Tuesday, July 15, 2014

DIY Cornhole Boards

It's been a while since I posted here.  I was lost for a while, my brain consumed by a single thing.  Something that didn't involve wood working, carving, or even creating really.  Just the glow of a computer screen in the dark.  I'm back though, and better for it.  

Thomas Huxley penned the following quote:

Its how I want to live my life.  I want to keep learning about things.  If you let your brain become so focused on a single thing, something that ultimately requires no thought, your creativity begins to get choked out, it fades away and all that you are left with is nothing.  Enough about that though, we aren't here for philosophical discussions regarding creativity, we are here to embrace our inner (or exterior in my case) redneck and make cool stuff!

Have you heard of cornhole?  Its a bag toss game where you throw 1 pound corn filled bags 27 feeet onto a board with a 6 inch hole cut in it.  The object of the game is to score 21 points before your opponent does.  It's like horseshoes without the swirling metal U-shaped rings of death.

In any case, I walked into the kitchen the other day and my wife asked me if I could make a set.  I said, without thinking I might add, that I could, and was off to my local Home Improvement store for supplies!  Well, wait, lets back up, I was off to YouTube for a few tutorials.  Then, armed with a list of supplies, headed out.

A cornhole board is simply a 2x4 box with a 1/2 inch piece of plywood attached to one side.  9 inches down from the top edge is a 6 inch diameter hole.  There are two legs attached to one end of the board that raise the back edge of the board 12 inches above the ground.  That's it.  It's pretty easy to build.

I used oak furniture grade plywood for the top.  I could have gone cheaper for sure, but at the same time, I saved time on sanding.  I used wood screws to attach the deck, and I think for my next attempt I will try to use pocket hole screws.  I counter sunk the screws, filled the holes with wood putty, and then sanded the entire top surface.  In any case, putting the boards together was pretty easy, from start to finish it took maybe 45 minutes.  Once finished and sanded, both boards got two coats of primer.  I sanded between coats and sanded the final coat until each board was nice and smooth.  I also painted the sides at this point as well.

At this point, you have to figure out a design.  It's truly up to you.  Do whatever you want.  I decided to use Red, White, and Blue for my boards, but you could truly make any kind of design that you want.  I painted the entire board with two coats of water based white paint and when it was dry, used painter's tape to put in my design.

 Painting takes a long time.  It isn't hard, its just time consuming.  I had to paint three coats of each color, letting each coat dry for about 2 hours before painting again.  I used a smooth finish roller to put on the paint, it worked pretty good, but I still sanded both boards when I was finished painting.  I pulled the tape off after letting the final coat dry for about 2 hours.  It worked well, there is a little bleed through near the top of the board, but all in all I am pretty happy with the results.

At this point I put 5 coats of polyurethane on the boards, sanding lightly (very lightly) with 400 grit sand paper before the last coat.  They are done now, sitting in the garage until tomorrow night when we are going to play on them.  The hole project took about 5 days, but the majority of that time was waiting for paint to dry.  A single set of boards is probably 8 hours of work spread out over 4 or 5 days.  During that time you could just as easily make three or four sets of boards, maybe more, if they had very simple designs.

I missed posting here, not because I have some huge fan base or because I think that I am some amazing writer, but posting here means I made something.  It means I learned something.  See you on the cornhole fields, happy tossing.