View Full Version : How small is too small?????

03-03-2008, 09:05 PM
Now hold on.... this aint an enzyte commerical.

When it comes to the little odds and ends, at what point do you just chuck it? I have started to clean and organize the shop as I move in and I am asking myself, "Am I realy going to keep this?"

So here is the stash....
Click for larger photo.
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y128/katiecat222/auction/th_IMG_2365.jpg (http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y128/katiecat222/auction/IMG_2365.jpg)

Yes, I know, there are good parts in there. But how small of a part do you hold on to?

Oh, heres the progress so far. Wood and metal on carts and off of the floor.

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y128/katiecat222/auction/th_IMG_2364.jpg (http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y128/katiecat222/auction/IMG_2364.jpg)

Moving the big stuff in when the ice goes away.


03-03-2008, 09:09 PM
Depends on how small your workpieces go... There's a lot of stuff in that bin I'd save for making small parts.


03-03-2008, 09:11 PM
Of course the instant you throw it out you will find a need for it even if it's the size of a thumb tack.Don't blame me,it's the law of the universe:D

03-03-2008, 09:28 PM
I'm a pack rat, and over the years I have figured out a good way to keep collections down to manageable size.

If I end up with quite a few scraps of a certain size, I trash/scrap most of them on the assumption that if I -needed- that size for projects, I'd have used them and not started a collection.

Other things I put in a box with a date on it, take things out, but don't add to it, a year later, whatever's in the box gets trashed. Figure that if I haven't dug everything out of the box in a year, I don't need it.

if you have larger chunks write a date right on them, then trash them after acertain time.

Brass, bronze etc I keep seperate and don't normally trash unless it's as chips, because I always need a small chunk for no-mar tips on set screws etc, so tiny is fine.

A lot of that stuff I'd keep for a while.

As Wierd science said, almost immediately after trashing it, you'll need it.


03-03-2008, 09:46 PM
I'd be keeping most of that. But then again, I'm cheap. And I have small machines. If it's big enough for your machines to hold, it could be useful! ;)

It's also colored by the fact that my barstock stash and my bandsaw are in the garage, but my lathe, mill, and scrap bins are in the basement. So I always search the bins before I head off to the cold garage.

I don't write dates on my cutoffs, I write the alloy (presuming I know). That's best done right before you toss it in, you'll never remember later.

I actually keep 5 bins, one for mild steel, one for hardenable steels, one for brass and plastic, one for round aluminum, and one for rectangular alum. They all fit nicely under my lathe bench.


Forrest Addy
03-03-2008, 09:59 PM
Never - EVER - throw anything away. The guy who dies with the most stuff wins. Really!!!

03-03-2008, 10:00 PM
ship it to me freight prepaid and I will deal with it for you :D

03-03-2008, 10:16 PM
A good Home Shop Machinist is a good Pack Rat. You need to know that from the start.

03-03-2008, 10:41 PM
Rock...You gotta be kiddin me! All that room and you're wondering about that lil' bit of stuff?
I know where you guys are coming from. I've been the proverbial packrat for years.
However..things have changed now. Doing full time fab work creates a LOT of drops.
I have steel stored in buckets, barrels, on shelves, under/over every place you can imagine.
That is coming to an end. I have a scrap bin now and plan on filling it.
I agree with the "You'll need it as soon as you turf it"
But in my case...it's "Lets go look in the scrap...I gotta have a bunch that will work"
Ya....never fails NOW...I never have the right piece.

03-04-2008, 01:08 AM
Of course the instant you throw it out you will find a need for it even if it's the size of a thumb tack

I agree, I'd keep it.

03-04-2008, 01:15 AM
You know those pins you make when turning brass? Those are too small.

J Tiers
03-04-2008, 08:08 AM
Size of piece is irrelevant.

Length of time you have had it is also irrelevant, possibly good for office paper, but not other things.

You need to ask meaningful questions.

Is the piece useful?

is it hard to find?

is it a pain to make another one?

There was a handle in there..... it fits the bill for a keeper....

A chunk of odd-shaped material of unknown parentage and analysis, that I'd toss in the odds n ends box, and empty that out a bit after a while. or maybe it goes right in the scrap bin.

I don't have any fuses in my house. But I have a drawer with fuses. WHY?

Well, I found out. Neighbor comes over when stores are closed (knowing we have odd things), looking for an edison base fuse of a certain size.

Yep, we have a box of them. Now he does.

03-04-2008, 08:22 AM
Dont scrap it, pass it on to another HSM for free or a drink.

I use stuff right down to a silly size that most would just toss in the bin. I *hate* throwing metal away.

Failing that, eBay it, you might raise a few $, cant be bad.

Dave K

tony ennis
03-04-2008, 08:25 AM
Keep it. You can always throw it out later. Or ebay it to convert one resource into another.

03-04-2008, 09:56 AM
I am constantly faced with that problem, as I drag stuff home from auctions that I didn't want but got with something I did.

My oldest son has gotten into scrapping, and I can throw most of that sort of stuff in the scrap bucket for him to retreive. It gives you a clear conscience knowing it has gone on to some good application.

I often found myself looking for a piece of something for an indeterminate length of time, finding something almost appropriate, only to discard it, looking for something different. Now, I know I don't have one, and I simply use what is available. It is a great time saver.

I might point out that most of the surplus junk that I drag home from the auctions is the accumulated effluvia that someone else has not thrown out, but also has never found a use for.

03-04-2008, 10:13 AM
But how small of a part do you hold on to?

Anything visible. I am currently working through my stash of parts accumulated over the last 30 years or so in anticipation of my retirement. I figure I have enough stuff to keep me busy for about the same time it took to accumulate it.

Al Messer
03-04-2008, 10:52 AM
I have found that two weeks after I throw something out in the trash that It is exactly what I need for Something!

03-04-2008, 02:49 PM
There's another way to look at it- it's thermal mass. The more of it you have, the less will be the temperature fluctuation in the shop. Useful indeed- :)

03-04-2008, 04:04 PM
It depends on your goals. If you are in the shop to get away from it all and pass the time, then keep everything. You will spend hours searching thru piles to find a piece that you will then spend hours bringing to size.
If your goal is to be productive, don't keep round stock less than three diameters long. You need two diameters to chuck it up solidly. Don't keep rectangular stock without at least two finished sides. Used pieces must have at least two times width in length with no holes.

Spin Doctor
03-04-2008, 04:30 PM
http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y128/katiecat222/auction/th_IMG_2364.jpg (http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y128/katiecat222/auction/IMG_2364.jpg)

Hey, you stole my saw! Not the best in the west but for what I do it seems to work fine. But, man there enough adjustments to make a 3 in 1 machine look simple. :D One thing I did was to get rid of the factory casters and replace them with 6" wheels from my kids old red wagon So I can just push it straight against the garage wall

About the short stock. It is not so much a matter of saving things that are too short but keeping it all organized and identified

03-04-2008, 06:45 PM
It is not so much a matter of saving things that are too short but keeping it all organized and identified

I think that this is why I posted the question. I dont mind keeping the stuff and to be honest, I have smaller stuff in a different bin. But its the identification of the stuff that is tough. And keeping the brass with the brass os when you need brass you can go right to it and not have to hunt. I hate hunting for specific metal. Hunting phesants on the other hand.....

I saw some small bread pans (like the one in the photo) at a yard sale a while back, I wish I had bough them now. Would have made nice little storage bins.


03-04-2008, 08:15 PM
It's not clutter. It's an object-rich environment.


03-06-2008, 09:55 PM
I see you have not installed storage between your truss' yet so I guess you must keep it all. Remember the truss' were designed for dead load and snow load so you must be very creative when storing there. Good luck. Jay

03-06-2008, 10:26 PM
I pull and save the staples from junk mail. Once the old gallon paint can is full, I sell it for scrap, and start over.

I have another jar I fill with those "really short" pieces of copper wire...

I could go on and on, but when I worked in a cabinet shop, I heated my home with the wood splinters I'd pulled out of my fingers!