Cornhole Box Build

Topics Covered
1. Reason for This Build
2. List of Materials
3. Cutting & Assembly of 2 x 4s
4. Fastening of Plywood Top
5. Cutting of Circular Hole
6. Cutting & Fastening of Legs
7. In Closing
8. Request

1. Reason for This Buil
Here’s how this build came about.

Mike, a friend of mine at work, asked if I could build him two cornhole boxes. I said sure, and he commissioned me to build him two cornhole boxes.

And I thought, you know Mike might like to see (or maybe not) what was involved in the building of his cornhole boxes. And also, I felt that there might be others who would be interested in seeing some of the particulars involved in building a cornhole box.

Regarding plans, the plans I used for building the cornhole boxes are available at the following link:

How to Build a Regulation Cornhole Set | how-tos | DIY

2. List of materials
Here’s the list of materials needed for building two cornhole boxes:

a) One sheet of pressure-treated plywood, 1/2” x 4 ft. x 8 ft. (I had the plywood cut into four-2 ft. x 4 ft. pieces before leaving Home Depot.)

b) Five 2 x 4s, 1-1/2” x 3-1/2” x 92”

c) Four carriage bolts (1/2” x 4”), flat washers, lock washers, and wing nuts

d) #8 x 3-1/2” deck screws for fastening the 2 x 4 frame together.

e) #8 x 1-5/8” deck screws for fastening the plywood to the 2 x 4 frame.

f) Wood putty, outdoor rated, was used to fill in the drilled counterbored holes, which were drilled for the deck screws

3. Cutting & Assembly of 2 x 4s
a) Cut 2 x 4s to length. Photo 1 shows the miter saw setup for cutting the 2 x 4s.

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Photo 1

b) True up the 2 x 4 edges by taking off a 1/4″ from each of the two edges of each 2 x 4. This resulted in 2 x 4s that measured 1-1/2” x 3”. Photo 2 below shows the jig I used for truing up the 2 x 4 edges.

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Photo 2

c) To secure the 2 x 4s while installing the screws, I used my Holtzapffel workbench to hold and clamp the 2 x 4s in place. Two deck screws (#8 x 3-1/2”) were use at each corner of the 2 x 4 frame.

And Photo 3 shows the three drills I used for drilling and installing the screws. The drill on the left was dedicated for drilling the 1/8”-dia. pilot holes. Next, the drill in the center was dedicated to countersinking the drilled pilot holes. And the drill on the right, a 12V cordless drill, was used to drill the clearance holes and install the screws.

Having dedicated drills is not necessary, but it sure makes your drilling operations go faster.

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Photo 3

The workbench top was used for the short 2 x 4s (21” in length) as shown in Photo 4 below.

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Photo 4

And a workbench leg was used for the long 2 x 4s (48” in length) as shown in Photo 5 below.

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Photo 5

d) To make the joints where the 2 x 4s fasten together completely coplanar, I used a random orbital sander (ROS). I used 60-grit sandpaper and wetted the end grain with water. The water seems to make the sanding go faster—plus, it cuts down on the dust.

e) If your frame wobbles when you place it on a flat surface, then you probably have one or more twisted 2 x 4s. Being able to purchase perfect 2 x 4s is easier said than done.

This is where the jointer camp would say that you should have run your 2 x 4s through a jointer.

But if you’re like me, you don’t own a jointer. Instead, here is what I did to solve the frame wobbling issue:

  1. I unscrewed the four 2 x 4s from one another.
  1. Butted together the four 2 x 4s at their four respective corners. Next, I looked to see if there were any gaps at any of the corners where the 2 x 4s butted up against one another.
  1. For any gaps found, sand the 21”-length 2 x 4 as required to remove the gap.

For example, if the gap is on the bottom side of the board, then sand the end (top side and same end) of the same board as required to eliminate the gap.

The next two photos (Photos 6 & 7) show a gap that I had to deal with. The length of the gap at the bottom of the 2 x 4 is measured and transferred to the top of the 2 x 4 as shown in Photo 7. Next, a line is drawn down the side of the 2 x 4 as shown in Photo 7. And, last, I used my 6” disc sander to sand the 2 x 4 to the line shown in Photo 7.

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Photo 6

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Photo 7

I used my 6” disc sander (Photo 8, below) to sand to the penciled line shown in Photo 7.

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Photo 8

After eliminating any gaps found, screw all the 2 x 4s back together. And that should solve your frame wobbling problem.

4. Fastening of Plywood Top
After assembling the 2 x 4 frame, the next step is to line up and fasten the plywood (1/2” x 24” x 48”) to the top of the 2 x 4 frame.

I used my table saw table, the standard for flatness in my shop, to align the 2 x 4 frame with the plywood.

Photo 9 below shows the 2 x 4 frame and plywood lined up and clamped together.

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Photo 9

After lining up and clamping together the 2 x 4 frame and plywood, shoot three brads(1-1/2” x 18-ga.) along each side of the plywood and 3/4″ from the edge of the plywood. One brad to be centered along the edge, and the other two brads to be positioned about 3/4″ from each end.

To ensure that the plywood and 2 x 4 frame are perfectly coplanar with one another, I installed a flush trim bit in my router and ran it around the plywood perimeter.

Complete the fastening of the plywood to the 2 x 4 frame by drilling pilot holes, countersinking, and installing deck screws (#8 x 1-5/8”) as follows:

  1. On the short sides, install screws at center and 1-1/2” from each end. And position screws 3/4” from the edge of the plywood.
  1. On the long sides, install screws at center and 1-1/2” from each end. And position screws 3/4” from the edge of the plywood.

After the fastening of the plywood to the 2 x 4 frame was completed, I rounded over the edges of the plywood, using a router and a 1/4″ roundover bit.

5. Cutting of Circular Hole
Photo 10 below shows the measuring tools used for determining the location of the 6”-dia. hole for the cornhole box. Also, the circle-cutting jig attached to my trim router is shown in Photo 10.

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Photo 10

Shown in Photo 11 below is the router circle-cutting jig setup, ready to start cutting the 6”-dia. circle.

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Photo 11

And here is a shot (Photo 12) of the 6”-dia. hole cut by the circle-cutting jig shown above in Photo 11.

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Photo 12

It’s not shown in Photo 12, but I came back later and rounded over the perimeter of the 6”-dia. hole with a router and a 1/4″ roundover bit.

6. Cutting & Fastening of Legs
Take a 2 x 4 and cut four legs. Rough cut each to 12” in length. And then rip about a 1/4″ from each side of the 2 x 4 or as required to reduce the total width to 3”. Reducing the width of the 2 x 4 to 3” is necessary for the leg width to match up with the frame 2 x 4 boards (which were reduced to 3” in width).

For the semicircle radius, you use 1.5” for a 3”-wide 2 x 4 board. And I positioned the center of the semicircle at 1-5/8” down from the end of the 2 x 4. And I then positioned the center at 1-1/2” from the side of the 3”-wide 2 x 4. (I used the 1-5/8” dimension in order to have wood on both sides of the drawn semicircle.)

Next, I used my band saw to cut a semicircle at one end of each leg after using a compass to pencil the semicircle. The band saw and shaped legs are shown below in Photo 13.

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Photo 13

This next shot (Photo 14) shows the four legs over at the combination belt and disc sander. I used my 6”-disc sander to remove the saw marks left by the band saw.

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Photo 14

After smoothing out the semicircles on the legs, take the legs to the drill press and drill a 1/8”-dia. hole at the center of the semicircles on each leg.

Next, temporarily fasten each leg to the 2 x 4 frame with a #8 x 2” deck screw screwed through the 1/8”-dia. pilot hole drilled at the drill press. The purpose of this temporary fastening with a deck screw is to ensure that the legs can be rotated flush with the bottom of the 2 x 4 frame. Plus, it marks where to drill through the 2 x 4 frame.

The leg being temporarily fastened to the 2 x 4 frame is shown below in Photo 15.

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Photo 15

Next, clamp the leg to the frame and then remove the screw, which was securing the leg to the frame. Now, using the 1/8”-dia. pilot hole through the leg as a guide, drill a 1/8”-dia. pilot hole through the frame.

Next, I went to the drill press and drilled a 1/2″-dia. hole through the leg (using the pilot hole drilled for the screw to center the 1/2″-dia. Forstner bit. (One of the legs being drilled at the drill press is shown below in Photo 16.)

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Photo 16

With the leg hole (1/2”-dia.) drilled, clamp the leg to the frame. And with a 1/2″-dia. Forstner bit, drill a 1/2″-dia. hole through the frame, using the 1/2″-dia. hole through the leg to guide the Forstner bit.

For drilling the 1/2″-dia. hole through the frame, I drilled from both sides of the frame. And for drilling on the outside of the frame, I used the 1/8”-dia. pilot hole to guide the Forstner bit.

After drilling the 1/2″-dia. hole through the frame, I inserted a 1/2″ x 4” carriage bolt through just the frame to see whether or not the carriage bolt was square with the frame. If the carriage bolt is not square with the frame, I use a 1/2″-dia. twist-drill bit to waller out the hole as required to square the carriage bolt with the frame.

The drills for the drilling operations referenced above are shown in Photo 17, and the carriage bolts are also shown in Photo 17.

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Photo 17

With the 1/2″-dia. holes drilled through the legs and frames, the next step is to fasten the legs and frames together with carriage bolts (1/2” x 4”), flat washers, lock washers, and wing nuts—one bolt, washer, lock washer, and wing nut per leg.

We’ve got two more operations to perform on the legs, and that is to determine the length and required angle for the floor end of each leg, such that the legs raise the back and top of the cornhole box to 12” above the floor.

Shown below in Photo 18 is the setup used to determine the angle and 12” length as referenced in the preceding paragraph.

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Photo 18

Here’s a brief rundown on the setup shown above in Photo 18:

1. Using a combination square with a 16”-length blade, the blade is clamped to the 2 x 4 assembly shown, and a 6”-length steel rule is clamped to the 16”-length blade as shown.

The horizontal member of the combination square is positioned at the 12.75” mark of the 16”-length blade. And the top side of the 6” steel rule shown is positioned and clamped as shown with the top side of the 6” rule at the .75” mark on the 16” length blade.

And the 12.75” – 0.75” = 12” is your required leg length (12”). Next, the required leg angle is determined by pressing the setup shown in Photo 18 up against the side of the leg, and drawing a line on the leg along the top of the 6”-length steel rule.

Photo 19 below shows the penciled angled line drawn on the leg.

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Photo 19

2. In Photo 20, a bevel gauge is shown being set to match the penciled angle line on the leg. With the bevel gauge set to match the penciled angle on the leg, the miter saw blade angle (but not shown here) is adjusted to match the angle on the bevel gauge. And the miter saw is then used to cut the required leg angle.

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Photo 20

7. In Closing
For the record, I have no financial relationship with any of the companies mentioned in this post.

With that out of the way, here’s a shot of the finished build, Photo 21.

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Photo 21

And here is a list of the power tools used for this build:

  1. Table Saw
  2. Miter Saw
  3. Band Saw
  4. Drill Press
  5. Combination Belt & Disc Sander
  6. Random Orbital Sander
  7. Router
  8. Two Corded Drills and One Cordless Drill

As for the finish, Mike will be doing the finish. And I believe that Mike will be finishing the two cornhole boxes with an outdoor rated paint (water based).

As you can tell from photos in this post, I removed the rip fence from my table saw and then used my table saw for assembling the cornhole boxes. As stated earlier, my table saw top is the standard for flatness in my shop.

And here is one last shot (Photo 22) of one of the cornhole boxes (on its back), table saw, and a partial shot of my beloved shop.

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Photo 22

Mike, I hope you and your family enjoy using your cornhole set. I know I enjoyed building it for you.

8. Request
If you enjoyed this post, I would be very grateful if you would share it by email with a friend, or on Google+, and/or Facebook. While I am being needy, would you give me a “Like” on my Facebook page (Woodworking with AJO)? You can click on the link shown below for my Facebook page. Thanks a bunch.

Woodworking with AJO

Take care
AL

John 3:16

 

 

 

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