My dad always says how great it is to have spare wood around the home. This is mainly what I use for my projects, spare wood. I try to keep things simple and cheap, and wood usually fill both those roles well. Occasionally, you need to buy the specific item for a few pretty pennies, but I like the smell and learning process of turning a piece of wood into some shape I need.

The first place I turn to for material is the pre-cut wood at Home Depot. The leftovers of cut wood or partially damaged pieces end in a back corner and are sold at a discount of 85%! What a great thing when all I need is some material to improvise with. Often there are sizable sections of plywood, 2x4's, MDF boards, or nicer items. This is the first place I look.

 Here is a few photos of selected wood I currently have on hand. Here is some ply wood.
 On the lower shelf is Oak, Walnut, and Brazillian Cherry I picked up at Wood Craft. They offer classes and sell the leftovers for a buck a piece. I don't currently have a project for these, but have used the wood to make a jewelry box for my wife.


Spare wood
More scrap.

Miscellaneous Nails and Screws

 I have been blessed with quite an endowment of spare hardware. This comes in very handy, but sometimes you need that exact right part, then off to Home Depot or Ace Hardware. Here is a small selection. The glass jar of random bolts is a staple in my family. Its always hard to grab the part you need, but it seems to always be there.