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Woodworking Contest Prizes: Win a JET Spindle Sander, Fein MultiMaster or More

by Mark Stephens | September 19th, 2014
All photos use

If you’re into building custom furniture out of wood, you’ll want to enter our contest. It’s free to enter, and there’s no catch. In our little company, we’re just as fascinated with the craft of woodworking as you are, so twice a year we put together this contest just for the fun of it. I certainly hope you’ll have a lot of fun with this woodworking project.

The theme for this contest is sitting stools – like bar stools, musician stools, or other basic seats. It’s a challenging project that’s wide open to design interpretation, and it can be as difficult as you want it to be. Get more of the details on the registration page.

The project is due November 8, 2014, then on November 14 we’ll pass out over $2000 worth of woodworking tools and supplies for prizes. And they’re downright fantastic – check it out:

First Place

  • JET benchtop spindle sander ($489 value!)
  • Tenryu 10″Gold Medal Table Saw Blade ($126 value)



Second Place

  • Fein MultiMaster Start Kit ($199 value!)
  • Tenryu 10″Gold Medal Table Saw Blade ($126 value)
  • Imperial Blade 3-pice blade set for MultiMaster ($30 value)

Third Place

  • Tenryu 10″Gold Medal Table Saw Blade ($126 value)
  • Bora 50″ Wide Track Clamp and Saw Guide ($62.99 value)

Other Prizes

Numerous other woodworking supplies will be awarded for honorable recognition as well. Router bits, books, hats, etc.

$50 Store Credit

Plus, every entry into the contest gets a $50 store credit to use in our store on anything you want. To get in on the action, all you need to do is build a bar stool, and enter it in the contest.

Here’s One Way to Make a Cutting Board with Ipe

by Mark Stephens | September 12th, 2014
All photos use

basic cutting board built out of ipe decking

Sometimes, an idea for a project just jumps out at you when you see a piece of wood. That’s what happened when we brought in a small load of dimensioned ipe (ee-pay) lumber that was cut into uniform sizes of 3/4″ x 5.5″ x 72″.  I made a small bet with myself that I could make a reasonably size cutting board out of one piece of ipe. So I grabbed a piece, gave it a shot, and succeeded.

Ipe is a handsomely dark wood, especially when it’s sanded and oiled. Because the wood is so dense, hard, and resistant to weathering, the primary use of ipe is in outdoor decking. That’s also what makes it such a fine furniture wood – and it’ll make a good looking chopping block, too. When it’s sanded and oiled, the color turns to a bold brown-saturated color with hints of red and green. And the color stays dark for a long, long time. If you like dark woods, you should explore ipe.

Using our 3/4″x 5.5″ x 6′ dimensioned ipe boards, here’s how you could make a cutting board:

Step 1

Starting with a piece of 3/4″ x 5.5″ x 6′ ipe, send the 6-foot length through a thickness planer or drum sander, just graze the surface to clean it up.

Cut the board into 3 equal lengths, approximately 18″. Working with these shorter lengths is a little easier to control in the next step.


Step 2

Rip each of the three pieces into strips 1-1/8″ wide. You’ll get four pieces from each length of ipe.

Table Saw Tip: Be aware that ipe is very hard, but with a decent carbide-tooth table saw blade that’s designed for ripping, ipe cuts smoothly and with very little resistance. A 10″ ripping blade most often has between 24 and 30 teeth, deep gullets, and the carbide teeth will have a flat top grind and be raked at 20 to 22 degrees. 



Step 3

Prepare to glue up the strips into a panel. Rotate the strips onto their edge. This forces the rings of annual growth to run more or less perpendicular to the face and back of the cutting board, resulting in a more stable product.

If the strips were recently planed or sanded, ipe will accept wood glue. Use Titebond III to take advantage of the longer working time the glue offers.


Step 4

Clamp the strips.

Once the panel is dry, use a planer or a drum sander to flatten the face and the back. This will determine the final thickness, but a precise final thickness is not important. It may finish out to 7/8″ or thicker.

Glue-up Tip: When the glue sets up, but before it’s dry, use a glue scraper to clean off the squeeze-out. For the most part, the glue will peel off in long strips. It’s easier in the long run to clean up the squeezed-out glue before it’s hardened.


Step 5

Trim to length. On the table saw or with a track saw, crosscut the ends of the block so they’re square to the edges and so that the board is sized to a length you like. In this case, the cutting board ended up a little over 17″ long.


Step 6

Optional. Soften the corners with a radius. The bottom of an aerosol can makes the perfect radius. Trace it onto the cutting board, then cut it on the bandsaw and sand it smooth on the disc sander.


Step 7

Add a 3/8″ round over along the top edge.

Once again, despite ipe’s hardness, it actually routs quite easily.


Step 8

Sand the cutting board. No need to sand any finer than 120 grit.

Coat it in a block oil, a simple wipe on and off procedure.


Other Ideas

You can also get more creative. As an example, a couple of thin strips of hard white maple added to the ipe makes the cutting board a little wider while giving it a new look.


Woodworking Contest Fall 2014: Build Beautiful Furniture, Over $2000 in Prizes

by Mark Stephens | August 28th, 2014
All photos use

Woodworking Contest : Sitting Stools
Here's one way to build a custom stool: like these Thomas Moser kitchen stools with sculpted seats and turned legs

Contest Is Full

Bookings no longer allowed on this date.

Project Deadline: Saturday Nov 8, 2014
Prizes Awarded: Friday Nov 14, 2014
No fee to enter!

FREE Entry
Project Theme: Sitting Stool
Project Deadline: November 8, 2014
You’ll Get $50:
Every completed project receives a $50 store credit
Prizes: Win $500, $300, $100 worth of woodworking tools plus numerous other prizes

The sitting stool is one of the earliest forms of furniture – so if you want to explore the rudiments (and fun) of woodworking, build a wood stool. So that’s what we’re going to do with this contest. Sitting stools serve numerous applications and therefore they take on numerous shapes, styles, and geometries. There are bar stools, musician stools, artist stools, breakfast stools, shop stools, and more. For this contest build a stool of any style or size you want – except we’re talking about a seat, not a footstool or step stool.

Want some great examples for inspiration? Scroll down, there’s a gallery of ideas at the bottom.

As a woodworking project, a sitting stool doesn’t require much wood – but don’t be fooled into thinking they’re simplistic. Crafting a wood stool will challenge your skills in a fun way. For example, unless your design is an unusual one (which is okay!),  you’ll most likely get intimate with the mortise and tenon joint plus a couple of variations (like adding wedges for strength or chopping at an angle to accomodate rake and splay).  You’ll also probably get good use out of your hand tools like planes, rasps, scrapers, spokeshaves, handsaws, and layout tools like the t-bevel. You’ll definitey face the joinery and assembly challenges that follow the geometry requirements of splayed and raked legs.

But who knows? There are endless ways you can build a sitting stool. For the seat, you can sculpt it, cane it, upholster it, make it round or square or triangular or something else. Same limitless choices on your legs. It can have any number of legs you want, they can be sculpted or turned or tapered or steam bent or bent-laminated, or anything else that appeals to you.

There is no doubt that’ll you’ll have a good time with this project. See the examples below for some ideas.

Complete Your Project, Get $50 Store Credit:

All entries receive $50 store credit on November 8 upon project delivery. Yes, you keep your project and we give you $50. However, we keep the projects for one week while the panel of judges inspect each project to determine the winners.

 Plus you get a chance to win prizes from great woodworking vendors.

Enter the Contest in 2 Easy Steps:

  1. Register (it’s free)
  2. Deliver your project on Saturday November 8, 2014 (You’ll get $50 store credit)

Prizes: Provided by Our Vendors

On Friday November 14, 2014, we’ll host an awards ceremony at Practical Art, a gallery in downtown Phoenix. Prizes will be awarded for the top 3 entries, plus various honorable mention awards.

  • First Place: $500 package of woodworking tools
  • Second Place: $300 package of woodworking tools
  • Third Place: $100 package of woodworking tools
  • Honorable mentions: Various woodworking tools/supplies valued approximately $50 each

Sources for Inspiration and Techniques?

I’ve created a gallery on Pinterest of all kinds of stools collected from around the web, which you can see here. Below is a sampling: Follow Mark’s board Woodworking – Custom Seats and Stools on Pinterest.

Rules and Guidelines


How to Submit Your Project

  • Register for the contest using the form at the top of the page. Free entry.
  • Deliver your project on November 8, 2014 to any Woodworkers Source location. We will take care of transporting projects to be displayed at Practical Art (downtown Phoenix)
  • Pick up your project on November 14th or after.  If you’re in the Tucson area, you can simply deliver and pick up your project at our Tucson store. We’ll arrange transport to and from Phoenix for the judging and public display. Entries must be made in person. We won’t be able to accommodate crating and shipping individual projects that are shipped in from other parts of the country for this contest.
  • Your stool is yours to keep after the contest.
  • Judges will be using the week between November 8 and November 14 to make their selections.

Materials to Use

You do not need to buy your wood from Woodworkers Source in order to enter the contest. Wood is the focus of this project and you may use any wood you’d like. The seat can be upholstered or not. You can incorporate metal or other materials into the legs or support but we want to see wood as the focus.

Design Considerations

There is no constraint on the design or style, let your own tastes be your guide. You can replicate a design or come up with your own. Use any woodworking process you want for creating your stool – such as turning, carving, sculpting, laminating, bending, tapering, etc, etc, etc.

Does the Project Have to Be New? How Many Can You Enter?

We prefer that you enter a project you build specifically for this contest, but that’s not a hard and fast rule. So, if you want to enter a stool you have already built, take a close look at it and determine if it needs to be refinished, waxed or polished. If it’s scratched or faded from time and use, do what it takes to refresh it so that it makes the best impression – this is, after all, a contest. You can enter more than one stool as long as they are different. There is no need to enter more than one if they are from a matched set.


A winning entry will have a fabulous finish. You can use any finishing process; you can use stains, dyes, glazes or any clear wood finish you want. We encourage you give your project the best impression with a well-done finish. Start your project sooner rather than later to allow yourself plenty of time to get a good finish. It takes time for finishing and staining products to dry between coats, and it takes time to polish your finish to your desired sheen, so give yourself time to do it well.

How Do You Build a Stool?

See these woodworkers who build custom wood stools:

Scott Morrison – chair maker in Montana specializing in sculpted projects and sells educational DVDs

Todd Fillingham – furniture maker with numerous blog entries on his endeavors building stools:

Gary Rogowski – custom furniture maker who happens to offer classes on building the Rogowski stool:

Paul Lemiski – chair maker who also sculpts. His blog shares details about how he builds:

Wharton Eshrick – furniture maker of the early 1900s until his death in 1970, his home outside of Philadelphia, PA is now a museum