Friday, January 23, 2015


My daughter is starting to get to that age where she is interested in playing more complex games than Chutes and Ladders or Old Maid and such. So we have been dragging out some of my collection of games and learning them, including Cribbage. I use to play cribbage all the time with my mom when I was home sick or on a cold winter day with no school. After I moved out of the house, I never found anyone to play cribbage so it slipped to the wayside. A decade ago when my mom was doing a stint in the hospital and it was my turn to keep her company, I stopped and bought a cribbage board at a store on the way. It was a cheap pine board with painted on tracks and plastic pegs that broke if you breathed on them wrong. I still have that board including the toothpicks we use to replace the broken plastic pegs.

After teaching my daughter how to play cribbage, it came to mind that I really need a new cribbage board. Since I am pretty handy around wood, I thought I would try making my own in a similar style seen above. Not to go easy on myself, I decided that I would try inlaying a contrasting wood for the pegging lanes and began to research various methods to do that. I found methods for free handing, scroll saw, router and a few other ways. Free handing seemed like it is better suited for small inlays. The router works well for larger and smaller inlays but requires a special bit, making a template and it doesn't do well with inside corners. The scroll saw method seemed like it would work the best for this particular application so I set to work.

The scroll saw method comprises of stacking contrasting woods on top of each other and then gluing on a pattern to cut around. I used scraps of kamagong and mahogany that I had laying around from other projects. You can see my first attempt below before I started cutting. I tilt the table to around 3 degrees so that when I cut around the line, the top piece will sit down in the recess from the slightly smaller piece and sit slightly proud so that you can sand it flat. What I failed to note is that it is important that you cut counter clockwise if my table is tilted down to the right. Attempt one ended in failure. Attempt two was successful but I wasn't pleased with the result. The long straight parts of my patterns just weren't straight and looked like a drunk woodworker had cut them out.

I'm embarrassed to show a picture of it below. It looks like a middle school shop project but in the interest of being informational, I have included it. I think if I were going to do this method again, I would go with the router but since I have never done inlay with any method, it would be something new for me again. Because I didn't want to burn through all my kamagong wood which long time readers will remember I brought back with me from the Philippines in my luggage, I decided to use some highly figured wood instead and skip the inlay process this time. Instead I am going to just build the box similar to what was up above and call it good. If I have some extra time at the end, I might at least practice some inlay using the router method and perhaps adorn the bottom side of the cribbage box, just in case it still doesn't go well. More on all that later. Right now, I am in the process of building the box.


sage said...

She will love this box! I never have the patience for this kind of wood working.

warren said...

I love it when the kids started getting into more complex for sure, but also more complex discussions and stuff like that. It's a little scary sometimes, but mostly awesome...anyhow, can't wait to see the process