it works.. but there's a big big BUT on it.
I used (and still do) to get the most value for my money when spending it on hardware and i'm always on the look for semi-crap hardware that can purpose a function in my network system.
I have done this since i was in school. Always trading , sharing and asking hardware from other people. In the overall (say in a 15 year period) it has given me enormous benefits but also a few setbacks.
The disadvantages are also numerous. You have sometimes no clue what you get (is that a switch , router or just a hub ?) , so have NO documentation , NO way of knowing where to get spare parts , the power supply is UK instead of Dutch.. that kind of troubles.
But i have made some excellent deals in the past. I've traded a broken cd-recorder for a Pentium II 233 system (i had to add a harddisk , memory and vga card) , i bought a 4 speed writer for 12 Euro's which perfectly works under Linux , i bought a IBM P166 MMX for 15 Euro's complete with harddisk , etcetera , etcetera. I also gave away notebooks , lots of cd recorders , old memory , harddisks as well.
Some things are hugely unstable but if you stick to known and trustworthy components you're pretty safe.
There IS a reason why people threw it away remember ? Only if the reason turned out to be marginal (power supply blew up , toner empty , harddisk defect so they dumped the entire notebook , that sorts of things) you can be pretty safe with that. It takes some knowledge though.
Nowadays i don't do that much of "scrap searching" anymore as 5 years back , but occasionally some things come to my attention or some of my friends call me up and ask if i'm interested in this and that..
It works , but expect NO support from ANYONE and be prepared for a very very time consuming process. Keep your wallet well hidden and try to get a real bargain price on anything you see.