Having completed the summer bag it is time to step back and reflect briefly about the project.  usually this reflection revolves around the ideas of what went well and what didn’t?  Improvement comes with critical analysis after all.  It is also nice to reflect on the journey.  Each project takes a different journey.  The weather, the mood, the sounds, the light and any ‘events’ that stand out.  Like the time when I spilt a tin of impact glue all over my hands and then automatically tried to wipe the glue off using my hands.  A story for another day!  In today’s blog though, I would like to mention something about scrap and waste.  Something that doesn’t get talked about.

Scrap and waste is necessarily produced in most situations.  Even the bookmarks that my eight year old is making from scrap leather produce scrap (he’s trying to sell them and save up for a new ‘toy’).  I used to throw away my scrap as soon as it was produced.  A box underneath my workbench being the wide mouth being fed.  At the end of each workshop session the box would get emptied, the place dusted down and cleared so that the work area was always welcoming.  Nothing much has changed except that I no longer throw away my scrap.  I accumulate it as I go along.  It gets brushed to the side of my workbench and eventually forms a small mound.  An area of the workspace has now been taken by this useless material.  Yet, a few projects ago I learned that it is not quite useless until it is in the bin (trash) and while it is not in the bin it may be use-full.

The story goes that a few projects ago I was learning and practicing skiving edges (see the skiving blog) and during the project I managed to skive a bit too deeply.  I was well invested into the project and didn’t want to start again afresh as it was a project for myself.  A moment came when I realised I’d thrown away the perfect piece for the repair.  In other words, the actual piece of leather that was skived and then thrown away.  It would have been the perfect repair piece.

Hence I no longer throw away the scraps.  Since doing so I have started to find more and more things to do with my scraps other than performing repairs or reversing mistake (on my own projects).  They get brushed to the side of my workbench where I now have a fixed place that is kind of dead space.  It has become habit.  The photographs below show the scraps from the latest project, the Russia leather summer bag.  Yes, I ended up needing some of them in a part of the bag that is invisible and I would rather that than have to use a new piece of very costly leather.  It has now become a tradition.  Whenever a project is completed, the scraps get thrown away.  Once the project is complete and safely shipped, the hungry wide mouth beneath my workbench gets its due.