Canadian Woodworking

2×4 Challenge

Blog by Rob Brown
Dimensional Lumber

Once in a while I get emails or letters from readers encouraging me to include more 2x4 projects in our print pages.

I have nothing against 2×4 projects but these aren’t the type of projects I’m naturally drawn to, though that’s not a requirement to have a project appear on our pages. I know our readers enjoy a wide range of projects and one of the main aspects of my job is to do what I can to cover a variety of topics that our readers would enjoy.

Okay, let’s do it!

I guess I got enough messages on this topic to finally take action. If that’s indeed what readers want, let’s give it to them. Even though many of you wouldn’t describe yourself as someone who’s actively interested in 2×4 projects, I bet some of you would rise to the occasion if we put together a challenge or competition.

First of all

When I say “2×4 project” I mean projects that have been built with any form of dimensional lumber. Though this generally means spruce, I’m open to hearing about projects made from cedar or other species, too.

And although I’m not against outdoor projects made with this sort of lumber, this challenge / competition isn’t meant to include projects like decks, swing sets and other outdoor projects.

In the past, I’ve seen 2×4 challenges with a limitation added to them. Maybe the maker can only use one 2×4, for example. I’m leaving this challenge wide open with no restrictions (other than no outdoor projects) so we can get the best possible ideas for a future article in the magazine.

So, what’s the prize?

As long as I can get enough entries to call this challenge successful (or even one entry that’s worthy of this prize!), I’m happy to include the winning entry as a “build project” in our Autumn 2024 print issue. Send a few photos of your completed dimensional lumber project to me by Monday, May 13. Include a few images of the project being made if you can, as these types of shots always help tell the story. Feel free to send me any images of past 2×4 projects, even if you’ve already completed them. Once a winner is selected, I can work with them to guide them through the writing process to get their project into our pages.

And, who knows, if there are multiple entries worthy of being included, I might be able to include more than one project in our Autumn 2024 issue.

Good luck!

Dimensional Lumber

There’s certainly no shortage of dimensional lumber on the market these days. It comes in many widths and their ample thicknesses make it appropriate for many different projects. And if you do a little digging, you’ll surely find the perfect lumber for your project.

Dimensional Lumber

Tea Cabinet

James Dobson, one of our regular contributors, made this tea cabinet a few years ago. He made it as part of a challenge called “Make a Project from One 8' long 2x4”.

Tea Cabinet

Handy Details

The handles on the drawers have been finely made.

Handy Details

Nice Joinery

Dovetails keep the spruce workpieces fixed together.

Nice Joinery
Last modified: March 28, 2024

Rob Brown - [email protected]

Rob is a studio furniture maker and the editor at Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement. Instagram at @RobBrownTeaches


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  2. I messaged you last week about entering the 2×4 challenge on your Instagram, but I haven’t heard back from you. I just wanted to make sure my previous message didn’t get lost in the shuffle.

  3. There is a bowl method where you cut out bowl sections from single board. Should work for 2×4 as well…or make it a real challenge and make an end grain 2×4 salad bowl from spruce. Easy to work with grain tough end grain.

  4. I just finished making a folding bedside tv type table that is 18 inches high for use beside a persons bed temporarily or beside the bathtub. I plugged the knot holes with plugs to make it more stable for a table top.

    I also made all the metal pins, washers, and then riveted them over from some scrap on my metal lathe. Bent piece of pipe for washer material and old rusty large bolt from something made some good 3/4 head 5/16 shaft material.

    The stretcher at bottom was end pinned mortise to lock it in place. Only power tools used was thickness planer for getting top roughly even, metal lathe for metal hardware, and drill press for 5/8 holes. Rest was done by hand. Have to find a new 10 brace bit. One I have, while sharp, doesn’t cut quite the way I want.

  5. I’m definite a fan of 2×4 (and 2×6) projects, and have made a few myself. These pieces of lumber might make us automatically think of a big, substantial project, but I have used spruce 2x material for many small-scale projects. I’ve ripped 2x4s (especially leftover cut-offs) into 1/4 inch thick pieces on my table saw, and used those thin pieces to make little boxes and storage trays. Some with small box joints, and some with just butt joints.

  6. Hi, Rob.
    Funny that you mention SPF stock in your article. I was just thinking about that very thing. This little table, which now holds a plant, was initially designed to be a lap/laptop desk for my late wife. It’s been a few years since I built it, but it brings me pleasure every day.
    It’s entirely made of 1×3″ pine. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the actual construction. The top is 16″x24″, and it’s 22″ high. The legs are laminated, with appropriate cut-outs. The only power tools were radial arm and bandsaw, drill, and sanders.
    It was a fun project, that cost less than twenty bucks worth of materials.

  7. Our club,Thames Valley Woodturners club also is having a 2×4 challenge. A tuner is allowed to use one board to make an object of their choice they can glue cut or whatever. It must be turned. A bowl, vase,a bicycle or whatever. Use you imagination. Rob President

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