I’m not a carpenter, but I play one on the weekend. I like working with wood. And saws. And drills.
There are plenty of websites out there with instructions on how to build custom cornhole boards, but they’re all so detailed and matter of fact. Their directions are good and thorough, which I guess works out well for some people. Most of the time they suggest practical stuff like gloves and protective eye-wear, but I tried to do it without and seemed to get away with only moderate wounds.
I’m not so good at following directions, so here is an alternate guide for people who can’t be bothered with things like accuracy and quality.
You will need the following things:
-Wood (two-by-fours and plywood of various lengths)
-Screws (big ones)
-A miter saw (preferrably one with a plug)
-Wood clamps (or a very strong friend)
-A drill (with a philips head bit)
-A drill bit (to go with the above screws)
-Beer (your choice)
The dimensions of the boards are 48 x 24, with a 6 inch circle cut out 9 inches from the top of each board.
Step 1: Cut up the wood for the frames
If you’re making two boards, you’ll need to cut your eight-foot two-by-fours in half. You can probably eyeball this if you’re awesome, but if not, measure out 48″ with a tape measure. Try to not put your hand in the path of the miter saw blade, if possible.
Next, take another two-by-four and cut it into four pieces, each 21 inches in length. This threw me off at first because 21 + 2 + 2 (for the two-by-fours) = 25, not 24. Turns out that the two-by-fours are actually 2x4x1.5, and when they’re turned correctly, add up to 24. The more you know.
Finally, cut another two-by-four into four pieces, each 16 inches in length. These will serve as the legs of your boards, so they don’t need to be perfect.
When you’re done, you’ll have two smallish pieces of wood left over. Use these to build a wooden sword or a sailboat or a cat scratching tree.
Step 2: Screw the boards together
As hard as you might try, those planks aren’t going to hold themselves together. Don’t try duct tape or glue either, trust me on that one.
Use the clamps and a small piece of leftover wood to hold the boards in place while you screw them together. If you don’t have clamps, you can just put the boards between your feet in a “V” shape, then carefully try to screw them together. No promises that this method will work/look good.
Hopefully you have pretty big screws. I found some that I had left over from other projects that seemed to work well. I think some came from an IKEA picture hanging kit, but whatever, screws are screws.
Feel free to swear when you accidentally smash your hand into the wood after the drill slips off the head of the screw. Wipe the blood on your jeans.
If you don’t want to strip the heads of all the screws like I did, I suggest drilling small pilot holes. You’ll need two screws through each plank, to make sure it doesn’t go all wobbly on you.
Repeat this step until you’ve secured all four corners and it doesn’t fall apart if you pick it up. Repeat it again for the second board.
Step 3: Attach the tops
You’ll need plywood of the correct dimensions. You can painstakingly cut the wood by hand with a table/circular saw, or ask the nice dudes at Lowes to cut it for you. Or, you can be lazy like me, and find pre-cut 48×24 inch panels for super cheap hidden a way at the back of the lumber aisle.
Chances are, unless you were really careful as used magical moon-wood, your two-by-four frames are slightly askew. It’s best to line up one corner of the tops correctly, and screw it there to hold it in place. Don’t screw too near the edge, or you’ll end up with splintered board that you’ll have to repair with lots of glue and wood-filler. After you’ve got one corner down, choose a side, and kick/punch/coax the wood into the correct position. I’m sure there is a better way to do this, but this way works, too.
Keep moving down the side adding screws as you go. Ten to twelve screws should hold it in place. Don’t worry if it hangs over the edge a little bit. You can always cut that part off and no one will ever know (except me).
Step 4: Take a break and drink beer
Open your (next) beer. Pour in mouth. Check to make sure you’re not still bleeding. Sit and admire your work. Bask in your handiness.
Step 5: Cut holes into which bags full of corn will eventually fall, thus the name “Cornhole”
If you want your holes to be dead center, measure to the middle of the board from one side, then down from the top 9 inches.
Make a mark.
Now, if you want to be fancy, use a compass (this kind, not this kind) to draw a perfect circle. If you don’t own a compass or can’t find the one you swear you had left over from that art class you took as a Freshman in high school, you can just find something circular that has a six inch diamater. I used the top off of a big can of mixed nuts.
Draw a circle.
Drill a biggish hole near the edge of one circle with enough room to fit the blade of a jig saw. You’ll also need a jigsaw. You can also use a six inch circle cutter if you have one (I don’t and it turns out they are expensive).
When your jigsaw dies an untimely death, go borrow your neighbor’s. Break one of the blades before you even get started.
Carefully cut out the cirlces by moving the saw in a circular manner (it tends to make the best circles).
Step 6: Sand and Paint
I haven’t done this yet because I took a nap mid-way through building them, and it was too dark to continue when I woke up.
Step 7: You’re done!
Finish your beer and return all the tools you borrowed. Go and nurse your various splinters, slices, and scrapes. Avoid Purell.