Manly Skills, Projects

How to Make a Cribbage Board

Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Ethan Hagan from One Project Closer.

I love a good card game, and some of my favorites include Spades, Hearts, Hand and Foot, and Euchre. Poker, however, never quite goes my way. Believe it or not, I’ve never played cribbage before. However, when Brett challenged me to make a cribbage board, I thought it would be a lot of fun.

I started reading up on Cribbage rules and found a lot of custom-made boards on the web. I decided on a “classic style” board that follows a design I found on other woodworking sites, and it’s perfect for a moderately skilled woodworker like myself. The board has enough holes to play a 61 point game, as opposed to a 121 point game.

Tools and Materials

To make my crib board I used some scrap 3/4″ pine, 1/4″ plywood, and I purchased some oak from the local DIY center. I printed out a hole template, which I modified to meet my needs. The pegs are made from double-headed nails, which you’ll typically see used to make concrete forms. The two magnets and wood stain are leftovers from other projects.

Pine is a soft wood so it wouldn’t have been too difficult to cut by hand, and by omitting a few steps, the only necessary power tool is a drill press. I have the tools (so I took advantage of them), and here’s what I used.

  • Table saw
  • Dado stack
  • Coping saw
  • Palm router
  • Table router
  • Drill press
  • Sandpaper
  • Angle grinder
  • Bench grinder

Make a Custom Cribbage Board

I started by running my pine through a table saw to create two pieces. The top measured 4 x 12″ and the base measured 5-1/8 x 13-1/4″. I also ripped the 1/4″ ply to match the base.

I wanted to cut a semi-circle on one side of the top, and I started by creating a template. The template is useful because I can tweak it as necessary until I’m completely satisfied, then use it to easily cut a perfect match on my workpiece.

This router bit has a bearing on the end for following templates.

After making a rough cut, I used a palm router and my template to cut a beautiful semi-circle.

For the base, I used another router bit to cut an eased-edge.

Next, I mapped out the locations for the playing card holder, peg holder, magnet, and swivel pin.

I drilled a starting hole and cut out the playing card and peg holders with my coping saw.

For the magnets, I used my palm router again, setting the depth to match their height. Carefully, I routed the magnet holes on the base and underside of the top.

The top and base swivel on a pin to reveal the playing cards and cribbage pegs. Instead of a pin, I cut a machine screw to length and then ground the head as thin as possible. I drilled a hole through the base and part-way through the top.

A nice feature you’ll see on a lot of cribbage boards is a “racing stripe” down the middle. I set up a dado stack on my table saw to cut a channel for the oak inlay.

I made a rough cut for the curve and sanded both ends until the oak was completely flush with the pine top.

As I mentioned, I used double-headed nails to make the cribbage pegs (spilikins). I cut the nails to length with my angle grinder, and then dressed up the cut edge with a bench-top grinder.

I borrowed a drill press and used a 11/64″ bit to drill all the holes. After taping my template in place, aligning the fence, and setting the depth, things moved pretty quickly. Next, I glued the oak to the top and the 1/4″ plywood to the underside of the base.

I gave everything a final pass with sandpaper to remove any pencil marks or glue. Next, I applied a walnut stain to the entire cribbage board, letting the two different species of wood create some visual interest. To distinguish the pegs, I painted one pair a dark red.

What do you think?

Below are the plans for board, in PDF form. Thanks to Robert Heffern for providing them.

Cribbage Board – Bottom Piece
Cribbage Board – Top Piece
Cribbage Board – With Colors

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Ethan Hagan owns and operates a home improvement website called One Project Closer. On One Project Closer you’ll learn how to tackle projects with expert knowledge from professional contractors. OPC also provides coupons to home improvement centers like this Home Depot Coupon page. Check out OPC for full details, and follow them on Facebook.

 


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