All photos courtesy of Phil Dickinson unless otherwise specified.
So you want to build your own kubb set. You have some basic carpentry skills and a few woodworking tools lying around. You don’t want to spend a lot of money. What is the simplest and most inexpensive way to do it? This article will explain how to make a nice kubb set “for dummies.”
Let’s start with a materials list. Find a big-box store near you that carries the material. Look for the best deals, and everything should cost about $20 total.
One 3½ inch square (called a 4×4) by 8 foot long fir or pine (estimated cost: $9 to $14).
Two 1¾ inch diameter by 4 foot long, pine or poplar dowels (estimated cost: $8 to $10). This will give you six batons plus two extras.
Six small scraps of wood about ¾ thickness and 8 to 10 inches long for pitch stakes. Cheap screwdrivers also work.
Optional: Stain or paint. You’ve got some partial cans sitting on a shelf somewhere, right? This will help preserve the wood for a long time.
Here are some basic tools you’ll need: Pencil, hand saw, tape measure, sandpaper, and square.
Optional: a set of clamps to hold your work or a miter box screwed to your workbench.
Remember to always use caution when handling saws and other power tools. It’s important to take the proper safety precautions.
Start by cutting a 12 inch piece off the 4×4 to make a king. I used a miter box like the one in the picture to get a nice straight cut. The miter box is screwed down to a table to keep it from moving. Otherwise, hold the material firmly with one hand while cutting with the other.
Next, cut the remaining 4×4 lumber into 6 inch pieces for your kubbs. You’ll need 10 of them. Make a few extra kubbs with the short piece you’ll have leftover. You might need some replacements. Make a mark at 6 inch intervals. I used a stop block inside my miter box to help keep the wood from sliding around.
Take the 12 inch long piece of wood that will be your king. Kings range from 3¼ inches to 3½ inches square. Your piece should already be in this range. All you need to do now is sand the edges so they aren’t sharp. You want to add something fancy? Mark the “neck” area of the king with two parallel lines about a half inch apart. Use your saw to make several shallow cuts all the way around. Use a chisel to work the wood out. If you get ambitious, you can also make several shallow straight cuts on top for a crown. You decide how much decoration you want. Remember, fancy kings and ugly kings fall the same way!
Now for the hard part—cutting an inch or so off the edges of the kubbs. Each block needs to be marked so they are 2¾ by 2¾ square. This means you’ll be sawing down through two long sides. If you’re comfortable using a table saw, or can get someone else to do it for you, it will save a lot of time and probably give you a much nicer cut. If not, roll up your sleeves and start cutting away. Be sure to sand the sharp edges and rough spots on your kubbs. Or, if you don’t want to cut them, just play with oversized kubbs. They will feel funny in the hand and make inkasting a little tough, but both teams will have the same challenge.
It is now time for the batons. This step should be pretty easy. Make a mark every 12 inches on your dowel. Cut them with your handsaw. Sand the butt ends to get rid of the sharpness.
Next, take your six pieces of scrap wood and cut a point on each end. This will make it easier to drive them into the ground.
Finally, consider painting or applying several coats of outdoor stain to preserve the wood. This will help keep moisture from entering the wood and cracking or splitting it over time. Got an inexpensive cloth bag with a handle to put them all in? Recyclable cloth grocery bags are a perfect size to keep all your pieces in. I found an old baseball bag at a resale store that works perfect for my set.
Now, if you want to make a “poor man’s” kubb set, consider making one like the picture below. It’s cheap and takes very little time to make. I made the batons with small pieces of firewood that was about the right diameter. I filled the cans and liter bottle with sand. Tape the cans up with heavy duty duct tape. Oh, and you should avoid using glass bottles for obvious reasons!
Just like we say on the pitch: You can do it!
Let us know how it worked for you, or share other ideas on making a simple kubb set, in the comments section below.