Poll: Have You Done a 2×4 Challenge?

2x4-challengeIf you have been in the woodworking world for a while, you have no doubt heard of a 2×4 challenge. In case you haven’t, this is where various woodworkers get together in a friendly competition to see who can make the best project from a single construction grade 2×4. In other words, who can make something out of nothing. So we’re curious, have you ever participated in such a challenge?

Category: Poll of the Week


  1. Russel Trojan June 25, 2013

    Know what I know now as opposed to what I knew when I did the 2×4 challenge, I think it would be fun to do again. The limited material forces you to think quite differently.

    • haha Tony!

      This sounds awesome. Marc, please organize one!


      • Rick June 26, 2013

        Definitely Organize one get festool or clearview to through in a prize:) would love to enter!
        How longs the 2 x 4? the monster 28 footers or a standard 18 foot?

  2. Jason June 25, 2013

    To be cheap I build a chair from one as a mock-up. It isn’t very hard. Get a good old 2×4 (well seasoned). Plan your cuts. Get your finish on it quickly if you plan to keep it. It is a great way to see how over engineered most furniture is for its function.

  3. Tony from Pandora June 25, 2013

    I lost my contest to Hacksaw Jim Duggan.

    • JeremyLP June 26, 2013


  4. Michael Hall June 25, 2013

    Sounds fun. I would like to know more about it, how to get involved, and what the time limit is for completion.

  5. Stan P June 25, 2013

    There was one question left out of the pool; Have you ever heard of a 2×4 challenge? I can’t image I’m the only one who has never heard of this. It dose sound like it would be fun.

    • Seth Hoover June 25, 2013

      Never heard of it either!

      • Scott Ronsse June 25, 2013

        First time ive heard abou it..

  6. I’m in the middle of a project where I decided to use a bunch of 2×4 off-cuts to do something fancy, and while an excellent technical exercise (dealing with knots, ridiculous grain, unbelievable stresses in the wood due to drying, etc.), it has been a royal pain in the ass.

  7. Jerry Brown June 25, 2013

    I did a custom guitar stand, there are challenges you would never anticipate when making more than a box out of a 2 x 4 that is for sure. Loved it but creativity sometimes lack in contest such as that. Almost needs to be a no box making clause in a 2 x 4 build off!

  8. nikko June 25, 2013

    I demand a 2×4 challenge between Mark, Matt, and Shannon!

    • Eric June 25, 2013

      I second that!

    • Tony from Pandora June 25, 2013

      How about two separate contests for them? The first using any tools they want, the second using limited tools?

    • David June 29, 2013

      I would love to see that! :) Make it happen Mark!

  9. Nathan Brooks June 25, 2013

    Hand tools only 2×4 challenge

  10. Bill Danel June 26, 2013

    I have never done this, however, as an apprentice, I had to make a set of saw horses from 2×4’s only, using only a handsaw and chisel. The legs were hand mortised into the cross member at a compound angle. It was a great exercise which taught several skills at once: tool sharpening, chisel mortising skills, and some advanced lay out skills. The sweet thing was having a set of wonderfully sturdy hand made saw horses when I was done!!

  11. Ricky Davies June 26, 2013

    Does framing a storage shed count? I used a whole lota 2×4’s.

  12. Bob D. June 26, 2013

    I never heard about a 2×4 contest but I saw a tv show where contestants had to make something using only 1 sheet of plywood.

    Should be very interesting to see what could come out of a 2×4!!!!

  13. Caleb Schraeder June 28, 2013

    Thanks…Now I have a new idea I won’t be able to stop thinking about for the next week lol

  14. Greg June 28, 2013

    I have….I ripped it on the bandsaw into stips and made a toy canoe. I was champion among my goons

  15. Gabe June 28, 2013

    I ended up making a toothpick. They called me wasteful, but that’s because they don’t understand art :)

  16. Chris dyer June 28, 2013

    Reminds me of what my father in law from Emgland once told me (he was an engineer). Rolls-Royce has an apprentice take a block of steel and with just a hack saw and file make a 2×2 square. When that is perfect, ditch the hacksaw and with only the file, make a perfect 2×2 sphere!! Only then are they ready to begin with other tools. I’ll stick with wood, thank-you very much:-)

    • Bob L. April 18, 2014


      I attended a gunsmithing course at Trinidad State College in Trinidad, Colorado. We were given a chunk of metal cut off 1-1/2″ bar stock. We had to file it into a 1″ cube. Instructor would measure it with a micrometer and either tell you to keep filing or cut you a new chunk if you went too far! It is possible to get within + or – .001″ if you are careful. You definately know how to file when you’re done!

  17. Karl June 29, 2013

    Yeah, I took the 2×4, shortened it by about 4 inches, let it sit out in the rain and hot sun for a couple of days so it twisted, warped, and checked, then took it back to my local Lowes, sold it back to them for about 50 cents more than I paid for it, and watched them resell it to an unsuspecting homeowner. Man am I mean.

  18. Chet July 1, 2013

    Never done one, but I’d be game to try.
    On a related note, I did make a bunch of prop guns out of 2×4’s for a local high school play.

  19. Adam July 2, 2013

    Never heard of it, but I did make an easel out of a 2×4 long ago. I started with a 10′ piece, cut 3′ off and ripped it in half and ripped the 7′ in 3 parts, made a tripod and used a carriage bolt to clamp the 3′ parts to two of the legs

  20. Matt July 19, 2013

    These are great projects to get into. they don’t hurt the wallet much and can be quite creative. I have made everything from bunk beds to tables. It is tricky to find a stain combination that looks good, but that’s the fun part right? I would encourage anyone to try. What have you got to loose?

  21. The Mad Hungarian September 27, 2013

    If it was a 2 x 4 from the orange borg, the only thing i’d be able to make out of it would be a pretzel or a piece of swiss cheese.

    What we did way back in architecture school was cut the 2 x 4 up into a whole bunch of tiny little 2 x 4’s (at 1:48 scale) and then build tiny model cabins out of them.

  22. Thomas May 6, 2014

    I’d never heard of that challenge before, it does sound fun though. I’ve build a large 2’×4′ tongue-and-groove cork board and some frame and panel doors among other things with them before, just pick ‘em well and get your milling on!

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