Frequently Asked Questions
What tools are required to construct a set of Builder Boards?
Constructing Builder Boards requires a table saw, a router, a hand sander and all the standard hand tools. A circular saw is also handy.
What sort of materials are necessary and how much do they cost?
Materials cost will be between $250-$400 depending on the size of the set and the quality of the plywood. A small set takes 3 1/2 sheets of plywood; a large set (all the pieces shown on the order page) requires 5 sheets of plywood. I recommend good quality plywood. Even marine plywood is not too good for an outdoor set. Builder Boards will last for a long, long time so it doesn’t make sense to scrimp on materials. Other materials needed include aluminum for a pattern, the proper carbide router bit, oil finish and hook and loop fastener.
How long does it take to construct a set of Builder Boards?
My first set (a small one) took between 60 and 70 hours to construct. Since then I’ve learned some tricks and reduced construction time by quite a bit. Half of the construction time (cutting the plywood into strips, making the pattern and cutting the notches) requires a skilled woodworker familiar with power tools. The other half of the labor involves rounding the corners of the boards, sanding and finishing and can be done by any interested adult who is willing to work.
Do you need to be a woodworker to construct a set of Builder Boards?
No, but it sure helps. If you have, and know how to use, a table saw and a router construction should be relatively smooth. In a sense it’s and easy project (woodworker or not) because each board must go through the same steps. Once you’ve completed one board, it’s a matter of repeating the same operations with all the other boards.
Many sets have been built by the unskilled, but you’ll need help from a woodworker. A young lady in my hometown constructed a set as an Eagle Scout project with help from her father. He taught her how to use the table saw and cut the plywood into strips. He helped her build the pattern for cutting the notches. Then he showed her how to use the router to cut the notches. Friends helped with the sanding and finishing. As another example, I helped nine eighth graders construct a set (using only hand tools) for the Women Care Shelter as part of a community service project This project is covered in Chapter IV of my book.
What if I don’t have the skills or the time to build it myself?
Find someone to build it. Sets have been built by technical colleges, high school and middle school shop classes, prison inmates, scouts and senior or parent volunteers.