Game for the Grandkids - Ladder Ball

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  • Game for the Grandkids - Ladder Ball

    Saw this and found many versions for sale on line for prices ranging from about 40 bucks to 80 bucks..
    But decided I could make my own.
    Well, I bought a set of the bola balls premade for $14.99 (Amazon)
    I debated using 1" wood rods (available $6.08 for a 6-foot length for closet clothes hanger rods) or 3/4" schedule 21 or 40 PVC pipe about 6 bucks per 10 foot.
    I decided to make it from 2x4 ripped to 2x2x42". Total two 2x4 x8' for $4.25 each. I had a couple of PVC pipe so the answer was easy.

    24" wide rod and 42" high 13 inches between rods and between balls. The horizontal legs I made 42" long but this is overkill, it is no danger of tipping over from the the balls thrown or from wind. Probably 24" long or perhaps nonsymmetrical would work better.

    Good drill press and table saw exercise. I half lapped (actually 1/3-lapped) the vertical and horizontal joint and put a carriage bolt in it for ease of take down.
    3/4 PVC pipe is 1.050" diameter I had bought a 1-1/16 Forstner (1.063) previously for this kind of thing so it fit almost perfectly.

    In the end I think wood dowels would have been easier.. using a standard 1" Forstner bit instead of a odd size 1-1/16 which I fortunately had and you can put a single screw in the end
    In fact verticals from 1x2 don't even need countersunk for the dowel, just a hole in the end of the dowel for a screw through the vertical would work. The PVC being hollow I had to sink holes in the verticals and put two screws from the side of the pipe rather than the end. I had to allow an inch deep recess for the PVC which made me use 2x2 for the vertical instead of 1x2.

    Rules for the game found everywhere on line. The object is of course to throw your three bolas and wrap them around the bars to get points, 3 for the top,2 for the middle, 1 for the lower and zero for a miss. Your opponent then has to throw his three and try and outscore you; first to 21 exactly wins.

    As always I was intrigued by the ways to design this item. The wood cost was under $10, some carriage bolts about a buck and I had the rest of the screws and pipe. And got to use table saw, miter saw, drill press, hand drill, Vix bits, and bunch of sanding equipment. Router and round over bits - crisply cut ripped two-by-four edges are very sharp! I kept hurting my hand.

    Click on the pictures.
    Attached Files
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 11-13-2021, 09:26 PM.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ -

  • #2
    I made one for my granddaughter out of PVC pipe and connectors. I got a bunch of old golf balls and drilled a hole in each and used approx 1/4” nylon braided line to attach them. Worked great!


    • #3
      That was another option... making one completely out of PVC pipe and fittings.. A lot less satisfying to me than woodworking.
      Last edited by LCHIEN; 11-13-2021, 11:59 PM.
      Loring in Katy, TX USA
      If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
      BT3 FAQ -


      • #4
        Final version. I made the feet shorter. 26 inches instead of 42 recommended by some site. I actually think 24 would be fine, there's no tippy-ness to it, quite stable, when it catches the bolas.

        And I got some 1/4-20 star knobs from Amazon for the legs. I handled the wing nuts and figured they'd be dropped and lost in the grass first time they put it together.

        I think it looks better and it is easier to handle.

        Click image for larger version  Name:	PB160477.JPG Views:	0 Size:	200.5 KB ID:	846134
        Last edited by LCHIEN; 11-17-2021, 10:35 PM.
        Loring in Katy, TX USA
        If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
        BT3 FAQ -