Sunday, September 9, 2018

My Cribbage Board - Part III - Complete with Glamour Shots

Some people have commented privately to me that they don't know how to play cribbage. I think it is a fantastic game. A good way to learn it nowadays is to download an app. Many of the cribbage apps out there include a tutorial. After reading the rules, I suggest just jumping in and playing. One great thing about the game is there is a good bit of strategy and different ways to play that make it fun.

I learned cribbage and pinnochle (another card game) as a kid, and spent many hours playing with my parents, relatives and friends when I grew up. Card games like these have a social aspect to them that you can't really get with an app or a computer game. However, my guess is that these kinds of games are going the way of the dodo.

Let's get back to the build:

You'll remember that I left off at having marked out the points at where the holes are drilled. It is then just a matter of putting the brad from the drill bit in each of those holes and drilling them to depth.
Drilling lots of holes. The blue tape tells me how deep to drill the holes.
I forgot to mention so far that there are many different patterns you can use to make a cribbage board, such as traditional, racetrack, 29, etc., but the cribbage board is just a score keeping tool that keeps track of the points of each player where the winner is the first to score 121 points. Look around on the internet, and you'll see. This particular board is a traditional design, that has 30 holes up one side, and 30 down the other. Two laps on this board and you are done.

I bought pegs for this board from Lee Valley. It might be fun to someday make my own. The Lee Valley ones are really good, and come in metal or wood. They require a 1/8" hole. I don't have a 1/8" drill bit, so I used a 3mm drill bit instead, and it seems to work fine.

After all the holes were drilled out, I went to work on hollowing out the cavity on the underside of the board in which to store nine pegs. Nine pegs because each of the three players need two for playing the game, and this board has some holes in which to keep track of how many games each player has one, so another for each player for that.
Starting a cavity to store the pegs.
I carved out the cavity much the same way as I did as making the recess discussed in the last post, with the exception of skipping using the router plane because it just wasn't small enough. I used a bench chisel instead.
Cavity for storage of the pegs complete.
Now the pegs can be safely stored and the leather clasp snapped and the board can be stored anywhere.
Planing out the layout marks.
Next is planing everything smooth. I suppose you don't have to, but I think most people expect not to see them. This board is plenty thick enough that I could plane a lot of wood away, and it still will look good and work well.

After that, it is time to finish. I wanted some way of marking the board with colors that show which pegs go where on the board. This is totally aesthetic, as once your pegs are in your lane, everyone will know that that's your lane. I just wanted to see how this would work.

First I put a deep groove in the center of each track with my marking gauge, and then I deepened it and widened it with my shop knife. I taped off the whole board, except for the part as close to one of the marks as I could, and sprayed with black spray paint.

Each track I did this way, except for the gold and silver tracks, I used fingernail polish.
Here's the fingernail polish and spray paint.
The idea was to plane the board clean once everything was cured, so all that was left was a narrow strip down the middle of each track to show the color of the peg that should be used there.

The fingernail polish was a little tricky to work with, and tended not to plane so well. The spray paint I had tried once before this way, and it worked great. I had to do this three times before I was satisfied with the result, but it finally worked OK. We'll have to see how it holds up to years of abuse.
Paint and fingernail polish applied, ready to be planed down.
Finally, I coated the board with my home-made linseed oil and called it done. Here's some glamour shots:
Finished cribbage board, ready for a game.

Folded up and ready for storage.

Detail of the added color.

Stored pegs.

My version of artistic photography.

Three handed crib, anyone?

Another art photo.
Overall, I am happy with how it turned out. The wood is beautiful, and we'll see over time if I like the fingernail polish or not.

What do you think?

Check out the first two posts for this build: Part I and Part II.


  1. Hi Brian.

    It looks absolutely stunning.
    Using nail polish as a paint is a great idea. It should be easily obtainable almost everywhere.


    1. Thanks, Jonas, you're far too kind. It turns out not all fingernail polish is created equal. The stuff I got from my wife was much better than the cheap stuff I got from the Chinese junk store. I recommend asking your daughter before using any on one of your projects.

    2. I am astonished to learn that Chinese junk stores don't carry quality nail polish!!

  2. Great build there, Brian!

    You were just about all prepped for a string inlay in those channels! I think you'd be much happier with something along those lines instead of nail polish and spray paint, yeah? Bog oak or ebony for the black, some holly for white, and something something for the third color.

    Just an idea.

    But it all looks brilliant, though! Great posts!

    1. Hey, Ethan!

      Yes, you are right. Inlay might have been a better idea. It would look good with some wire inlay for the metallic ones, and something black for the black one. I got the idea for paint from when I did a cribbage board with red and blue. There's not too much red and blue wood out there. Besides, all wood turns brown eventually.

      Anyway, it was an experiment to get a really subtle line of color. It will be no problem to re-do it if I don't like it, but it was a worthy experiment.

  3. Looks great. It's especially impressive how evenly and orderly you hand drilled all of those holes. Apparently with no bamboo skewers.

    1. Haha! Thanks, Jeff! The trick is in careful layout, and pre-marking each space with an awl. I've never done one of these perfect, but they seem to get better every time.