01 of 10
Build a Set of Washer Boxes
Nearly everyone is familiar with the game of Horseshoes, where 36" iron stakes are placed 40-feet apart and iron horseshoes are thrown at the stakes. It is a common "backyard" game, but one that has drawbacks; it takes a pretty large back yard, and the horseshoes can dig up the grass when they land. Often, the soil must be loosened around the stakes (or a box of sand is placed around the stakes).
Many people don't have access to such a space where they can set up a horseshoe... court. For those people, there is a very similar game that can be played outside in a much smaller space, on any surface (including concrete). You could even play indoors inside a gym or a large room (within reason, of course).
In this set of free woodworking plans, we show you how to build a set of washer boxes and show you how to play Washers. The woodworking is very easy and can be done with very simple woodworking tools. It's a quick project, but one that will bring a lot of fun to your backyard parties without damaging your yard or patio.
Download the to build a set of Washer Boxes (PDF).
- Woodworking: Easy
- Finishing: None
Time to Complete
- 1-2 Hours
Continue to 2 of 10 below.
- 3 - 2x6 x 8' Treated lumber
- 2 - Pieces of 3/4" A/C Plywood measuring 12" x 48"
- 2 - 2" diameter U-Bolts
- 2 - 1" Key Rings
- 12' - Lightweight chain
- 2-1/2" deck screws
- 1-5/8" deck screws
- 3" diameter fender washers - Three for each player
- Spray Paint in various colors to mark each set of washers
- Layout Square
02 of 10
Cut the Stock to Size
To begin building this woodworking project, you'll need to cut four pieces of pressure treated 2x6 lumber to 48" in length. You'll also need six pieces of the same 2x6 lumber cut to 9" in length. These ten pieces of stock will be enough to build the structure of two boxes.Continue to 3 of 10 below.
03 of 10
Connect the Sides and End Pieces
After you've cut the pressure treated 2x6 pieces, begin to connect them with deck screws and a power drill. Place two of the long pieces on end parallel to one another, and fit one of the 9" long pieces of stock between the two sides at each end. Drive two 2-1/2" deck screws through the sides into the end pieces as shown in the picture. Repeat with the other set of sides and end pieces for the second box.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
04 of 10
Add a Cross-Member
Once the ends are attached to each box assembly, add some strength to the assembly by attaching one of the two remaining 9" pieces of stock directly in the center of each box.
TIP: Be certain that the cross piece is centered down the length of the box assembly so that the holes in the top (to be cut later) do not interfere with the cross member.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Attach the Plywood Playing Surface
Now that the structure of each box is complete, the next step of these free woodworking plans is to attach the plywood playing surface to the top of the boxes. For this, we'll need a piece of 3/4" thick AC grade plywood cut to 12" wide by 48" long. If you need to cut the pieces out of a full sheet, use your circular saw and a straight edge or run them through a table saw.
Attach the plywood to the top of the box structure (with the smooth side up) using some 1-5/8" deck screws.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
06 of 10
Mark the Target Circles on the Plywood
Now that the playing surface plywood has been attached, the next step is to mark the three 4" circles on the plywood playing surface of each box. From one end of the box, draw a line down the center of the box (parallel to the long sides).
Next, make a mark on this line seven inches in from the end. Make another mark at 14" and a third mark at 21" in, each on the center line. These will be the centers of the target holes.
Now, adjust your compass to a 2" radius. Place the point of... the compass on the 7" mark and draw a 4" diameter circle. Repeat on the 14" and 21" marks.
Mark the same three circles on the second box.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
07 of 10
Cut Out the Target Circles
With the target circles marked, the next step is to cut out the 4" target circles using a jig saw.
To begin, drill a pilot hole inside each of the six cutouts using a 1/2" paddle bit in your power drill. Then, carefully cut out the six circles using your jig saw. Go slowly and complete the six cuts as cleanly and evenly as you can.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
08 of 10
Attach the U-Bolts
At this point, the woodworking on this project is basically complete. The only thing that remains is to attach the chain that will keep the distance between the boxes consistent.
To begin, we'll attach the two u-bolts to the center of the end board which is opposite the three target holes. Find the center of each end board and mark hole locations for the u-bolt so that it is centered on the box. Slip the key ring onto the u-bolt and insert it into the two holes (as shown in the picture).... Slide on a couple of washers and tighten the nuts. Repeat on the opposite box.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Attach the Chain Spacer
The last step of this woodworking project before we begin playing is to cut the chain to the proper length and attach it to the key rings. This will act as a spacer between the boxes so that the distance between the boxes is consistently at twelve feet.
To get the proper length, hold the key ring at the apex of the u-bolt and measure the distance from the end board to the tip of the key ring. Add this distance to the same measurement on the opposite u-bolt/key ring, and subtract the combined... distances from twelve feet. This will tell you exactly how long to cut the chain to have a twelve-foot distance between the boxes.
Cut the chain using a hack saw or bolt cutters, then attach one end to each key ring. Pull the boxes apart so that the chain is taut, and position the boxes in line with the chain.
At last, you're ready to learn how to play washers!
TIP: While you certainly could paint or stain the plywood top, as you'll see when you begin playing, the surface gets pretty dinged up. As such, the paint really wouldn't protect the plywood that much. You're better off playing until the top wears out, then replace it with another piece of plywood. The plywood top should last a couple of summers before you need to consider replacing it.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
10 of 10
Washers is a game that can be played individually or in teams. However, each player should have his/her own set of three (3" diameter) washers. Each set of three washers should be painted a different color for easy identification in play.
Choose the order in which players will throw. The first player will stand on one box and toss the three washers (one at a time) toward the other box. Sinking a washer into the hole closest to the shooter is worth one point, the middle hole two points, and... the furthest hole three points. After the first player shoots all three washers, the second player throws their three washers, then the third player and so on. When that round is completed, the players move to the opposite box and collect their washers and count their points. The player that scored the most points in the round will go first, followed by the second highest scorer of the round and so on.
The game continues until any player (or team) amasses 21 points exactly. Should a player go past 21, they'll revert back to 18 and continue. In other words, if a player is sitting on 20 and tosses a two, they'll add one point to get to 21 (which then reverts to 18) and add the second point to give them 19.
Keep in mind that it is always beneficial to go as early as possible in every round. Any washers that don't make it into a target hole but are left on the board may be knocked into a hole by another player, so the last player is at a disadvantage.
Every player seems to have a different tossing technique. Some try to throw the washer as flat as possible with a low arc so that the washer lands and slides across the board. Others prefer to arc the washer high and end over end with a bit of backspin to try and coax it into the hole like a basketball. Practice and experimentation will help you find a rhythm and method that suits you.