Rules – 2010 Build Challenge

Size: The size and shape and attributes are up to each contestant, but the (project) must fit inside an imaginary 32”wx32”dx30”h cube.

Time Restrictions: September 1, 2010 through October 31, 2010. This means you may not enter a project that was built, or was under construction, prior to the Challenge start date.

Expenses: May not cost more than $300 to build and finish. This includes primary and secondary materials, finishing materials, consumables (glue, sandpaper, blue tape, nitrile gloves, biscuits, dowels, plugs, etc.). This also includes materials you currently have in your shop as ‘extra’, donated, found, scavenged and scrap. Everything has a monetary value, so if you didn’t buy it, figure out what it would cost in your area, and apply that to the $300 allowance. Simplified, if all you had in your shop were your tools, you are allowed $300 to buy what you need to get the job done.

Construction Materials: The primary materials must be solid or ply wood. Ply wood can be your own ply construction, or store bought. Secondary materials may include other solid woods and plywood, plastics, metals, glass, stone, or other materials. MDF, OSB and other synthetic (or mostly adhesive-based) wood materials are forbidden. Plywood that uses toxic chemicals (formaldehyde) as adhesives are also forbidden. Our recommendations for plywood are solid core, self laminated, and/or environmentally friendly (I’ve seen this on the shelves at Menards – a 3/4″ birch select was $35 – but nowhere else) plywood sheets. No Bondo, unless it is used on metal that you’ve chosen to use as a secondary material. No wood filler. You can make your own wood filler with glue and sawdust if you like, but no store-bought wood filler.

Finishing Materials: No paint. We prefer environmentally friendly products – so water based products are good – but we will not restrict other finishes. We just prefer that you are environmentally conscious when choosing the materials you use.

Adhesives: No restrictions. If you must, go ahead and use CA glue (or other chemically yucky glues), but please consider more environmentally friendly glues if possible.

Joinery: No restrictions. In fact, I’d like to see someone do something creative, like with rubber bands…

Tools: Buying new tools specifically for this Challenge is OK. But we are limiting you to $300 on hand tools and $600 on power tools. These dollar limits are separate from the $300 in the Expenses section above. If you came in under the $300 in expenses above, you may NOT apply the remainder to the allowances given for buying new tools. Accessories also fall under these allowances. So, if you need a new plane iron, it is subject to the $300 allowance for hand tools; a new router bit falls under the $600 allowance for power tools.

Dollar Allowances: If you are in a country not using the US Dollar as primary currency, please convert our dollar amounts to your local currency and restrict yourself accordingly.

Rules Disclaimer reserves the right to amend the rules at any time in case unanticipated circumstances arise.

Requirements for submitting your entry once you finished include the following:
At least one digital image of your work in progress
At least four, but as many digital images as make sense, of your completed project. Take pictures from all angles that you want us to see. If we can’t see it, we can’t judge it.
Write up a description of your entry, the process that you went through to design, build and finish it, and include any other necessary information about the project that we may or may not need to know. is not responsible for authenticity of entries and/or voting outcome.

The Sawdust Chronicles reserves the right to use all media associated with this contest at The Sawdust Chronicles discretion. This includes digital photos of entries and/or contestants, all artwork contributed by or displayed on, and all associated articles, video and audio files.

The Sawdust Chronicles, contest sponsors, contributors and supporters claim no responsibility for the actions of contestants within the contestants’ shops or the shops of others. Please woodwork safely and responsibly. Always wear necessary safety equipment while woodworking.

19 Responses to Rules – 2010 Build Challenge

  1. Rob Horton says:


    Thinking long and hard at whether this might fit with my schedule and if there’s a project-sized hole in my life that this fits. Are the proscribed dimensions a total linear dimension (as in postage or checked airline luggage) or an actual cube?

    Rob Horton

  2. Neil says:

    Rob ……. having you back would be great. If you recall last challenge, the interpretation of the rules is what sets the object apart. I interpret the final object has having to fit inside an isometric drawering of the dimensions Rick has provided.

    Now for me personally, I like to challenge the judges as much as the rules challenge me so I might turn that isometric drawering on edge and get more height out of the constraints. Then let the chips fall where they may and let the judges wiggle a little bit.

    Rob I look forward to seeing what you come up with…..I remember your work.


  3. Pingback: The Sawdust Chronicles Build Challenge | The Wood Whisperer

  4. Brett says:

    This looks like fun! Is there a project that we are supposed to build or is it anything that we can come up with that meet the rules of the challenge? In other words, are you going to tell us “what” to build and we get to do it any way we want??? I am new at this.


    • Brett,
      The way the Challenges work is that we give you all of the rules up front – except the project. On the first day of the contest, we publish a podcast that reveals the item to be designed and built. So, if we want you to build a desk, we only let you know once the contest has started. All of the restrictions of the rules, and the fact that you don’t know what you are supposed to make until the first day of the Challenge – that’s what makes this contest a Challenge.

      I really hope to see your entry!


  5. Neil says:

    Hey Brett:

    Rick loves the suspense of it all. On the first challenge it was negative space and the desk organizer, the 2nd Challenge was well I’ll remember in a moment. I believe he has a suspense novel fettish and his Sawdust Challenge is his release.

    Being involved in both all I know is they are fun to judge and although Rick won’t yell it out….I seen guys who has entered in the 2 previous show tremendous improvement, which is what it’s about.

    Hope to see your name pop in the entires………Neil

    • Brett says:


      as of this morning, it looks like I have been accepted for the challenge! I don’t usually enter into contests, but this was proving to be a great motivator, so I just had to give it a shot. I am a bit anxious about the whole thing and I am excited to get to expand my woodworking skills. I can’t wait to see all of the projects when they are complete!

      Thanks for the encouragement!


  6. Neil says:

    Brett that’s great!!!!

    That’s what it about, expanding your woodworking skills.


  7. Paul Elshoff says:

    Hi there.

    I live in Canada. Will this cause any complications? It has in some other contests I’ve tried to enter (non-woodworking). I’ve been out of woodworking for close to a half century and am just setting up my shop since retiring. This could be the incentive I need to get to work making some chips and sawdust.

    Paul “Big Tiny” Elshoff

    • Paul,
      This contest has no problem with borders. If you win a prize that comes from a company that will not ship to Canada, we will take shipment of it and send it to you ourselves.

      That’s a promise.

  8. Neil says:

    BigT…… know that comment above—“That’s a promise” —-“That’s a promise”……if I’m not mistaken Rick, I believe in the 1st challenge a Canadian Woodworker did win something…..correct me if I’m wrong.

    Thanks T—–Neil

    • Yes, during a previous Challenge a Canadian won the Kreg prize and I still feel the sting in my own wallet from that trip to the Post Office.

      Keep in mind, though, that this is not Kreg Tools’ fault. I’m not sure if they ship to Canada or not. It’s just how they roll… They send us their prize right away and we sit on it until the end of the Challenge, then we ship it out. This time Neil has the Kreg Tools prize in his shop. I hear it’s working very well for him 🙂

  9. Neil says:

    Yep……..I’m just testing it to make sure it works. JEEZ I better remember to put all the parts back in the package 🙂

  10. Paul Elshoff says:

    Thanks for the prompt reply. I’m in. What do I do to formalize that?


  11. Mike Egan says:

    What do I need to do to sign up? I am a beginning wood worker and would like to make a mobius strip using self adhesive venier.

  12. Neil says:

    YEAH Mike………welcome aboard –any questions, DO NOT hesitate to ask!!!!!!!!

    Pretty good Rick……… I like Mike B writing. That was pretty funny.


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