Tuesday, 27 May 2014

More design ideas that you can shake a 4by2 at: The Summers woodworking Annual 2x4 creative challenge.

So I suspect as a woodworker, unless you've been on holiday in the middle of the Gobi desert, of camping out in the deep st parts of the rain forests, you will have noticed that Brian from Summers woodworking is hosting the 2nd annual 2x4 creative competition.


From the off  I should say that I was initially not going to enter the competition. I didn't really get involved in it last year, and being insanely busy and distracted by other projects I was reluctant to add yet another piece to my list of ideas and projects.

After all, There's not really much I can do with a piece of timber stud right!?  WRONG!


To quote the stereotypical teenage girls, camped out in a shopping centre fast food chain during an after school shopping spree.........."OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG! OMG!"

Lets assume you have no idea what I'm talking about, just for a second: Throughout May 2014 (and hopefully 2015 and beyond), Take a single 8' length of 2x4 (for those of use in the UK, 4x2), and make something - anything video it, post it to you tube, and email brain the URL of your build. Simple

During the first week it was all about the trash talk, several YouTubers posting some rather amusing videos, the kind of stuff you might see before a boxing match (so I'm told), but all " good natured fun". Then the videos started to roll in, A I have to admit my jaw started to drop! The amount of thought, talent and previously unheard of people making some truly amazing inspirational items and ideas.

This competition started to get under my skin in fact, what on earth had come over the woodworking community? to answer my question above, there's a few things you can make: Lego bricks, clocks, tables, airondeck chairs, racing cars,  trophies, work benches, even a guitar!! this got me thinking.

Not about what I could enter, We'll get to that, but about the humble piece of 4x2 in general. Here at WoodcraftBPW, It's my philosophy that anyone can woodwork, and constructional grade timber, in any size, could be turned into some rather nice boards. Boards which I had previously overlooked.

Techniques and methods, often reserved for maximising the yield from most expensive of boards can still be used for the same outcome or rather cheap, pine boards. I don't look at pine and get all snobby about it. In fact I like pine; it looks rather good with a coat of wax. It's pretty cheap, it's easy to work. It even smells nice. More over it's available planed and square, and pre-selected if you want.

So is this it's downfall? Well yes, from MY perspective. From MY stand point and from where I was standing!

All of the videos I watched were truely thought provoking, in more was than one!

Firstly there were people entering who had never posted a video to YouTube, never filmed or edited a video! This goes to prove another point I try to make, you don't need expensive video equipment, or editing software to provide content on YouTube. I in fact, film all my stuff (1080p) from a mobile phone, and edit it with Windows Movie Maker - which is all free. Even the support/tripod mount and phone holder were made from scrap, so everything is free, or already in my pocket.

Secondly, and more import to me personally, as it directly effects the depth of my pocket:
who grades the timber? re-sawing can be done on either the table saw or bandsaw, this can be jointed, thicknessed and sanded the same as any plank of rough saw timber, not all of us are lucky enough to have a thickness planner, planer, drum sander etc. This isn't about the tools we have but the ideas!

Staining is something I don't do much of, but there were some amazing looking projects made that were stained "Lightbulb!". there were projects turned, I do turn, but not really much pine "Lightbulb!"

In conclusion, it really got me thinking! up to now, I have definitely been a snob, I have definitely been missing a trick and overlooking a great source of cheap timber!

So to Brian, and all the competition entrants, A big thank you from me personally, for opening my eyes, De-snobbing my views, and giving me a whole load of ideas, for projects, techniques and finishes, that I would have not thought to use. THANK YOU ALL!

so I'll leave you with my entry, and some of my favourites!

My entry, A workshop bar stool, made with hand tools.


Carl's turned wooden racing car.


Lego Blocks and carry case.

Rubbish bin/umbrella holder from Whatcha makin.

An Acoustic guitar - What more can you say?! (personally I think this is a winner!)

The workbench Jack built.

Bob's Airendeck chair.

These are by no means all the entries, and I forget to add your's Please post a link to my Facebook page for me to share.  I would also recommend to you all to go check out last years entries, that's what I'm off to do right now!

See you next time, I'll let you know how things are going with my varnish/oil blend experiments. They're in the shop 'brewing' as I type! :-)