Colorado Cornhole

Part of our journey is to challenge the status quo and understand what it costs, figuratively and literally, to live according to societies guidelines. Often, it seems we work just to buy a set list of appropriate society approved “stuff”, and when finished turn around and buy again only now needing better and newer versions. There is so much more to this concept that we will address over time, such as what are our actual needs, what are the true costs of materials beyond the ticket price, and what does that “list” say about our culture.

Right now we want to ask the question, what happened to craftsmanship? Experts? Tradesmen?  So many people have traded time in their lives behind a desk, when they could have been building, inventing, cultivating thoughts and works of art. Our world has become so driven by consumerism and manufacturing, that we sometimes forget how to actually get our hands dirty. One way I decided to try and buck the proverbial trend was a little do it yourself project. I have always wanted a set of cornhole boards and I have been eying a set online, painted like the Colorado flags. I finally got my act together and decided to try my hand and make my own.

Now you may be asking, “why cornhole boards,” or “is this really the best way to challenge the status quo?” The explanation is simple, this game, throwing bean bags into a hole, has over the years become a very fundamental part of my friends and my “culture”. Its not just yelling at each other and drinking beer, though those are a few of my favorite things, its also sentimental. We tailgate for Broncos games, BBQ in our backyards, go camping and there always seems to be boards there. Its what we do, and so why not have my own that are built by me and that I can share with my friends.

Lucky for me, I happen to have a stunningly beautiful girlfriend, but that has nothing to do with the fact that her dad has an amazing wood shop on the side of his garage. So I sat him down and asked him for permission… to use his band saw. He is a truly gifted carpenter with an attention to detail that rivals microbiologists.
IMG_3515
We of course started at a store that sells everything, (hypocrisy noted). However, we would only be visiting the lumber and paint sections, and a quick stopover in the plant department so Anna could look at cacti, don’t ask. You don’t need much, just some 2×4’s, plywood, and some bolts. The rest is craftsmanship, paint, and creativity. I went for a bit pricier birch plywood, as I planned to have the grain show through to give them a rustic feel, even though I had no idea how to make that happen!

Both being engineers, we didn’t need much help in the how to department, however, I found a website that had a step by step guide on how to build them (they have a great tip if you can’t figure out what angle to cut the legs at in order for the boards to be at the right height).

http://www.cornholehowto.com/build-them-boards/how-to-build/

Yes, I’m coincidentally wearing a “colorado” shirt… It’s kinda like “that guy” at the concert that wears a t-shirt of the band that’s playing, I never thought I’d be that guy!

IMG_3527IMG_3645

Don’t know where to start? Get yourself oriented and find a compass! Haha. The only place to start is by cutting the hole, the jig saw worked great.

IMG_3538

For irony, we decided to add some 1/4″ rounded trim to class them up. For the trim we decided on beetle kill wood for a unique color and grain, and to add a little Colorado flair. Apply wood glue, a skill I found I possess, add in some finishing nails, and they’re looking nice and trim! Badum cha! Then cut and bolt in some legs, cut them to height, sand everything down and you are left with two beautiful twins of craftsmanship.

IMG_3644IMG_3540

I’ve always had a connection to Colorado, beyond being from here. I’ve loved so many places in my travels, but I eventually get homesick, and the only thing that makes me feel better is breathing in the thin dry air and seeing those mountains. It’s comforting knowing which way is west. That’s why I decided to go with a Colorado theme for my boards. I’m also the guy that always has to go to the proverbial edge, and see how complicated and awesome I can make things.

IMG_3541IMG_3545
After some brainstorming, and consulting the paint department experts, I decided to try and water down the paint and apply it with a rag instead of a paintbrush.  I did a small test batch and decided that it could work.  So I taped up the boards, and started the tedious task of cutting out each section to paint with a exacto knife… literally back breaking work.

IMG_3546 IMG_3646
Anna couldn’t get over the looks on my face as we stripped away the last of the tape, pure joy.  There is truly something magical about using your mind and your hands to create something.  I could have gone to the store, or online, and purchased some boards that may have cleaner paint lines and been cheaper.  However, every time I take these boards out, I will be so proud at the hard work and thought I put into them.  They are unique and I will have the only two in the world, all because I decided to take the time to make something by hand.

IMG_3547Cornhole boards are not truly complete until you throw some bags and have some beers, obviously with people you love!


IMG_3952IMG_3955 IMG_3948

4 thoughts on “Colorado Cornhole

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s