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Outfit Your Fire Pit

How to Build a Horseshoe Pit (page 1 of 3)

Horseshoes is a classic game that is fun for the whole family. Learn how to build a permanent pit in your backyard.

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Project Cut List and Plans

four 2x10 x 48" for the backboard
four 2x4 x 22" for the backboard
eight 2x4 x 72" for the pitching platforms
twenty 2x4 x 15" for the pitching platforms
two 4x4 x 84” posts
twelve 5/4" x6 x 72" deck boards

All the materials can be found at any large home-improvement store, (except for the horseshoes). Have the store cut the 12’ deck boards in half so it will be easier to transport them.

Much of this project can be built indoors then taken to the site for installation. We made the center/sand area of our pit four feet wide. Regulation states it should be three-feet wide. You can adjust accordingly.

A Few Tips Before You Get Started

  • When using any saw, let blade get up to full speed and then slowly push through the wood using even pressure. Always use a sharp blade for safety and it is will cut easier. A dull blade will force you to push harder which may cause the saw or material to jump.

  • When using a circular saw, make a mark across the entire length of the piece so you can follow it with the blade. This will help keep the cut from binding.

  • When shopping for lumber, look down the length of the material and try to find straight pieces or at least the straightest.

  • If there is a bow in the material, put the bow against the miter saw's fence at the cutting blade so that it bows away from the saw at the ends. If the piece is tight on the ends and bowed away at cutting blade, the saw may pull it back at the end of the cut and slam the piece against the fence.

  • Most lumber does not come with square ends, it is usually is longer than the specified lengths, i.e. -- an 8-foot length 2x4 is usually 8’-3/4” long. This allows you to square up the ends before final cuts to length, but be sure to measure first before squaring it up. Watch for staples in ends where tags have been attached, they can catch in the saw blades and be tossed out (one of the many reasons to always wear safety goggles).

  • When using a miter saw or circular saw, make sure to have proper support of the material. Miter saws should have a stand or table to catch pieces. Circular saws should have two supports each on both sides of the piece being cut, so there is not a piece dropping after the cut.

  • When inserting 3-inch screws into 2x4s, angle the screws slightly so they do not protrude through the other side.

  • Measure for the Pitching Platform

    The two side platforms are where a player stands to toss the horseshoes to the other pit. They stand at the back of the platform, take two steps forward and pitch each horseshoe.

    Cut eight of the 2x4 to 72 inches. Save the cut off pieces. Cut the eight saved pieces and two of your 2x4s into twenty 15-inch pieces.

    Lay one of the 72-inch pieces on its side. Perpendicularly place five of the 15-inch pieces, evenly spaced across the 72-inch board. Here is the easiest way to determine equal spacing:
    Add the amount of pieces by their width: 5 plus 1-1/2" = 7-1/2".
    Then minus that from total length: 72" – 7-1/2" = 64-1/2".
    Then divide by the number of spaces: 64-1/2" divided by 4 = 16-1/8".
    Thus, there is 16-1/8" between each 2x4 (image 1, below).

    Mark the 1-1/2" thick 2x4s on the small side of each end of the 72-inch board and measure over 16-1/8" and mark another 1-1/2" and continue. Put a mark across the edge on both sides of the 2x4 with an "X" in the center so there’s no confusion as to where you will fasten the boards.

    Lay the other 2x4 x 72" boards against the one you just marked. Transfer all the marks across to the other boards using a carpenter's square (image 2).

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