Mölkky-- an Outdoor Throwing Game




About: I build, I write, I film... Mostly a woodworker.

Molkky is a Finnish throwing game, invented in 1996, which I had never heard of... But I learned that it's a very simple project that can be built in a few evenings.

(A friend asked me if I could make a Molkky set for them. I did some research online and then designed my own set in Sketchup and set about building them.)

Step 1: Option: Video Build

If you would prefer, you can watch a video of this project build. Otherwise, read on!

Step 2: Prepare and Glue Up Stock for the Pins

I started with some spare 2x4 stock. I cut them down to pieces approximately 5ft long and then jointed one face.

I then applied a liberal dose of glue and clamped the boards together to make larger pieces.

Once the glue had dried I went back to the jointer and jointed two sides to be a perfect 90-degree angle and then ripped the boards down to be 2-1/2" by 2-1/2" in size.

Step 3: Make the Pins Round-ISH

Most of the Molkky sets that I saw online had round pins. Some were perfectly round, and some used sections of branches for the pins. I don't have a lathe, or a supply of branches. However, I do have a great big roundover bit. So I ran all four sides of my blanks through the roundover bit so I had round-ISH boards at least.

Step 4: Cutting and Labelling the Pins

I then cut all the boards down to 15" sections. These were then split in half with a 30-degree cut, which left pins that were 8" tall. I made a dozen of these pins.

I also made one throwing pin (not shown). I made that out of a 10" chunk of cherry that I happened to have. I could have used some of the glued-up 2x4 stock, but I wanted something with a bit more heft, and the cherry is much denser than the spruce 2x4s that we have around here.

I sanded off all the rough bits, with a special focus on the angled face. I want the face to be as smooth as possible to receive the number.

I used the acetone toner-transfer method to apply numbers to the face of the pins.

(Here is a youtube video where John Heisz of ibuildit.ca explains and demonstrates this method, if you want to learn that also.)

Given that these were end-grain pieces, I was quite pleasantly surprised with how well it turned out. I only had to add some colour to the #10 pin.

Step 5: Make a Storage Tote As Well

Making the game was pretty quick and easy. So I decided to also quickly throw together a storage tote to go with it. I designed a simple crate in Sketchup (plan at the bottom of this page) and built it out of various scrap plywood and wood laying around my shop. For the bottom I used some scrap plywood from a classroom lab which has a plastic coating. (the green plastic coating is face down on the tablesaw in the photo, sorry!) I arranged for that to be the bottom of the tote, for durability and water resistance (This is an outdoor game!).

I stacked the two end pieces and then cut a curve on the top and smoothed it on my Homemade disc sander.

Two two-inch-wide slats were fastened on both sides of the tote. The bottom slat and the end were positioned up about 1/16", so that only the plastic coating on the bottom of the plywood base would contact the ground.

I gave all the pieces a quick shot of spray lacquer. This will give some much needed protection to the toner-transfer numbers.

By accident I designed the ends of the tote a bit on the short side, so I had to change my handle to an arched handle to provide sufficient clearance. I changed the plans below such that the ends were two inches taller.

Step 6: Very Basic Plans.

Here are the (very basic) plans that I used to build this game. Please note that this first drawing does not allow for the saw kerf, so in reality I cut these pieces to 15" long (as noted above) before cutting them in two.

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    15 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Looks a lot like Kuub!... A viking version of a throwing game!

    2 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    I've played Kuub also! That's a good outdoor summer game as well.


    2 years ago

    What about maybe using 2.5 x 2.5 pressure treated landscaping timber?


    Reply 2 years ago

    Your set is even easier than mine to build. I almost copied you, but my "client" really wanted round(ish) pins, so I improvised. I'm really glad that I made the carrier, as these are kind of heavy. An old milk crate would also work.


    Reply 2 years ago

    A paper bag certainly doesn't last long when you're playing outdoors...

    That was a tribute to Jay Bates of "Jays custom creations". He's another youtube woodworker and he's done the "watching glue dry" joke on a number of his videos. Thanks for the comment!


    2 years ago

    Please remember, that Mölkky (Finnish: [ˈmølkːy]) is a Finnish throwing game invented by Tuoterengas company in 1996. It is reminiscent ofkyykkä, a centuries-old throwing game with Karelian roots. However, mölkky does not require as much physical strength as kyykkä, and is more suitable for everyone regardless of age and condition. Mölkky requires no special equipment and success is based on a combination of chance and skill. Tuoterengas has sold nearly 200,000 sets in Finland. Tuoterengas owns the Mölkky-trademark.


    2 years ago