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Cribbage is a fun and popular card game. With a little time, and some nice wood you can build a beautiful, functional cribbage board with built in storage for a deck of cards and pegs. It looks good enough to be put on display and will also give you hours of entertainment. I got the idea for this project from Canadian Home Workshop.

Step 1: Materials

Base: walnut 1" x 6" x 16"

Game board: maple 1" x 5" x 15"

Brass rod: 1/8"diameter x 1"

Magnets: rare earth type, 1/2" diameter

Cribbage board pegs

Glue or expoxy

Varnish oil

Step 2: Make the Base

I used walnut for the base, but any piece of nice, dark wood will suffice.

I used a jointer, planer and table saw to dress and dimension the lumber for the base, bringing it to a final size of 7/8" x 5 1/2" x 15 1/2".

I beveled the edge with a 45º chamfer bit in a table-mounted router around the entire top edge of the base.

Step 3: Cut the Recess for the Cards and Pegs

The next step is to make the recess for the deck of cards. There are several ways this can be accomplished. I used a CNC rounter with a 1/4" bit to make a recess 3/4" deep by 2 3/4" wide by 3 7/8" tall. This was the perfect size for my deck of cards, but check your own measurements against the deck of cards you want to use. I centered the recess on the base and the top of the recess was 1 1/4" below the edge.

You could also make the recess by using a plunge router guided by a router template and a bearing guide. Make a simple template out of plywood, then attach it to the base with double stick tape. Slowly guide the router inside the template to make the recess.

Finally I made the round recess for the pegs. I used a 2" Forstner bit and brought it down to a depth of 1/2". The center of the hole was centered and 2 3/4" from the base.

Step 4: Make the Top

To make the top game board, I preparing a piece of maple to 3/4" x 4 3/8" x 14 1/4". I liked the way the light maple contrasted with the dark walnut. To drill the holes, I pulled a standard cribbage board pattern from the internet, sized it to fit my piece and cut all the holes with a CNC router and a 1/8" drill bit.

Another way to accomplish this task is to use a paper template and a drill press. Simply buy this inexpensive template, spray glue it the maple and drill the holes on a drill press. When you are finished drilling the holes, you can remove the template and glue with turpentine.

I drilled all of the holes to a depth of 1/2", except for holes in the center of the board at the 102 mark and at the center of the score holes at the bottom of the board. I drilled these holes all the way through.

Once the holes were cut, I rounded the top. First I drew a curve on the top (I used a template I made on a laser cutter, but you could simply used a compass and pencil). Then I cut close to the line with a bandsaw and sanded to the line with a stationary disc sander. Finally, I sanded the whole top to 220 grit.

Step 5: Bring the Bottom and Top Together

I carefully centred the top on the bottom with double stick tape. I placed a 1/8" drill bit into the through holes one at a time, then gave it a gentle tap with a mallet. The marks I made on the base showed me where I needed to drill for the center pivot and rare-earth magnets.

I separated the two parts and brought the walnut based to the drill press. At the mark in the center, I drilled a 1/8" diameter x 3/4" deep hole to receive a 1"long x 1/8" diameter brass rod.

In the other location I marked, I drilled a 1/2" diameter x 1/8" deep hole using a Forstner bit. This was to accommodate a rare earth magnet. With the Forstner bit is in the drillpress, I made a matching hole in the bottom of the maple game board. This is to accommodate the other half of the rare earth magnet.

I glued the magnets into their respective holes, ensuring they sat flush with the wood surface and were oriented so they attract each other. Finally, I put a dab of glue into the 1/8" center hole in the base and inserted the brass rod, making sure there was 1/4" of rod left protruding from the base.

Finally, I applied two coats of Tried and True varnish oil. I put the top on the bottom and the board was done and ready for a game!

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