Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Another Cribbage Board

Pear and maple, that I made yesterday, next to walnut and pine from today.
This time a three-handed version.  If you think you could use practice drilling a couple hundred holes, this is a good project.

Drill, baby, drill.
This is a bit of an update to my post from yesterday about finishing with wax.  Today I tried something new, pure beeswax.

Following the instructions Don Williams sent along with the polissoir, I rubbed a block of beeswax directly on the wood.  Then I went to town with the polissoir.  Walnut has some open grain, and he says this beeswax can actually fill the grain.  I think I need a bit more practice with the grain filling, but overall the effect was very good, as you can see from the photos.

I'll have to do some more side by side comparisons, but I might switch to this method for open grain woods, and stick with the Dick wax for closed grain.  The beeswax takes a little more elbow grease to apply.

Today I met someone who commented on my cribbage board, in that he had no idea what in the heck it was.  It looks like a stick with a bunch of holes in it.  I guess I didn't properly describe what a cribbage board is.

Cribbage is a card game and the board is used to keep score.

I always wondered why on a traditional cribbage board you make two laps to get to 121 points, rather than there just being a bigger board with one lap.  After having drilled a zillion holes by hand, now I know.

Here is a quick AAR for these boards:
  • making a cribbage board is a great way to use up some awkward scraps that you think are too big and nice to throw out.
  • a project like this is perfect for practicing basic skills, like squaring stock by hand.  In reality it doesn't need to be perfect, but if it is you will be happier.
  • Drilling 186 1/8" holes by hand takes a lot longer than you want it to.  I would love to find a hand tool that can drill sixty holes at once.  I wonder if the suicide rate among professional cribbage board makers is as high as for dentists.  It should be.
  • This is a brilliant way to practice and test finishes.  I have some more projects coming up with these woods, including a walnut dining table, and am seriously considering beeswax as a finish.
  • Having done lots of practice previously making chamfers by hand, this project is way easier than I think it would be with machines.
  • Hindsight is a great thing.  It dawned on me with the pear board, that the maple plug for the space to store the pins could split the entire board if someone inserted it following with a hard rap to seat it.  For the walnut board I used a pine plug, hoping that being softer it will seat more firmly with less pressure.  Cork probably would be a smarter idea.


  1. Yes Brian, but how go you keep the holes from filling up with wax? Steve

    1. Hi Steve, thanks for the comment.

      The short answer is: you don't.

      If you look at the photos of the pear board that I posted yesterday, you'll see there is wax in some of the holes. I figured I wouldn't worry about it when I was putting it on. If worse came to worst, once the pins went in there the wax would get spread inside the holes.

      Ultimately, I didn't like that, so I went at all the little holes with a Q-tip.

  2. Hey! Those look real clever! We've sure had lots f fun playing cribbage, haven't we? Next time you come home, we'll do it again. And pinnochle, too!

  3. It looks like you did a wonderful job on the holes!