Introduction: DIY Kubb Set
Kubb(aka Viking Chess) is a fun outdoor game in which you throw batons at blocks of wood:
It can be played on any surface - grass, sand, snow, dirt, whatever. Making a set is easy if you have some 4×4 lumber and dowels around, and one of the first projects I followed on this site was fungus amungus's instructions for doing exactly that. I've made a couple of sets for friends since and I wanted to make another, but had no 4×4 lumber or dowels and was disinclined to buy some when I had a lot of other wood lying around. This instructable will show you how to make an entire Kubb set with very little waste from 4.2 m of 2×4 construction lumber (~$4) and some wood glue, assuming you have access to a table saw. If not, buy the dowels and 4×4 you need, or pick up one of the many commercial sets (~$50) available. Or just use some firewood!
Step 1: Kubbs
Glue together two 1540 mm long 2×4s using plenty of wood glue. I used my garage door as a clamp (more examples of improvised clamps here). Rip away the edges to provide one square 70×70×1540 mm length. Cut into ten 150 mm lengths.
Step 2: Batons
Cut a 910 mm length of 2×4 and rip into 38×38 mm lengths. Rip again to an octagonal cross-section. There is an easy way to do this without measuring - just set the distance as shown in the second photo. For a square of side length 1, this generates a perfect octagon of side length √2-1 (0.4142...). Crosscut into six 300 mm lengths.
Step 3: King
Trim two 45° corners off a 1255 mm long 2×4 to give a trapezoidal cross-section. Cut into four 310 mm lengths. Glue together to form a square with 88 mm sides. I used some rubber surgical tubing as a "clamp". If the small hole in the middle bothers you, glue a piece of wood trimmed to the right dimensions inside. Trim the whole thing to exactly 300 mm, then carve additional decorations to make it as kingly as you see fit. I continued with the octagonal vibe and made some bevels with the table saw, and made a cross motif on the top to echo a chess king.
Step 4: Corner Markers
Use the 45° offcuts from ripping the king. Trim the edges and sharpen one end (I used a miter saw). You'll have enough to mark the corners and the center line and have spares. I made mine 350 mm long, cut out the knots, and got seven (1 spare). Use them to mark out a playing area 5 paces wide by 8 paces long, with center markers half way along the longer side. If you're feeling in a making mood, why not make a mallet to pound in the stakes?
Step 5: Finish
Coat with whatever you see fit. I put a clear coat on this set. It's going to take a battering so I can't recommend putting in too much effort into a softwood version.
Step 6: Go Play!
The rules are available online (pdf), or just watch the video. Both came from the U.S. National Kubb Championship webpage. Note that social games of kubb use the "tower rule" to prevent the games becoming interminable: thrown kubbs that are touching get stacked on top of each other.