It’s a Toss Up!


A partnership made in heaven. Hillbilly heaven that is. The Novice Woodworker, a University of Kentucky Student, had fun in learning from the experienced Woodworker and made a corn hole set that he could be proud of and share with his fellow men in blue. Learn how this student and mentor made woodworking fun.

It’s a Toss Up!

A Partnership Between the Woodworking Novice & Pro!


A rising junior studying business at the University of Kentucky, Sam didn’t have much free time this summer. He had a full time internship and worked a lot of nights and weekends at a local country club golf course. In his spare time, he was usually golfing or traveling. He’d actually earned plenty of money to buy his own corn hole set, but he checked something off of his bucket list instead!

Sam’s neighbor happens to be an expert woodworker. So he was happy to supply the equipment when Sam asked him to help him build a Wildcat corn hole set to take to college this fall. “He has a lot of Shopsmith tools!” says Sam. The partnership was ideal, as Sam is a self-professed “complete novice” in anything related to woodworking. “Actually, other than finding the trees on the golf course, I will be honest that I didn’t have a lot of experience with wood. Ok, I didn’t have ANY experience!” Sam went on to say, “The Kentucky boys I live with do this kind of thing all the time. They love doing it.”

“I talked the project through with my soon to be mentor, who suggested I watch the ‘Getting Started’ Shopsmith series. It helped me to visualize the plan.”

Corn Hole is also called “Hillbilly Horseshoes!”


The Wildcat corn hole set is constructed of 2×4’s, 4×8 plywood and glue, and screws to hold it together. The team downloaded the official corn hole sizing information to get started. The tool that brought the dream to life is the Shopsmith MARK 7. They used the table saw to make straight cuts of the appropriate size.

“You need the right tools!”


The bandsaw attachment cuts the curves. “By adding the bandsaw we didn’t need to add a motor to it!” The belt sander then sands the curves until they are perfectly smooth. The attachments increase the capacity of the MARK 7 to do the work of countless machines in one.

What was the most challenging part of the project?


The team says that working with 2×4’s is difficult because they typically have warps in them. “Turning the circles for the actual holes was a little tricky. But you should see what these things can do!” With a marking tool, they drew a 2" line all along the perimeter to guide them for painting. “I was really good at the taping part!” said Sam with a smile as he adjusted his goggles to drill holes for the screws. Into these went the legs, which are 12" high on the top side so that the bottom of the board will touch the ground.

When asked what they would change or do differently if they could, Sam responded with, “Nah. I think we did pretty well! I had a really great teacher!”

Wax On, Wax Off!


Home Depot sells NCAA paint colors, so they chose Wildcat Blue. Sam isn’t super experienced at painting either, but he says that his teacher, “wasn’t telling me that I wasn’t good at it. He was very encouraging and I think that helped me improve.” Watching Sam and his teacher paint the boards had a very zen feel. It was quiet, peaceful and almost therapeutic. Sam’s mentor says that’s the goal!“Woodworking is supposed to be stress-reducing and gives pride of accomplishment,” he says.

“It looks sweet!”

After priming the boards, the pair put three coats of paint on it. Typically paint dries in 4 to 5 hours but the paint specialist at Home Depot suggested letting the blue dry overnight because it tends to darken.

5 Pieces of Advice from the Novice and the Pro:


  1. Be patient!
  2. Plan ahead – all of your steps! Don’t buy too much wood
  3. Build with a partner. And find a good one!
  4. Have the right tools for the job.Shopsmith, of Course!
  5. If you make a mistake, you can usually fix it. Just relax.

What’s next?

“I’m going to enjoy this for a while and maybe next year we’ll create something else! I might have to build a loft for my bed at school!”

#shopsmith #woodworking #UKwildcats #cornhole #bucketlist

  • Shopsmith MARK 7
  • 2 x 4s
  • 4 x 8 plywood
  • glue
  • screws
  • drill
  • decals (from
  • beanbags (from Etsy)
It’s a Toss Up!