That's fun too - my best pair of cutoffs used to be black corduroy pants.
In carpentry, cutoffs are scraps left over from a project, usually cut from dimensional lumber like two-bys or decking boards. The most exciting scraps come from larger lumber and timbers.
(bookshelf from found wood)
So, I'm eying a stack of material by the driveway behind my new apartment, cutoffs from a deck project. With only a drafting table and no chair
I need to build a floor-sitting table for reading, eating, writing, and surfing.
A three-point base is best since reclaimed material is often irregular.
Additional challenge: use the scraps as found - no cutting or sanding allowed.
On closer inspection the wood is older and moldier than expected.
Even so, digging around yields results.
I come away with only an armload and leave the rest to the elements
(or someone more desperate than myself).
Some of the pieces I've chosen have tiny mold spots, but these boards are pressure treated so a wipe-down with mineral spirits should keep spores at bay.
Turpentine and other solvents are great for cleaning off dirt, grease and grime.
Plus they penetrate and then evaporate to expel much of the moisture gathered while sitting outside.
Downside: this also off-gases the harmful chemicals from your material
and of course the solvents themselves are mild neurotoxins.
I soak the endgrains and knotholes in case critters have gone in to lay eggs.
After the very thorough cleaning, I arrange the boards into a rough design layout.
"I love it when a plan comes together!"
—Colonel John 'Hannibal' Smith, The A-Team
I've banned cutting and the only leftover is 72" long, so finish nails are out of the question without material for nailers or blocking.
Assembly provides a few hiccups but I get through it.
Technology failure continues to haunt me: the NiCad batteries are finally showing signs of memory burn and hold almost no charge at all.
Looks like I need to buy a new drill and upgrade to Lithium Ion.
Now I have a place to sit and eat oatmeal at 5:30 every morning!
It's a better bench than a table. Tiny legs are in order; I will be vigilant.