Friday, February 24, 2012

Box Hockey - Part 3

Click on these links for part 1 and for part 2 of the series.

Now we'll start constructing the frame. Cut out the end and side pieces - two of each - and square up the ends. Test fit the pieces together and do a measurement from one corner to the opposite corner on the other side. Each diagonal measurement should be the same or nearly so. If they are, then your frame will be squared up correctly.

Here's where a drill will come in handy and save you some blisters. You should drill pilot holes for the screws that hold these bits together. Countersink the holes too if you want, it will look neater and you can use a little wood putty to fill the holes once the screws are in place. You can google 'pilot hole' and 'countersink' for details if you don't know what those are. The picture shows what I mean, for those two light colored dots on the end are where the screws and putty are. In it we're looking up from below and can see where the bottom will be nailed into place.

When you drive the screws, put a thin smear of the glue on the wood where it joins together, then finish tightening the screws. Use a damp rag to wipe up any glue that squeezes out.

You can also (barely) see in the picture that I used finishing nails to attach the goal boards into place (right side, three light dots). The goal board is positioned 3 1/2 inches in front of the end boards. Countersink the nails and use a little wood putty again to fill the holes. Let the wood putty dry.

This is what the finished frame looks like, looking from one end to the other.

Lay the assembled frame on top of the hardboard and, using a pencil, trace along the outside of the frame to mark the cuts needed for the bottom of the box hockey game. Make sure you use the corner of the hardboard as one reference point, because that will ensure that you get two straight edges - one end and one side. Set the hardboard aside for now, we'll get to that in a little bit.

Cut a length of leftover wood about four inches long, wrap a piece of medium grit sandpaper around it, and use it to sand the frame smooth. Lightly round the edges and corners too. Always sand with the grain of the wood (long ways along the boards). Once everything is sanded, do it again with a piece of fine sandpaper. Sanding by hand is a pain in the butt, but it really makes the finished project look much nicer. I suggest getting zen with it, grasshopper.

Before you attach the bottom, go ahead and apply the finish of your choice to the frame. You can paint it, use varnish or tung oil, or for maximum protection use polyurethane. You can apply the polyurethane with those disposable foam brushes, just keep the coats thin to avoid big runs in the finish. If you want, you can sand the frame between dried coats with fine steel wool, that will really smooth out the finish. Follow the directions on the can for timing between coats and cleanup. Let everything dry thoroughly.

Cut out the rectangular hardboard bottom. Save the leftover hardboard, we'll be using it for the rest of the pieces. Flip the frame upside down, then place the hardboard with the smoothest side down on top of the frame. Starting in one corner, fasten the hardboard bottom to the frame using the small nails (panelling nails work well for this), spacing them every four inches or so.

Next time, we'll finish up the game board, cut out the paddles, and I'll talk about the rules we used to use.

Box Hockey posts:

Box Hockey - Part 1
Box Hockey - Part 2
Box Hockey - Part 4

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