Introduction: #Two2x4Challenge: End Grain Squatty Potty

About: I'm a DIYer and creator likes to build, capture, and share my creations.

The guys over at the Modern Maker Podcast put out a challenge to the online woodworking community to build something cool / unique / funny (all the above) using only two 2x4s. I thought it would be a unique opportunity to do an end grain project but also make something silly.

Thus, I made a squatty potty! I chose to use redwood 2x4s for my project as they are a bit nicer overall in quality and I knew that I could achieve a cool end result with this species.

Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools and Get Hyped

My inspiration for this project was an End Grain Side Table project that Johnny over at Crafted Workshop created. Now, I obviously wasn't going to be using hardwoods and such, but I wanted a similar vibe of a 3D cutting board that had pieces of all different lengths cascading downward, almost like an upside down city skyline.




Step 2: Redwood 2 X 4 Lumber Purchase

As stated earlier, the entire project must use 2x4s as the main component of the challenge. So I got to work! I think I spent $15 on the pieces (about $6 more than I'd have spent on really crappy Douglas Fir lumber). Given that I had all of the rest of the materials and tools, my unique project would be cheaper than buying a crappy plastic Squatty Potty

Step 3: Ripping Materials

I began by ripping the rounded edges off one side of each of my pieces of lumber - about 1/8" width to be exact. I then followed that up by ripping my pieces into four total strips that were 1.375" wide (shown as final in the third pic). I chose this width so I could go back and plane down my other sides to the proper thickness and give them nice clean edges.

I hate my table saw.

Step 4: Planing Down to Final Width

I then used my planer to remove about 1/16" of width from each side of my pieces total to make all four of my pieces completely square and flat. A tip to avoid sniping - just hold your piece slightly up as it is about to exit the planer so it doesn't catch.

Step 5: Chopping Your Legs

Now that I had all of my strips set, I could rip them to length. I did a quick sketch in Illustrator of my design (first picture), showing roughly what it would look like from the top (left) and the front (right). I ended up making my legs a little bit longer than what I originally designedand making the third row have five pieces instead of four. But this was mostly to confirm how many pieces I'd need based on the general dimensions of my toilet and the material I had available.

I needed 60 total pieces, including four legs, so I started by just ripping off a small piece to square up the edges (pic 2)

I set a stop and cut four pieces to 9", which would be the height of my legs. I researched and found that there were two sizes of squatty potties - one 7", and one for advanced poopers at 9".

I'm definitely advanced.

Step 6: Cutting All of Your Pieces

After I cut my legs, I was left with about 347" of total length.

Now, I needed 56 more pieces, meaning that they could all average 6.2" and I would have enough material for the project. Knowing this, I chose to cut 16 pieces (so I'd have spares of each piece) at 3, 4, 5, and 6", which left me enough additional material to cut a few pieces at 7" (because why not) and then one spare 9" piece incase I destroyed a leg. The second picture shows all of my cuts.

All in all - ripping took maybe 15 minutes. Miter stops rule.

Step 7: Arrange Your Pieces (pre-glue Up)

Before gluing anything up, I spent some time laying out the final shape of my piece, rearranging pieces so no two heights were next to each other and confirming my design was good to go. That way, when I went to glue things up, I could grab one piece after another without figuring out / delaying the glue up. This worked out great!

Step 8: Lock (Glue) It Up Tight!

I had found a method where something build something actually very similar to this (although theres was an art piece) where they used Loctite Construction Adhesive as it was weatherproof and supposedly would set well without clamps. Since this was both a silly / fun project and I was looking to do my glue up all at once, I chose to experiment with this method.

To do the glue up, I used a scrap piece of melamine as a flat surface, then created a right angle corner using my straight edge clamp and a scrap piece of wood and a clamp. That way, I could start in one corner, work my way from left to right, and have a flat surface and corner to push things into and squeeze out gaps manually. I also used wax paper to make the clean up easier. And, one by one, I'd spread a bit of the adhesive to both sides of my pieces, stick it on the board, squeeze together and check for squareness, and move on to the next piece.

Step 9: Fixing Your Poor Craftsmanship

After letting the adhesive cure overnight, I could finish the project the next day.

As you can see from the first picture, there were gaps in my glue up from using this Loctite method. I expected it once I felt the consistency of the adhesive, which was thicker than I anticipated and thus harder to squeeze by hand, but was still a little annoyed.

But hey, this is what experiments are for. Overall, the piece was strong and robust, but I knew I had to fix my poor experimental craftsmanship. I mean the stuff doesn't even dry clear!! I chose to use saw dust from the redwood I had kept when I ripped my pieces on the table saw. Before doing that, I cleaned up all the adhesive that had squeezed out so my surfaces were clean (second picture)

Step 10: Fix Those Mistakes (WHAT GAPS??)

Using wood glue and shavings, I applied a liberal amount of glue to all of my cracks and then cover all of them in shavings. This worked like title grout, and works pretty well! It is always better in my opinion to use shavings and glue if possible (and shavings of the same wood species) as it fills the gaps better and actually will take a bit of stain if that is your final plan).

I also recommend you don't pre mix your solution and then fill in the gaps. It is easier to apply glue then cover in shavings - just faster and more efficient with your time. You can see the third picture right after applying - WHAT GAPS??

Step 11: Cleaning Up the Surfaces

Next was clean up. The top of this thing had no gaps now but was quite uneven as a result of the previous step. And, although it is softwood, it basically looks like the top of a cutting board, which meant it needed to be nice and flat and smooth!

I used my stationary sander to clean up the larger surfaces, followed by belt sanding and orbital sanding at 80 grit which flattened everything quite well and allowed me to get into the cracks, then finished off with hand sanding at 120, including the edges, so that there were no sharp features to where bare feet might go. Was starting to look pretty cool!

Step 12: Oxidizing!

I thought it would be cool to use an oxidized solution to finish this project given that I was using redwood. I had done this method once before on the same species and I knew how cool of an effect it had on the red parts of the wood, essentially turning it black. Knowing that this was all end grain, I knew it would turn out even cooler!

To make the solution, mix three pieces of 0000 Steel Wool with one gallon of water and one gallon of white vinegar in a big 5 gallon tub with a lid. Let the solution sit for one week - it will dissolve the steel wool over that time period, leaving a very disgusting and smelling solution that will rapidly age wood if applied to the surface. I recommend using gloves for this process, or in my case, a spray bottle, so you don't get the smelly solution on your hands.

The spray bottle was great for this project as well because there were so many odd surfaces to cover on the bottom that it was basically the only way to get to all of them quickly.

You can see in the third picture the difference before and after. The solution works right away, and will dry and age the wood rapidly over the course of that first hour and then slowly dry over the course of 24 hours (depending on your drying temps!).

Step 13: All Finished and Ready for Squatting!

Few final photos for you! REALLY cool how the oxidize solution reacts to the wood. As much as this was a partially failed experiment with the glue up, the final product looks pretty sweet and I'm quite excited it overall!

A fun challenge overall and a cool little culmination of a set of woodworking skills I've been honing in on recently!

A few things I might do additionally to this project but have not yet as of this posting:

  • Add a matte finish polyurethane to help protect from the moisture of the bathroom
  • Add little leg risers to the bottom to make for easier sliding around




Thanks for reading! You can check out my other projects on my website blog as well!

I would be so grateful if you would subscribe to my Youtube Channel for future projects. I put out videos every other week.

Cheers! Zach