# Giant "wooden block stacking game" tower

A few months ago I wanted to make an original present for my dad's birthday. I started looking on the internet but nothing seemed to be the kind of thing that I was looking for....  Then the idea struck me. Why not make my own "wooden block stacking " game? Just a little bigger and  suitable for playing outdoors. I had seen it at a friends garden party but when I looked it up afterwards it was quite expensive. So why not make it myself?!

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## Step 1: How to make a "wooden block stacking game"

On Wikipedia it says:

"...... is played with 54 wooden blocks. Each block is three times as long as it is wide, and one fifth as thick as it is long (1.5 x 2.5 x 7.5 cm). To set up the game, the included loading tray is used to stack the initial tower which has 18 levels of three blocks placed adjacent to each other along their long side and perpendicular to the previous level (so, for example, if the blocks in the first level lie lengthwise north-south, the second level blocks will lie east-west)"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jenga

Materials
* Wooden beams, I used 4 beams of 4m
(13 feet and 1.48 inches)
*Measuring tools
*hand / table saw
*Pencil
*Sanding paper

(8.27 inches)    (2.64 inches)      (1.65 inches)
My blocks are 21cm long, 6.7cm wide and 4.2cm high. I know the 1 to 3 ratio is not applied but I just took some wooden beams that were available at the store and then kind of tried to fit all the pieces in the length of the beams.

When you have all the materials you can start measuring and marking where you are going to saw.
After you have done that you can start to saw!! As finishing touch you can sand down the edges for a smooth look.
Cost : Wooden beams  +/- 25eur , Box 10eur
(36 dollars)        (14 dollars)
Some math:
Y= Length
X= Width
h= Height
Z= number of blocks

X= Y/3
h=Y/5
Total height = Z/3 * h
BeBold says: Apr 4, 2013. 7:07 PM
Have made several sets in the past few months. I use 2x4's from Lowe's and they'll cut them for you into 10.5" pieces. Can use the cheap white pine but better off using the Whitewood stud (non-pressure treated)...in my opinion it's MUCH easier than the white pine...so much less sanding, etc...definitely worth the extra \$1 per board.

Once I have the pieces I use a Finishing Sander (palm sized) with some 80 grade sanding sheets. 85-90% of the sanding will be done by the Finishing Sander. For the rest of the sanding I buy a couple small sanding blocks...a few medium grade and a few extra fine grade for the very end. Once I have each piece done with the Finishing Sander I run my hands over every one quickly looking for any small spots I might have missed and hit them with one of the medium blocks. After that I will take the extra fine block and go thoroughly over each piece to make sure they're as smooth as possible...at this stage I manhandle them alot to make sure I haven't missed any spots.

*IMPORTANT point on sanding that I didn't do with the first set...initially I was very concerned about the ends of the pieces being smooth so they were easy to grab, looked good and didn't give anybody splinters but the reality of the game is that the ends are basically the LEAST important part of the pieces. It's all about making sure the top/bottom and sides are as smooth as possible because that's the surface area that will rubbing against the blocks above, below and to the sides! ALSO I've found it's good to have a small wood chisel around too in case there's a run in the wood that you can sand out (remember that the set is going to drop pretty hard when it's falls during the game so those little points sticking up will peel up eventually)...I just pop that run out with the chisel and sand the whole area down extra well.

Once I'm done with the sanding I use a small shop vac to vacuum each piece (find this easier than sponging them off plus they stay dry and you can start spraying them right away). I use Cort Wood Finishing Spray from Lowe's...it's the cheapest they have and works fine...just follow directions on the cans...2-3 coats...key is to let them dry after each stage...not worth rushing it.
lhill15 says: Jan 16, 2013. 2:58 PM
Was looking at this as a possible project to do with the Webelow's den I help with. Might have to do it on a smaller scale for them though.
kschneider339 says: Jan 14, 2013. 3:04 PM
Ya'll are very handy. These sets are beautiful. Just seems like it can be very time consuming. Although, I like to think I am pretty handy, I am really not. Also, I dont have too many tools lying around the house to make one. I found one online that was great. They called it a Tumbling Tower. I just googled it and found it. Shipping was pretty fast too. It is the life of every party at my apartment. Great idea and thanks for sharing!
Greasetattoo says: Jun 25, 2011. 11:15 AM
Here is mine!!!

Used a 2" x 4".
Just make sure and find straight ones.
Make sure they are dry...
I routed the edges too!

10 1/2" long
54 boards.

I made a stencil and painted the logo on.
Very fun to play...GREAT party game!

Enjoy....

Lunchbox515 in reply to GreasetattooJun 20, 2012. 3:21 PM
Ok, I have a couple of questions:

1- Did you mean to say 57 boards (not 54)? The picture shows 19 levels, with 3 boards in each 19x3= 57, I'm not trying to be mean, this is a sincere question.

2- If the boards you were using were 2''x4''; wouldn't that mean that if you lined them up side-to-side, it would amount to 12"? Where did the 10.5'' come from?
Greasetattoo in reply to Lunchbox515Jun 21, 2012. 5:48 AM
Hey Lunchbox515,
Sorry for the confusion.
The original Jenga has 54 boards.
I made 3 extra for a total of 57.

A 2 x 4 is actually 1.5" x 3.5".

3.5
x 3 = 10.5.

Hope this clears things up!

Mtoashirbab (author) in reply to GreasetattooJun 29, 2011. 7:27 AM
Very nice!!
cloudifornia in reply to GreasetattooJun 27, 2011. 2:49 PM
Most excellent!
mmmatt says: Jul 10, 2011. 8:36 AM
Hey, thanks for posting this up. Looking this all over this seems very simple, and it is. All you really need to know if in usa and using regular 2x4 wall studs. cut 54 of those suckers at 10.5 inches and you are good to go! THAT being said, I spent less than an hour cutting and a good 12-15 hours finishing. They came out beautiful and are smooth like glass for easy play and good protection. Here is what I learned along the way:

1. Wood selection: Straight isn't that big of a deal... a little bend in an 8' board isn't noticeable when you cut it into 10" chunks. Look for wood that has square edges and minimal or only small knots. Sometimes you get a little colored sap wood and that looks good after finishing. With "spf" 2x4's these blocks are heavy enough, so I would not recommend a hardwood for safety and convenience reasons. If you could find an "s4s"(sanded 4 sides) pine 2x4 that would help with finishing work but it is not likely you will. Select 2x4's are likely only straighter with less knots and select doesn't imply a finish sanded product. I like that my peices had a little character and I had to chuck a couple where the knots were to extreem. You can do it with 7 @ 8' 2x4's but you should get 8 so that you can pick the best pieces.

2. Cutting: Make a jig for your saw. Something that you can but the uncut wood up to so that you cut exactly the same size piece each time. For me this was simply a block of wood screwed to a 1x2 and clamped to my mitre saw. Different jigs for different saws, but I'm sure you get the point.

3. Sanding: I started using 80 grit on a palm sander to knock down all the larger imperfections. There are lots of them too! It took a very long time and I rounded over all the edges. A router would be overkill if you are sanding anyways since it is so easy to cut through pine with sandpaper.. A bench mounted belt sander would have cut a good couple hours off this step but there is still some handwork regardless..

After the 80 on the palm sander I went to 220 grit on a rubber sanding block. Don't forget the end grain! Even if you can't nock it down to perfectly smooth it is still important to open the fibers so the finish penetrates. This went much faster and brought each piece up to glass like smoothness. All and all I spend a good 10-12 hours sanding... I kid you not, and I was busing my hump!

3. Finishing: I used a past finishing wax. I used the Minwax brand that you can get at any hardware or home improvement store. It is a wax in mineral spirits so that it can penetrate the wood fibers a bit. T apply, it is just like waxing your car. Wipe down each piece to get all the dust off, apply a thin layer, let it dry for 30 minutes or so, and then buff it to a shine. They look beautiful with a nice satiny finish, and they have perfect tension during play. They should last a long time too because the wax wont chip or flake off as they get nicked up during use and they are waterproofed short of an extended float in the pool. The wax is also a time release of sorts for letting wood acclimate itself to changes in humidity and will be less likely to warp over time. Yeah, I like wax!
XOIIO in reply to mmmattFeb 25, 2012. 12:35 AM
I would think 2x2s would work better, for something scaled down a bit from this. I want to make one with 6x6's XD
mmmatt in reply to XOIIOFeb 25, 2012. 9:14 AM
2x2's and 6x6's are not the proper dimensions but to make the game work you could use whatever as long as the length = 3x width of the pieces so they stack properly. The ratio of dimensions of the original game is not the same as a 2x4 either, but I don't think square stock is a good choice.. Closest to the original is probably a 2x3 if you can find them.

As for 6x6 that is not smart. During play, these come crashing down and even the 2x4's could easily take out an ankle. Also the height of the 2x4 game during play is quite tall. I think the record on my fiends game is about 32 levels and that is over your head when stacking the game only a foot or two off the ground.

As another side note, don't play this on a wooden picnic table or wooden bench because the tower coming down will dent the hell out of your furniture. We have been using a 12x12 concrete landscaping stone on top of a 5 gallon bucket and that works pretty well. Just level out the bucket Concrete floor works well too but it is best to not have to squat down for the lowest pieces.
cpowelson in reply to mmmattFeb 21, 2012. 12:53 PM
with the directions you posted about .. is the game as big as the ong in the orginal pictures of this post?
mmmatt in reply to cpowelsonFeb 21, 2012. 3:41 PM
yup. US dimensional lumber is only slightly different than the euro stuff. If you have seen a giant jenga I can almost promise that it was made from SPF 2x4 lumber.

As a side note, the wax finish works awesome. Also the weight of the falling blocks is enough to damage a wooden picnic table or a persons foot so use with care.
Mtoashirbab (author) in reply to mmmattFeb 21, 2012. 4:45 PM
Jep it is as big as shown on the picture! And like mmmatt says: be careful where you play it and with who you play it :)
cpowelson says: Feb 21, 2012. 12:51 PM
So to bulid the one that is in the pictures of the steps... just get 2x4's, make 72 blocks or 54?
MPYOUNG33 says: Feb 7, 2012. 11:33 AM
I found it less expensive to buy this game already made. To make it I would have had to buy lumber, a saw, and sander which would've been \$100-\$150. The least expensive place I could find to buy this game was Ebay and Etsy. If you search Giant Huge Jenga it will show up. I think it was \$50-\$55. We love playing this game at tailgate parties and we add drinking rules to each block to make the game more exciting for adults.
gblocks says: Sep 1, 2011. 6:04 PM
You can also buy sets at GonzoBlocks.com I am in the Sf Bay area so if you want to pick them up you can save on shipping. I have them in bars and now companies are buying them for "team building"
ttowers says: Jul 28, 2011. 11:29 AM
Yeah great idea... making your own original gift is always a great idea :) If you want for a great price though and rather not spend the time or have the tools. www.TumblingTowers.com is great. They have free ground shipping on all sets and they start at 76 or 96 for the giant one. Awesome gift and plenty of party use :)
bajablue says: Jul 13, 2011. 5:06 PM
This was a GREAT project! Congrats!!!
mmmatt says: Jul 10, 2011. 11:08 AM
Also wanted to note that a rubbermaid or steralite container in the 75-80 litre size is perfect for storing these. I ended up buying a 57 litre container first and it was too small by about 10 pieces. Also the taller more square-ish containers are better than the real wide ones for moving it around. Even with just pine the set is easily 50+ lbs
dolabil66 says: Jul 3, 2011. 6:44 AM
Nice Job......that would be great for a party
5STARGBLOOD says: Jun 28, 2011. 1:12 PM
im gunna use a 4x4 it might make it easier
lberger1 says: Jun 23, 2011. 1:27 PM
This is great, but you have to remember that lumber is not always perfectly straight or flat. It looks like your standard 2 x 4 in this instructable which are really 1 3/4" x 3 3/4" finished. To make a really well made game you would want to run the lumber through a wood planer. This would obviously shave the face of the lumber and change the dimensions again, so the overall dimensions would shift. It would be really cool if someone expanded on this by using a planer and both metric and standard measurements.
Rob O in reply to lberger1Jun 24, 2011. 12:50 PM
that is a good point. the quality of lumber would make a difference. if you used the cheapest 2x4s from a box store this could be a big pain in the neck.
if you got high quality dimensional lumber from an actual lumber store or woodworking store or specialty store you might wind up with a better result.
bonnie13 says: Jun 24, 2011. 7:27 AM
Clever idea for a lawn game. Excellent and detailed instructions. The design is taken from a commercial game. Workmanship is well done, but lacks creativity, intricacy and level of work of some of the other entries.
Tommy Jae says: Jun 23, 2011. 1:38 PM
My friend made one of these.
His sister wanted it for her party so he and his dad went out and got the wood (which she paid for) the they did all the work.
Their's was a bit better though 'cause they rounded out the edges so that it slid better.
While the regular Jenga doesn't have rounded edges, it definitely helped with the larger version.
His was about five and a half feet tall.
But all in all,.this instructable is pretty great. I didn't think other people would think to make one of those. Haha.
lucek says: Jun 23, 2011. 1:14 PM
Rob O says: Jun 23, 2011. 10:04 AM
Brilliant!! I'm going to go home tonight and make my own. I have some sticks of 2x3 that I might play around with too. Either way, what a cool ible. You got my vote in the contest. Thanks much for posting your idea!!
cloudifornia says: Jun 23, 2011. 9:39 AM
This is GREAT!
splazem says: Jun 23, 2011. 6:54 AM
Awesome!
gregr says: Jun 23, 2011. 6:22 AM
If you measure carefully you'll discover that Jenga blocks are two slighty different thicknesses.
Mtoashirbab (author) says: Jun 22, 2011. 9:44 AM
I entered this instructable for the 'Toy contest' so if you could vote for me... that would be great!! :D
depotdevoid in reply to MtoashirbabJun 22, 2011. 4:14 PM
Oh my god, that is awesome! 5 stars and a vote when the contest opens!
Mtoashirbab (author) in reply to depotdevoidJun 23, 2011. 2:50 AM
Woop Woop! Thanks!!
aggrav8d says: Jun 22, 2011. 8:39 PM
Now this requires a giant wooden jenga pistol.