If you know anything about your old pal The Handyman, he ain’t pleased unless he’s figuring, building and accomplishing. That right there is the basis for one of his guiding principles … always be working the problem.
Don’t know what the source of my creative drive is, per se … just an existential restlessness, I reckon. That, or just plain edginess from too much carbo-loadin’.
Anyhoo, The Handyman and his crew fancied takin’ up darts during breaks on the set. The Handy Intern came through and scrounged up some darts and a board. After playing a few rounds, The Handyman got himself fixated on the idea of building a dart board cabinet. And when an idea starts swimming around in the old gray-noodle bucket, there’s no shakin’ it until the job is done.
Before launching into any project, The Handyman does some quick research to see how expensive a particular item is, premade. Even The Handyman recognizes the convenience of items that are cheaper to buy than to make, especially in these lean times.
After scanning the internets, The Handyman found that pre-fabbed dartboard cabinets are a wee bit on the pricey side, from around $68 to $130 or more. It became clear pretty quick that building one exactly to my specifications could easily be constructed for about a third of the average online price, and it’ll sure last longer than one that comes in a box with pretty pictures on it.
And, so, The Handyman set to it. And when he looked upon his handiwork, he then said to himself, “Dang, that there is super-chocolate. I gotta share this with my internet peeps!”
Now, if you follow these simple instructions, you too can build your own trés chic dartboard cabinet. The Handyman has drawn up some detailed plans, which you can download (on the house, of course).
First up, The Handyman yanked from his stockpile one 8-foot piece of 1×4 for the frame, a scrap piece of 1/4” plywood for the backing, and some scraps of plywood (you could also use 12” unfinished, paint-grade shelving material) for the doors.
Next, The Handyman commenced to his fave part of constructing – destructing! With a circular saw, I cut the 1×4 into two 22” pieces and two 20” pieces and built the outside frame. Next I cut the 1/4″ plywood backing 22”x20”. Next I sanded the carcass (I know, that sounds gross, but it’s what trade folks call a newly constructed frame) and the backing board super smooth. Then I glued and screwed the backing board into the frame, making sure it perfectly square.
Next, The Handyman temporarily mounted the hinges to the carcass, in order to make an exact measurement for the combined width of the doors. Once that was established, I subtracted an 1/8“, ‘cause you gotta leave a little gap or else your doors won’t shut. Then, you take that measurement and divide it in two because, duh, they’re two doors. Next, The Handyman ripped the door material into the two equal pieces. You know, not with my bare hands (not that I couldn’t, but the pieces would probably be all jaggedy, and that’s no good for anybody), but with the skillsaw.
Here’s a good tip for you. The Handyman design this so that the top of the doors are flush with the top of the carcass, leaving a 1” lip at the bottom for opening, because it’s cheaper and easier than installing pulls or knobs.
Next, The Handyman set to sanding the doors down super smooth. Once that was done, I flexed my finishing muscles. For some slick tricks on finishing techniques, check out my quick video Shop-hacks on that very topic.
On the outside, I used a great combo – stain plus a durable varnish (you never know when a round of darts might get out of hand, and someone spills a brewski or some blood on it). And, for a cool effect, The Handyman painted the interior of the box in black satin … that way, the targets on the dartboard will really jump out at you (especially important if’n you’ve got your beergoggles on).
The Handyman didn’t stop the flow of his creativity there, though. On the inside of the doors, I applied a couple of thick coats of chalkboard paint, to keep track of how mercilessly I’m pummeling the Handy Gang. If you have any trouble tracking down chalkboard paint, don’t worry … just pick up a couple of mini dry-erase boards and mount them to the insides of each door.
After all that, The Handyman added a scrap piece of 1×2 a wee bit up from the bottom of each door (inside the box, of course) to hold chalk and darts. Just prior to mounting them, I routed out a shallow groove to hold my chalk and drilled several holes in which to store the darts.
You can download a complete set of plans featuring a cut schedule and a material list by clicking on the linkage right here …
Download free dartboard plans.
That’s it, a cheap and quick weekend project that can provide years of fun. Toss on!
- The Handyman