Wording With Purpose

Cornhole Boards

 Nicholsnotes Cornhole Boards (1)

Remember the game of Jarts and the need to stay alert to avoid the incoming missiles? How about horseshoes and the mad dash to escape a rolling band of steel as it circled before clipping your shin bone? Well, perhaps it is time to introduce your family to a much safer pastime, Cornhole. Go ahead and laugh. Everyone does. Now pick up a bag, and make that first toss.

  • Challenging? Yes.
  • Fun? Extremely so.
  • Competitive. I can’t wait for another turn.
  • Boring? No way!

I learned all I need to know about Cornhole at this excellent site: Cornhole How To. There you will find parts lists for the boards, detailed building instructions for boards and bags, and links to cornhole crazies around the web.

This is an easy DIY project promising fun for everyone.

Needed supplies

  • Two 2’x4’x½” sheets of plywood. I found furniture-grade precut sheets at Home Depot and figured it was worth a little more not to have to horse a 4’x8’ sheet of plywood home.
  • Four 2”x4”x8’ boards. Pick through the pile and find the straightest boards you can. If you are new at selecting lumber, look down the length of the thin edge then the thick edge. If the board curves, toss it back and check the next one.
  • Four carriage bolts – 3/8” diameter and 4½” long.
  • Four 3/8” flat washers.
  • Four 3/8” wing nuts.

 

Making the cuts

All the cuts are straight (except for the legs) and can be made with a hand saw, circular saw, or chop saw. From each 8’ 2×4 cut a 48”, a 21” and a 16” section. The goal is a collection of pieces like those shown in the photo.

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Assembly

Every carpenter has his own method for framing. I use my Kreg Jig® pocket screw tool religiously and figured it was perfect for a cornhole application. Note the pockets in the ends of my 21” sections. Visit Cornhole How To for an excellent framing technique using clamps. Very cool!

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The standard cornhole board has a 6” hole located 12” in and 9” down from one end. Marking the spot is easy enough, but cutting it is another matter. Some use a drill and jig saw. Unless the builder takes great care, a hole created in such a fashion can be rough and will require serious elbow grease, a rasp, and sandpaper.

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I priced a 6” hole saw, and it was steep. I  figured the jig saw and sand paper were in my future, until I found this item on Amazon. The name is aptly chosen, EazyPower 6″ Hole Saw for CornHole Boards.

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I used my cordless drill on a high torque setting. Warning – drill slowly and hang on tightly!!! When the teeth bite the wood, the drill may jump. I drilled partially from one side then flipped the board to finish the hole. Sand the edges and round them over a bit. Remember you will be inserting your hand through this hole quite often once play begins. Note my extreme optimism. Cornhole is already improving my outlook on life.

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I installed the plywood decks to the frames using 1¼” deck screws. It would be possible to insert these without predrilling, but I wanted to countersink my screws so the final product has a smooth surface. Take the time and do your boards right if you expect to use them for years.

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Pay close attention to the leg instructions on the Cornhole How To site. This is the tricky part in the process, but the directions provided should steer you around any difficulties. A quick search turned up a spray bottle that worked for the needed arc since I did not have a compass.

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For my cornhole board the support stack for the leg trimming step consisted of 2 pieces of 4”x4” and a section of ¾” lumber. Again I direct you to Cornhole How To for details. Note the deck height meets the 12” cornhole standard.

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My trusty steel ruler provided a nice edge for scribing my cut line.

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The angle was nearly 45°, very easy to slice with the chop saw. I filled the screw holes and sanded the surfaces. Next I applied a coat of primer. I also primed and painted the bottoms.

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The paint scheme should be customized for your family. Kids love to choose colors and help with the painting. Each time they play they will remember working with Dad to build the boards. There may be a few brush marks left or some paint that strays across a line but who cares? No one will notice once the cornhole Olympics begin.

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Painting and waiting for coats to dry took much longer than cutting and assembling. I had to dig out my patience.

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I let things dry overnight then added two coats of Minwax® Polycrylic®. The finish dried quickly and provided a nice sheen.

 

Bags

We purchased a set of bags from a local sporting goods store and they lasted through 3 matches before splitting open. Invest money in good bags or make your own. Feed corn (about $10 for a 50 pound bag) is the fill of choice, and our new bags work very well. My wife triple-stitched the edges, and so far has used them to trounce me in 5 matches. I think I will use the red bags next time.

Bags (1)

That’s all for now. I need to go practice.