Wednesday, June 24, 2015

A Story of Three Kubb Sets

One day while on Pinterest, I came across this person who had created this cool outdoor game set and I decided to look into it. Though I can't find the image now, it was full of brightly colored blocks and copper pipes. The game was called Kubb.

Since then, I have learned to play and made three sets.  Hopefully after reading this, you'll be interested in making your own set and enjoying it as much as we've enjoyed ours.

To begin, a short video. I really liked this one because it took you through the rules step by step. If you would like more regulation rules, you can always check out the Kubb National Championship page and download the official ones.

Now that you see how incredible fun it is, it's time to make your own set. We decided to try this over Easter weekend while we were at my parents house in Tennessee (this information comes into play later).

We began by purchasing a non-pressure treated 4x4 and two 1.5 in dowels. Together, at a TN Lowes, these materials cost about $15.

We then proceeded to start cutting our pieces. The measurements are as follows:

10 Skulls= 6 inches tall each
1 King= 1 foot tall
6 Femurs (batons)= 1 foot long each

Once those cuts are made, technically you're finished.

We played a couple of rounds with the set like this to make sure we even liked the game (because we had never actually played it before). It's pretty safe to say that if you're a fan of lawn games, this one is a safe bet as a quick favorite.

But of course, what are a bunch of blank blocks if not excuses for decoration! And these sets lend themselves to being sculpted, painted, and generally personalized to your hearts content. We ran ours through Dad's lathe and took a sander to them to de-bur them.

Once they were finished, they certainly had more personality.

Once we brought them home to KY, I began experimenting with staining them. This was a mistake on my part, as I didn't have a clear idea as to what I wanted them to look like. The stain was a failure, so I ended up having to paint them. This is where I admit that I should have just polyed the set and not tried to do any staining or painting.

They didn't turn out too badly painted. If you decide to paint yours, I recommend a primer (especially since this is raw wood). In the image below, you can see a primed Skull behind the finished Skull.

Things that I have learned since painting my Kubb set:
  • The paint will not look good after your first game or two
  • The paint exchange between the Femurs and the Skulls is significantly greater the more paint that is involved.
This being my first set, though, I was able to learn these lessons before moving on to the next two that I made.

One was for our friend Alex, who had come over and played with us and had a blast. His birthday was coming up and I thought that a set would be a great gift (and it is!).

Remember when I said the fact that we were in TN when we bought the supplies for our last set was important? Yeah, they don't sell untreated 4x4s in Kentucky (or at least in our area). I needed to find another solution.

It occurred to me that the guy in the video above had used redwood timber to make his set. I decided to give that a try. It was cheaper than the untreated TN 4x4, but the 1.5 Femurs would end up being more expensive by at least $5. Different areas have different materials, and sometimes radically different prices. These are just things to consider if you're trying to follow my instructions to the letter.

I clear coated the redwood King and Skulls and gave the Femurs a fun orange striped paint job. Second set: Completed.

Third set:

I was commissioned to create a set for someone for Father's day. It was fun, because I was given a lot of creative freedom. I was told two things: I would like to pay $X for a Kubb set and he really likes the Reds.

Done and Done.

I cut my pieces after sanding the redwood to a slightly less splintery texture, then proceeded with a pretty Reds-tastic paintjob. Everything was then covered in three coats of poly. So far, it's probably my favorite set, even though I'm not a huge baseball fan.

The inspiration was the Scripps Building in downtown Cinci which I had only just observed a couple of days earlier. It was practically the King of the Cinci Kubb-set-like skyline.

I hope that this little story tutorial has gotten you interesting in an outdoor game that everyone can enjoy. I've played it with everyone from my parents in their backyard to random strangers at Keeneland while tailgating. It's an instant classic that will fit in with those cornhole and redneck golf sets.

Good luck creating your own sets! Let me know if you make one (or two...or three...) and I will post your pictures on the bottom of this blog!

Here is the set my Dad made!

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