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The Game of Kubb

5 Sep

Memorial Day weekend 2011 was a bust. At least in terms of camping, but despite a muddy marshy campground a few highlights of that trip have stuck with me more than a year after my friends and I made day trip to Nerstrand Big Woods State Park. (Highlight 1) Our detour on the way to the campground to visit a garage sale procured a fabulous wooden floor lamp for a $1. You’ll hear more about my $1 wood lamp in a future post. (Highlight 2) When we finally arrived I was introduced to the lawn game Kubb (pronounced Koob).

Fast forward 8 months later when I met my fiance Fred. On one of our first dates he mentioned his favorite yard game Kubb.  We’ve since spent quite a few hours playing Kubb this spring and summer with friends and family.   Kubb is a Nordic game originating on the island of Gotland, Sweden, in which two opposing teams take turns throwing wooden dowels at 4 X 4 pieces of wood in attempts to knock them over.  Full directions for the game can be found at here.

In the past month we’ve made two sets for friends and family, one as a shower gift and one as a retirement gift, and both were warmly received.

Supplies for a set of Kubb

  • 1 8 ft. 4 X4 piece of lumber- either cedar or fir. I would not use treated lumber as it will be too heavy and not nearly as pretty as either of the other two options. Look for pieces of wood that are straight with fewer knots.
  • 2- 1 ¼ inch dowels/closet rod in 4 ft. in length
  • Table Saw
  • Mitre Saw or Radial Arm Saw (you could also use a hand saw and mitre box if you were really determined, but it would take a LOT of work)
  • Safety glasses
  • Pencil
  • Tape Measure

To note: This Kubb set is not to tournament specifications, but it is the size that we have been playing with and it works great.

First, we measured out 7 7/8 inches and marked it on the 4 X 4.  We used the mitre saw to cut on the line.  Unfortunately, my mitre saw does not have a big enough blade to cut through the 4 X 4 without leaving a small piece uncut.  Once the original cut was made we simply turned the wood and made sure to line up the blade with the original cut line and cut once more to cut straight through.  You now have your first Kubb block!

We repeated this process nine more times to make ten Kubb blocks.  To simplify we used the first Kubb block as a template for the next nine we cut.  The remaining piece of wood should be 16 inches and will be your Kingpin with a total of eleven pieces- one of which is longer than the others.

We then measured marked 12 inches on the dowel, using the mitre saw to make the cut.  Again we used the first dowel we cut as a template for cutting five additional dowels for a total of six dowels that will be used as your throwing pieces. You should have approximately 2 feet of dowel remaining.  Cut this into 6 pieces four inches long. These will be your game play markers.

To shape the Kingpin we used a table saw.  We set the blade at 45 degrees and approximately 1 inch deep.  The guard rail was set to 3.0 inches.

Holding the kingpin perpendicular to the guard we cut each side of the kingpin.

We then removed the guard and reset it on the other side of the blade at 4.5 inches.  Holding the kingping perpendicular to the guard we cut each side of the kingpin.

You may have to stop the saw each time to remove the small piece of wood that is removed on each side of the Kingpin.  You now have all the pieces of your Kubb set.

We sanded each board to remove excess slivers and splinters from the cutting process and to smooth them out.  At this point you could stain the pieces in a variety of colors, or as we did, gift them in their natural state.  We also thought it would be fun to throw a couple of permanent markers in a variety of colors in the bag and have everyone that plays sign a piece of the set.

I printed off a set of Kubb rules from this site and put them back to back in a self sealing laminated pouch to include with the gift set.

We tried a few options for storing the game. We bought a duffel bag for $15 from Target, but didn’t like the looks and the fit wasn’t quite right.  We found a a beer case box works great to hold the Kubb set in a pinch, but probably won’t hold up for the long haul.

Instead, we promised the lucky recipients a handmade Kubb carrying bag in the future, and I’ll be back with directions and a tutorial on making a Kubb Storage bag soon.