Frame / Structure
The box is really a necessary component of any shuffleboard. Aside from keeping the wax / sand from getting all over the floor, it keeps the pucks from getting damaged when they fly off the sides. It turned out to be a bigger project than I expected, but it was fun and a good learning experience. Not using proper woodworking techniques, I made some missteps… but was happy with the result and finished it on a weekend.
I had four, 10 ft long boards. From one 10 ft board, I cut a 28″ piece. I grabbed another 10 footer and cut another 28″ piece (these two 28” pieces were for the ends of the box). I then cut the remaining long pieces down to 7 ft.
With the two remaining 10 ft boards, I cut them in half, to get four 5 ft rails.
With a 5 ft, 7 ft, and 5 ft rail on each side, I had 17 feet of length. With a 16 foot playing surface, this would leave 6 inches on each end for the gutter.
Also, 28″ of total width would give me 26″ of width inside the box. This would leave 3″ on either side of the playing court for the side gutters… in retrospect; I wish I would have left an extra inch or two on each side.
For all screwing on the box, I pre-drilled holes with a 5/16 drill bit. This made for a lot of switching back and forth between drill bits, but fortunately I had a great drill with a quick release on it that made switching quick (quick release drills allow you to switch out different drill bits in seconds as opposed to the traditional type where you have to screw the fitting on the drill until it grabs the bit tightly. The drawback is that you do need different types of drill bits for each kind of drill). Pre-drilling the holes eliminated wood splitting which happened frequently when I used screws alone.
I started by screwing the 28″ end into two of the 5 foot rails.
I then cut 26″ pieces of the furring strips and screwed them in across the base, running between the side rails. I made a couple mistakes screwing these in b/c I thought the side rails were flat against the floor, but the floor was uneven so some of the side rails were slightly elevated. When I then attached the furring strips, the bottoms were slightly sticking out below the side rails. I think this would’ve ended up being a problem when I layed in the bed of the box and attached the legs… causing the height of the playing court to be uneven.
After some corrections, I then completed the other end of the box. Once the ends were complete, I had to attach them to the middle, 7 foot rail sections. In order to get a strong connection, I used some scrap pieces of wood and a lot of screws (in multiple directions) to connect the rails.
You can tell by the picture that the warping of the boards was uneven at the connection. Fortunately, I was able to find “Keyhole Fasnters” in the screw section at Lowe’s (I probably could’ve just bought flat brackets, but I didn’t think of it). Using a couple of these per joint, on the inside of the box, evened the rails up pretty well. I would be carpeting over these eventually, so they seemed like a good solution, that wouldn’t be seen.
OBF Box Bed
After all the rails were joined and furring strip supports were in, I could lay the bed of the box (with OBF wood). Unfortunately, the pieces that Lowe’s cut for me were slightly too wide. I shaved them down with my Skil saw to 26″ and they fit in well. I got them into place and noticed how uneven the ends of the box were. There was a 1″ gap between the obf bed and the end piece of wood that showed how uneven it was. I really should’ve measured this joint with my right angle straight edge, earlier. At this point, I couldn’t really cut the rails with my circular saw without unscrewing the whole assembly. Instead, I unscrewed the end rails and used a hand saw to shave off the extra inch on the long side. This left a pretty rough edge that I sanded lightly. I reattached the end and was good to go…. and then repeated on the other side.
Both 8 foot pieces of OBF went down in the bed and were not quite long enough, so I added a scrap piece of OBF in the middle. I then went through and put a couple of screws through the OBF into the furring strips underneath. I had to eyeball most of these, using the screws on the side rails as a reference (remember to pre-drill holes or the supporting furring strips will split).
Time for carpet…
I’ve never dealt with carpet before and was a little frustrated with it. After getting it rough cut to right size, I used a utility razor to cut some right angles into the ends so that they would fold into the corners ok. Once I got the carpet in place (after lots of karate chopping to get the bottom edges down) I used my staple gun and probably put around 50 staples into the side rails to attach it firmly. You’ll need a fairly powerful stapler for the staples to stay in. My first set of staples popped out with my old staple gun so I upgraded to this model: . The corners, tops of the rails and part where the two pieces of carpet overlapped were really rough and too long, so I tried my best to shave them down and clean up the edges with the utility razor. Unfortunately this tool didn’t make the cleanest cuts, but it was good enough.
Support Structure (for playing surface)
Carpet was in, so I decided it was time to build the structure on which the playing court would sit/float. From David’s DIY shuffleboard site, I really liked his idea for using carriage bolts, nuts and rails to adjust height. For two bucks at Lowe’s I found something called tie bars in 18″ lengths. Not exactly sure what they’re used for, but they’d work well instead of the rails to provide something for the playing court to sit on. I would’ve used shelving rails (as David did) but I couldn’t find them in the right size and didn’t want to have to cut metal. I tested out some three inch bolts in the tie bar holes and they fit perfectly. I found washers, nuts and wing nuts that all fit the bolts and I was good to go.
I began by flipping the box over to expose the underside. I then measured out where I’d want the supports to be and placed them in position, on the underside of the box. This made it easy to mark (with a sharpie) on the board through the actual Tie Bar holes. I then removed the tie bars and used a 5/16 drill bit to screw holes in the OBF. I also tried to go through the carpet with the drill bit as well… bad mistake. The bit ended up getting caught in the fiber. When I turned the box back over I noticed that this was unraveling long lines of the carpet pattern. Frustrating mistake, but not worth changing out the damaged carpet. New plan… from the bottom I drilled all of the holes through the wood only. Then I flipped the box over, right side up, and lifted it up onto the sawhorses. I then used one of the carriage bolts in one hand and pushed it through one of the drilled holes. This pushed up the carpet, making it easy to make a quick cross-cut with a utility razor in my other hand… not the most scientific way to get the bolts through, but it worked.
After all the carriage bolts holes were cut, I tapped them with a hammer (underside of box) to sink them into the OBF. I then used a basic washer and nut on the top to affix them into place tightly. With the nut in place, the bolts won’t move under any pressure or weight resting on them.
Next part of the assembly was an upside down wing nut on each bolt, followed by a washer. The tie bars or shelving material rested on these wing nuts. Once the tie bars were on, I finished off with a washer, followed by a right-side-up wing nut. The wing nuts were a little more expensive than your basic nut, but allowed me to make easy adjustments up or down to the height of the tie bars… eventually a big help when leveling the playing surface.
I didn’t do this straight off, but later I went back and wrapped a sturdy, wide ribbon around all the carriage bolts. If the carriage bolts and tie bars were 10-yard markers on a very long football field, the ribbon is the out of bounds line that forms a rectangle around the entire field. Once I had the shuffleboard up and running, when pucks went off the side of the playing surface, they’d roll underneath.
It was annoying trying to find the pucks and reach underneath with my big hands… so the ribbon wrapped around all the bolts created a barrier so that the pucks couldn’t roll underneath the playing surface.
Functionally, the box was done at this point. I still haven’t gotten around to sealing, staining and putting trim around all the rough edges. I figure once I get through some other high priority projects in the house, I’ll put the finishing touches on the shuffleboard.
So, I’m calling the box complete… time to move on to the legs.
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