house on Bluebonnet. The thinnest non-sensical wood scraps become an imaginary floating cocoon for all species to enjoy.


How do you reuse wood scraps in your projects?


January 2013 Board Meeting

January 8, 2013 at 7pm
Directors Present: Angela, Harley, Rebecca, Kaci, Katy, Kami, Cindy

New Board Member

We are extremely excited to announce the newest addition to our Board of Directors, Cindy Lawrence! She’ll be focusing on fundraising, grant writing, and providing the teacher insight we needed. Welcome Cindy!

Educator Materials Drive

EducatorsMaterialDrive-logoIt’s official! We’ll be holding our first annual Educator Materials Drive on Sunday, February 24th from 10-4pm to support Austin teachers and educators. We’re asking the public to collect materials for the drive and we’ll have drop off times the weekend before. Location is still TBD. Spread the word!

Volunteers Needed

We will need volunteers for our Educator Materials Drive for the two weeks before and during the drive. We’ll have sign ups available for shifts soon, so keep some time open to come help!

We accept donations of used wine and champagne cork!

corkDid all your holiday parties leave you with a bounty of wine and champagne cork? Doing some winter/spring cleaning and ready to offload your collection of cork? Austin Creative Reuse to the rescue!

You can now drop off your wine and champagne cork at:

6942 Ryan Dr
Austin, TX 78757 US

You can also always bring cork donations to our volunteer meet ups or events.

Email us at for more information.


Wood Scraps in Reuse

Construction jobs, wood shops and civic projects all leave a myriad of dropped wood scraps. The usual rule of thumb is to scrap anything less than two feet in length.

Concrete slabs are poured in wooden form boxes which are removed, considered soiled, and rarely used again. Almost every project demands specific measurements, which creates tons of measured waste. These scraps of wood are often landfilled if they end up in the “wrong” dumpster. Frankly, I feel sorry for these leftovers, as their potential is endless.

The cost of new material has risen dramatically in the past 10 years. “Drop” is usually figured into the cost of the project, the client pays for it, but no one considers it’s imaginable uses.

This fence (left photo) on South 1st Street in Austin harmonizes the disparate elements through color and creates a flat woodpile acting as a privacy fence.

Another privacy fence near the same location brilliantly uses old doors and windows as a fencerow almost like a potential access to another time and place. It’s odd juxtaposition of inside/outside functions nicely as a barricade, but the familiar materials makes the viewer feel welcome.

December 2012: Board of Directors Meeting

December 11, 2012 at 6:30pm
Directors Present: Angela, Harley, Rebecca, Kaci, Katy, Kami

November Events Review

EAST was a great success! Austinites who stopped by got to create their very own stencil bag out of bags donated by SXSW and stencils created out of file hanging folders! Everyone had a ton of fun!

Fan Fest was small, but exciting! We made some great connections with the folks at the City of Austin and within the community. Those who stopped by our booth made postcards (out of cereal boxes) and refrigerator magnets (out of bottle caps and magazines).

Appreciations for November Events

Major appreciations to Katherine for creating the stencils for the bags at EAST! They turned out AMAZING. (Photos to come!) Also thanks to SXSW for donating the leftover canvas bags!

So many thanks to the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division (especially Lani Golstab and Sue Lambe) for inviting us to participate in Fan Fest! Here’s to many more collaborations!

Last, but not least, crazy appreciations to the volunteers who showed up to donate their time, energy, and great stories to our events in October and November. We couldn’t do this without your help!

Volunteers Needed

Participating in EAST and Fan Fest really drove the notion home that we need to keep our volunteers engaged in our organization. With that in mind, we’re continuing to look for ways to keep volunteers participating in an ongoing way. This will be especially important when we open our store front location (sometime in 2013).

LA artist, Carolina Fontoura Alzaga reuses bike parts into these crazy beautiful chandeliers

“You can make beautiful things out of unlikely materials and out of trash. Because it’s not trash. It’s trash because it no longer serves it’s original function. But that doesn’t mean it can’t have another function altogether. That’s where our creativity needs to come into place.”

—Carolina Fontoura Alzaga

See more of her work in her Etsy shop.

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October 2012: Board of Directors Meeting

October 9, 2012 at 6:30pm
Directors Present: Angela, Harley, Rebecca, Kaci, Katy, Kami

Green Ghoul Fest
Everyone is really excited about partnering with Be Groovy Be Green to put on a family friendly Halloween event on Sunday, October 28th at Thai Fresh. We’ll put a call out for volunteers in our newsletters in the coming few weeks.

East Austin Studio Tour
We have officially been accepted into EAST this year. We’ll be located at 701 Tillery both weekends! Harley, Katy, Angela, and Kami will be at our booth the first weekend (November 10-11th) and Rebecca, Kaci, and Harley will be at the booth on November 17-18th.

Fan Fest
In association with the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division we’ll be a vendor for Fan Fest (as part of Forumla 1) the weekend of November 17-18th. We’ll have a booth on Congress between 2nd and 3rd where we’ll be doing a free craft for folks who stop by.

Teacher & Educator Survey
We’ve sent out our material drive survey for teachers and educators via email and on Facebook and we’re already getting some great results.

September 2012: Board of Directors Meeting

September 11, 2012 at 6:30pm
Directors Present: Angela, Harley, Rebecca, Kaci, Katy, Kami

Green Ghoul Fest
We’ll be partnering with Be Groovy Be Green to put on a family friendly Halloween event on Sunday, October 28th at Thai Fresh.

East Austin Studio Tour
Thanks to Harley we submitted our application for the East Austin Studio Tour. We should find out in a week or so if we made it in!

Teacher & Educator Survey
We’ll be sending out our teacher and educator survey soon! Keep an eye out for it and help spread the word.


The Long Beach Depot for Creative Reuse

Check out this creative reuse center in Long Beach, California!

Long Beach Depot for Creative ReUse from James Kim on Vimeo.

Thanks, Jan, for sharing!


August 2012: Board of Directors Meeting

August 8, 2012 at 6:30pm
Directors Present: Angela, Harley, Rebecca, Kaci
Visitors Present: Katy

Teacher Survey Coming Up
Harley has been working extremely hard on a Teacher Materials Drive in a few months. As part of the research phase of the project, we will be circulating a survey for teachers to gage interest and material needs. If you’re a teacher or know any teachers, keep your eyes peeled for our survey in an upcoming newsletter.

New Board Member
Hallelujah! We have a Financial board member! The very lovely Katy has been voted on to the board and has already been such an asset to our team. Welcome, Katy!

New Partners
Over the past few months, we’ve been creating some local partnerships with groups here in the City of Austin that we’re really excited about. These partnerships will help us grow as an organization and help us to better serve our city.

2005 Wheless Lane, Austin, TX 78723
Tel: (512) 375-3041