Little Creek Maple Farm

Our adventures around the homestead.

Cornhole Boards 1.0 – Basic Board Construction

I decided to build a set of Cornhole Boards for my brother for Christmas after he had talked about getting a set at his summer get together.  This project came to me as I was finishing up building the Stratton Bed for my youngest son and I had some 1/2” plywood leftover so it seemed like like the perfect use of some extra material.

Knowing nothing of the game, I resorted to Googling the rules, and information on official Cornhole Board construction.  By luck I found the Cornhole-How-To page, which provided a wealth of info on everything from board construction to bag construction, and even info on how to play the game.

With the official dimensions, and some basic building info from the Cornhole-How-To page, I was ready to make some sawdust.  Essentially, my design consisted of a 1/2” thick B/C plywood top set into a rabbet of 2×4 frame that I ripped down to 1-1/2”x 3”.  The legs were made of the same 3” wide 2x stock and attached to the 2x frame with 3/8” carriage bolts.

Step 1 – I took all (5) 2 x 4 x 8’-0” studs and rough cut them to length so I had (4) 48” long, (4) 24” long, and (2) 24” long (the legs).  It probably would have been cheaper using (4) 10’ lengths instead of (5) 8′ lengths but I had the 8′ lengths on hand, so that’s what I went with.

Step 2 – I ripped all of the 2×4’s down to 3” wide from their actual dimension of 3-1/2”.  I did this with two passes on my table saw, because I wanted all square corners on the 2x stock.  To do this I set the table saw to a little less that a 1/4” for the first pass and ran all the stock.  Next I reset the saw for a 3” width and ran all the stock through this time cutting on the opposite side.  This is an extra step, or extra cut, but it was necessary for getting square corners on all 4 sides of the 2x’s.  All this cutting left me with a bunch of 1/8” thick off-rip which will be great in our new Maple Syrup Evaporator.

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Step 3 – With all of the 2x’s ripped to width I took the (4) 48” lengths and the (4) 24” lengths and cut a rabbet into them.  This rabbet is a recess that the plywood panel will sit into and finish off the raw edge of the 1/2” plywood.  Once again I ran all the stock through each time I set up the saw.  For the first pass I set the saw to slightly less than a 1/2” in depth and about 1/2” from the fence on the table saw.  The idea here is to have your rabbet deep enough so that the wood 2x frame is slightly proud of the plywood sheet when installed.  This allows you to easily sand the frame down to the plywood with very little effort.  After the first pass you finish the rabbet by resetting the table saw to a little less than 1” in depth and I reset the fence to approximately 2-1/2”in width.  This allows me to keep the small rip outside of the blade, where I can easily handle it as I run the stock.  Basically, I don’t like to trap small rips between the blade and the fence where they could potentially bind up, your preferences may very, so work safely and however you feel comfortable.

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Step 4- Assembly.  I mitered all of the 2x’s starting at one corner and working all the way around frame until I had a 24” x 48” square frame.  I have found that I get the best results on mitered corners using a pneumatic finish nail gun to tack everything together, and then I follow up with counter sunk torx deck screws to tie everything together.  Nails and glue would work just fine, but I did not glue my joints, so to be safe I added the screws for durability.

Step 5 – With the frames built, I then cut the plywood to fit the dimensions of the rabbeted 2x frame.  To be safe I cut the panels smaller than the actual length and width of the frame, opting to fill the void with some wood filler rather than having to re-cut the panels multiple times to get the fit just right.  The tops were than loose laid into the frame and screwed in place with some more torx deck screws.

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Step 6 – With the frames complete, I laid out the hole, which is 6” in diameter with the center of the hole located 9” down from the top of the boards and center left to right.  If I was mass producing these I would have bought a 6” diameter hole saw, but where this was a one off I used a jig saw to cut out the holes.

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Step – 7 Legs. With the holes cut, my focus changed on to cutting the legs.  I am lacking in pictures on this step, but essentially I followed the directions on the Cornhole-How-To website.  Because I was using 3” wide stock some of the measurements may have been tweaked slightly, but I still used a 2x spacer as mentioned in the website and clamped everything together when drilling my holes.  Its very important to keep all the stock square and to drill perfectly plumb and level.  Do not angle the drill bit when drilling through the frame & leg together at the same time.  Once the 3/8” holes were drilled I then laid out the curves on the legs and cut them with my jig saw.  This was a pain because I did not have a blade long enough to cut the 1-1/2” thick legs cleanly.  I spent a lot of time with a good wood file cleaning up my curves on the ends of the legs.

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Step –8 Once the legs were installed, I then turned to cutting the legs to length.  These legs were left long at 24”, and now it was time to cut them to length on an angle so the top edge of the playing surface when the legs are open are would be 12” off the ground.  To do this I brought one board with one leg installed into my kitchen and set it on my counter top. I then placed books under the top edge of the board until I got it 12” off the counter top.  With the height of the board set, I took a pencil and traced along the top edge of my countertop giving me the angle of the bottom of the legs.

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A couple quick cuts on the miter saw and the boards were built.

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Step 9 – I hit everything with wood filler, sanded from 60-grit to 150-grit, and hit all the edges with a slight chamfer bit on my router to knock down all the sharp edges and the boards were ready to be tested.  If only I had some bean bags!

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December 27, 2012 - Posted by | Woodworking | , , ,

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