Get Published - Bookcase Challenge #2: Announcement

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Blog entry by Martin Sojka posted 03-25-2008 06:25 PM 11597 reads 9 times favorited 46 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Coming Soon! Part 2 of Get Published - Bookcase Challenge series Part 3: Video Tutorial »

Ever wondered how to become published? How to see your unique creation on the pages of your favorite woodworking magazine? Well, now is your chance to achieve just that! We’ve partnered with Popular Woodworking magazine again to present a new, exciting challenge for all members of (If you’re not a member, now is the time to join us!)

Popular Woodworking

This time it’s all about the bookcases. Everyone needs them. Are you ready to design a bookcase that catches the eyes of Popular Woodworking’s editors, establishes you as a paid and published author and presents your design to thousands of fellow woodworkers? I’ll bet you are.

Each serious woodworking project starts with planning and a solid design. This project should be no exception. So create your “one of a kind” bookcase design then submit the finished plans as a challenge entry. Use your favorite computer program such as Google SketchUp or other 3D/CAD software. Or, if you prefer hand drawn plans, you can submit those too. (Note: the project does not have to be built at this stage.)

Regardless of what process you use, the design must be able to be built in a woodworking shop.
The idea is NOT to build the project prior to the end of the challenge. The build will be part of the fun stuff AFTER a winner is selected.


  1. The winner will get full-blown article in the Popular Woodworking magazine. PW will work with the winner for step-by-step photos of the building process and opening photo – even if it requires them to arrange a photographer to make a trip. In addition, the winner will be paid for the article and become a contributing author. IMPORTANT NOTE: If the winner doesn’t want to build the bookcase, PW will take on the project in their shop and write the article based on winner’s input. It’s going to be the winner’s choice.
  2. Runner-up designs may be published as well.
  3. Three random winners will get cool LJ shirt


  1. The primary function of the entry is as a bookcase. You won’t gain points if the piece is a dining table with shelves located below the apron ;) Plus it must be able to be built in the real world – not just in the computer program.
  2. Design must be your own, not copied from another existing piece.
  3. Design your entry in Google SketchUp or other 3D/CAD program. Hand drawn plans are accepted as well.
  4. SUBMIT your challenge entry as the regular blog entry (not as the project) and tag it with challenge04 (of course you may add any additional tags too):

    Note that you don’t need to use ‘challenge04’ in the blog entry title.
  5. You can submit only one entry – give it your best shot.
  6. Describe your modeling process in a blog entry and add at least one screenshot of the finished bookcase design created by you.
  7. You must include the final model file in your entry – if you’re submitting other than hand drawn plans. SKP SketchUp file or DFX file if you’re using CAD-type program.
  8. The entry deadline is April 20th.
  9. Winners will be announced online at and on April 25th.

You can read the answers to frequently asked questions here.

We know have the screencast showing the process of submitting your entry


P.S. You can help promoting this one of a kind event by clicking on the Share This button in the top right corner. It allows you to easily send this page to your friend(s) by email. And if you’re using one of the popular bookmarking/sharing websites like Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg or others, it’s very easy to share this page by clicking on the same button.

46 comments so far

View lazyfiremaninTN's profile


528 posts in 5290 days

#1 posted 03-25-2008 06:45 PM

Hmmmmm….....well I can’t draw a straight line and still haven’t figured out sketch up so I maybe outa this one, but I might cowboy up and try anyway.

-- Adrian ..... The 11th Commandment...."Thou Shalt Not Buy A Wobble Dado"

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5498 days

#2 posted 03-25-2008 06:54 PM

there’s no time like the present to challenge yourself and try something new.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Betsy's profile


3394 posts in 5233 days

#3 posted 03-25-2008 07:29 PM

Rats, I have a hard time doing sketches. I’m going to have to dive into the sketchup program. I’d like to try this. I would like nothing better than to be published in a magazine. Would be a neat thing. My brother and sister have been published multiple times in their genres – so I think it would be neat if I could to.

I’m going to give it a shot.

Come an jocks! Lets get a competition going here!

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5325 days

#4 posted 03-25-2008 07:32 PM

Good luck to all those who enter!

How detailed does initial design need to be?

A set of plans, or just a rough sketch?

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Greg Wurst's profile

Greg Wurst

798 posts in 5169 days

#5 posted 03-25-2008 08:08 PM

I can use Sketchup pretty-well, but I’m not sure how well I could design an award-winning bookcase. Even if I could, I doubt I would be able to build it to match my design. If anyone wants to try creating something on paper maybe you can send it my way and I’ll try to model it. :)

-- You're a unique and special person, just like everyone else.

View Fishsomo's profile


22 posts in 5087 days

#6 posted 03-25-2008 08:27 PM

I just had someone asking me for a bookcase…could it be fate?

-- Bob, Yorkville, IL ...The more you know, the more you know you don't know

View Sir_Robert's profile


51 posts in 5088 days

#7 posted 03-25-2008 08:31 PM

No interest in bookcases. I’d like to do an article on zero clearance tablesaw inserts. How to make ‘em and fine tune ‘em. Do you think the magazine would pay me a big pile of money for that? The last idea I submitted to a magazine got me $100 and an American Woodworker work shirt (nice one, too!)
Seems kind of boring having everyone make bookcases. Where’s your creativity?

-- Sir Robert

View romansfivefive's profile


302 posts in 5110 days

#8 posted 03-25-2008 08:57 PM

I am pretty sure that I have no idea how to make something that will stand out against all the talent I see on these posts all the thime, but I am always looking to learn something new. Sketch up, here I come. Can you book case look like a 1930 model aa? Just kidding…

-- The CNC machine can either produce the work of art you imagined, or very decorative firewood.

View Nils's profile


141 posts in 5201 days

#9 posted 03-25-2008 09:58 PM

I have a standing request from the LOML to make a shelf, running the length of our hall (16 ft), for display of art objects and books, in Arts and Crafts style. Will this count? As I’ve been thinking this through, it’s seeming like a significant design challenge.

-- Nils Davis, Menlo Park, CA

View Damian Penney's profile

Damian Penney

1142 posts in 5328 days

#10 posted 03-25-2008 10:14 PM

That’s a very cool prize! Also for those worried about having to build it/write the article the folks at Popular Woodworking will build it for you with your input if you prefer.

“So, if you want to design but not necessarily build your bookcase, we’ll take on the project here in the Popular Woodworking shop and write the article based on your input. It’s going to be your choice. Either way you choose, your name will be on the article.”

-- I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it. - Pablo Picasso

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5498 days

#11 posted 03-25-2008 11:30 PM

Sir Robert .. have you seen our “thorsen table challenge”?? Everyone started with the same object. The process was a lot of fun and very interesting to see the different takes on the same table.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View CanadianWoodChuck's profile


402 posts in 5250 days

#12 posted 03-25-2008 11:38 PM

I’m with Gary K do you want detailed plans (joinery, measurements) or just the sketch?

-- Wood Chuck (Bruce)

View DocK16's profile


1200 posts in 5424 days

#13 posted 03-26-2008 12:01 AM

If Gary K is entering it’s going to be a tough competition.

View 's profile

593 posts in 5309 days

#14 posted 03-26-2008 01:29 AM

No need to be negative Sir_Robert, you don’t like it, you don’t submit an entry, but I think Martin’s huge efforts should be praised or, at least, not diminished by anybody. He’s working very hard for all of us (yes, for promoting his websites mainly—I’m not that naive—but his efforts benefit us all greatly).

Also, I’m with Debbie on this: 36 days here is nearly not enough to judge the vast amount of creativity such a challenge might inspire among the LJ community. Give it some time and I’m sure you will change your mind.

Good luck to all of you that will enter the challenge!

My two cents.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5159 days

#15 posted 03-26-2008 03:17 AM

Martin thanks once again. This is a wonderful opportunity and a nice job of pairing it with Popular Woodworking as well. You have really raised the stakes on this one.

You deserve a pay raise. At least 15%. :)

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

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