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Over the past several years, if you’ve got a question in the Cornhole Game Players forum, “Milky” has an answer.  One of the best builders and nicest people we’ve ever had around the forum.  As if helping 100’s of builders wasn’t enough, Milky put together an amazing step by step guide when he built his ACO Style Cornhole Boards.

These great instructions are borrowed from Milky’s post in the CGP forum.  If you have any comments, questions, or (especially) thanks, that’s the place.

Starting Notes from Milky

After a lot of research and some help from a few folks, I figured it all out. Here goes:

I used 5/8″ birch for the top deck, 1″ x 3″ poplar for the frame, and 2″ x 2″ hemlock for the legs. I bought my first router, which was very cool, because I’ve wanted one for a while now. I also found out how to attach the top without any visible screw holes or nail holes.

The tool for that is made by a company called Kreg Tool Company, and is called a Mini Kreg Jig Kit. Here’s the link for it. http://www.kregtool.com/Kreg-Jigreg-Mini-Prodview.html It is basically a guide that allows you to drill a perfect hole on a perfect angle at the perfect depth for sinking screws into the top deck and outer frames without the screw head coming through. Apparently they’re called pocket holes, and they are used in making furniture all the time. It’s like magic!

Milky’s Step By Step Guide

Here’s a step-by-step guide, with pictures.

First, lay out your decks and router all the edges. I use a Ryobi fixed base router, and a 1/2 round bit.

Then, cut your hole, and use the router on that as well.

Now, grab your 1 x 3’s, and cut them down. The EXACT measurements are:

2 at 47 3/8″ for the long sides of the frame. 3 at 21 7/8″. 2 for the short sides of the frame and 1 for the center brace. 1 at 19 3/8″ for the brace between the legs.

Then, grab your 2 x 2’s and cut them down. At the top of each 2 x 2 you want to cut both sides at a 45″ angle, forming a stake, then cut 1/4″ off of the top of the “stake”, so it’s flat. You want to drill the hole in your legs at EXACTLY 1″ down from the flat part of the “stake”, and centered on the legs.

(***NOTE***)Your legs should be EXACTLY 15 3/8″ from the flat tip of the “stake”, to the tip of the end that will touch the ground.(I’ll go over the leg cutting/length determining in a little bit.)

Now that all of your pieces are cut, you want to get out your Kreg pocket hole jig and drill the pocket holes. Clamp the tool down nice and tight and start drilling!

You want to drill 6 holes in the frames long sides, and 3 in the frames short sides and center brace. You want to drill 2 holes into each short side of the leg brace piece you cut earlier. You also want to drill one in the side of each short piece, so that you can attach the short pieces of the frame to the long pieces of the frame, at the corners.

(***NOTE***) You will need to use a different depth on your jig for these holes. The holes your drilling for attaching the frames to the top deck will go deeper then the holes that you’re drilling for the frames attaching to the frames. If you do not adjust the depth properly, you will either drill through the side frames, or not drill deep enough into the top deck. The instructions that come with the jig will explain this, but I HIGHLY recommend getting some scrap wood to test it on several times, until you have the perfect depth.)

Now, clamp down one of the long frame pieces, and using 1 1/4″ long exterior coarse thread screws, screw the frame onto the top deck. Then do this for the other long piece. Then the short pieces. Then the center brace. Looking at a TON of photos online, it seemed to me that the ACO sets their frame a little bit inside of the top deck’s outer borders. I did that as well.

Now you want to do the legs. Measuring down EXACTLY 3 1/4″ from the top of the long frame side, make a mark. Measure up 1 1/4″ on the side of the long frame piece, and make a mark, essentially finding the center of the board. Drill your hole. I use 3/8″ hardware, so my hole is 3/8″ big. Attach your legs and secure them. I use a washer in between the leg and the frame, and then a wing nut to tighten/loosen.

Flip your board over, and follow my leg technique that I’ve previously posted. Here’s a good link. Leveling Cornhole Board Legs

Once you ensure that your legs are done properly, and your board is sitting level and at the correct heights, you want to attach the brace in between the legs. Your holes are already drilled, so just screw it on. I put mine at a height of 2 1/2″ up from the ground.

Lastly, you want to cut the hand-holds. I measured 4″ wide, by 1 1/2″ deep, with rounded corners. Then cut that out with a jig saw, then use the router to smooth them out.

That’s it! You’re done!

COST LIST:

These prices are directly from my receipts at Lowe’s.

  • 1 qty, 4′ x 8′ sheet of 5/8″ birch—————$45.63
  • 4 qty, 1″ x 3″ x 8′ poplar boards—————$21.66
  • 2 qty, 2″ x 2″ x 36″ hemlock boards———–$8.38
  • 1 box of 1 1/4″ screws————————-$6.99
  • 4 qty, 3/8″ x 3″ carriage bolts—————-$0.64
  • 4 qty, 3/8″ wing nuts————————–$0.79
  • 4 qty, 1/2″ flat washers———————–$0.64
  • 1 qty, router, bought on clearance———–$30.00
  • 1 qty, Kreg Pocket Hole Jig Tool Thingy—–$7.99
  • 1 qty, quart of Cabot lacquer—————–$11.99
  • TOTAL COST———————————–$134.71

Final total after sales tax, and the 10% off coupon, which every one of you should be using by now!—-$128.51

If you already have the router at home, that means you can build this set for UNDER $100

Also, keep in mind, I have a lot of extra screws, a whole other set of boards for the top decks(because I bought a 4′ x 8′ sheet), and plenty of lacquer.

The Built Boards

Here’s some pics of the final product. I haven’t applied the lacquer or decal yet though…

 Additional Notes from Milky

  • I did router both the bottom of the decks and the top. BUT, I used 5/8″ (basically 3/4″) plywood. I have tried to duplicate this with 1/2″ plywood, and have had a hard time. The 1/4″ roundover leaves a square-ish area in the middle of the edge. The 1/2″ roundover is too big for doing on both sides. It’s odd. maybe someone on here with more router experience can tell you what to do for 1/2″.
  • All of the pieces are glued. I use Gorilla Glue and the stuff ROCKS!
  • The top deck is 48″ long and 24″ wide. You lose a very slight amount of that after the routing process. The long side rails are cut to 47 3/8″. That leaves only a very slight overhang on the fronts and backs, maybe 1/8″ or so. For the sides, the short side rails are cut to 21 7/8″. After adding in the width of the two long side rails, that gives you a total width of around 23 1/4″, which leaves around 1/2″ on either side.
  • My inset was right around 1/2”, but slightly less. The decks were 24” wide, and the short sides were cut at 21 7/8” each. Add in the ¾” thickness of each long rail, and that leaves you right around 7/8” of an inch left over, divided by 2 to find the distance of space on each side, leaves you with slightly less than ½”.

The important part with these boards is to remember the glue, and makes sure your frame pieces are spaced evenly. Good luck, and be sure to share pics!