I had just finished grad school and my older brother’s birthday was around the corner. Being short on cash I decided to build him a present. We regularly go to Charger games, and UCLA games where we like to play a game we call washers or washer game. I figured it was time that my brother had a set of his own.
Washers is a horse shoe style game that is a very popular tailgating game. It involves two platforms with 3 holes in each that are placed 10 feet apart. Each player has 3 washers they throw. The closest hole is worth 1 point, the middle hole is worth 2 points, and the farthest hole is 3 points. First player to reach 21 wins. Some basic rules:
- If you make all 3 washers in on one turn you receive an extra bonus point.
- If each player both make the same hole on a single turn, they cancel each other out.
- Whoever made the most points on the previous turn goes first.
- If you knock an opponents washer into a hole, they receive the points. (This is why it pays to go first).
- If you go over 21, you go back to 11 points.
- All washers must go past the front plane of the board
- This is to insure someone has to finish throwing in case they hit 21 and still have washers left in their hand.
The basic measurements are shown in the diagram below.
- General lumber
- 5 – 8’x2″x4″
- Deck Screws
- Carpet/work mats (need to cover 2-18″x36″ areas)
- General Construction Glue
- 7 – 2.5″ washers
First, the tops of each platform need to be made. I purchased an 18″x6′ piece of wood from the hardware store. All that needed to be done is cut the board in half because each platform is 18″x36″. I was too lazy to set up a jig to cut a straight line with a circular saw, so I just cheated and use my large compound miter saw.
Next, a 2″x4″ was cut to give two 36″ pieces which were attached to the top of the platform. This platform base will be built to size of the top piece (One platform base was built square, but the top piece did not line up perfectly).
Now, two more pieces of the 2″x4″ are need to finish the base of the platform. These were measured to length and screwed into place.
After the base was complete, it was time to add the holes. The image above shows the markings for drilling the holes, which follow the design posted at the start of this page. A 3″ hole saw was used to get exact (or as exact as someone can get with a 3″ hole saw and a hand drill) 3″ holes. A nice adult beverage generally helps as well.
It is a good idea to sand the corners afterwards. Usually you want to clamp a piece of scrap wood to the back of your working piece when drilling to avoid splintering, but I was lacking in clamps that could get a good grip at this point.
The tops being made out of a solid piece of wood makes them more susceptible to splitting than a piece of plywood (yay laminated composites). A crack started to form down one of the tops, so two additional supports were added between the holes. These were place sideways so they would not touch the ground, and cause a wobbly base. It also allows more surface area to be in contact with the top piece.
Next, It was time to paint the platfroms. Blue and yellow/gold were used because UCLA Bruins are awesome, and the San Diego Chargers are awesome, and they share the same colors. (Our high school was also blue, so I’ve never had to really change my game day attire).
One issue that arises at tailgates is mixing up the washers from different people’s sets. To remedy this, the washers are also painted blue and yellow. These will be knocked around a lot, so four thin coats were applied to each side.
After the base was finished, it was time to attach the carpet. Two shop mats were used for this. Using a general construction adhesive cover the top surface of the platform. A fiberglass squeegee makes this really easy. An old credit card also works great.
Place the carpet on top. Lining it up on two faces makes it easier later because then only 2 faces will need to be trimmed. Flip the board over and add weight to the top. Give it the night to cure. Use a razor blade to trim the outer edges down to size to be flush with the sides of the board.
To remove the carpet over the holes, DO NOT USE A RAZOR BLADE. This will come out shotty and not flush. Use the same 3″ hole saw and drill through the back side. Go slowly and do not push hard. This will give a nice flush finish to the hole on the top.
Do the same steps for the other board and you’ll have an awesome washer set. Have fun.