Introduction: Oktoberfest Nail Game | Nagelbalken | Der Nagelspiel

About: If there's one thing I've learned about being an adult, it is this: there's always another project. Over the years, I've tackled a ton of projects and built some cool stuff, and now I'd like to help people wh…

Oktoberfest is here! Your friends are sure to love this classic bar game, known as the Nail Game, the Nagelbalken, and der Nagelspiel, among other trademarked names. This is easily made with four 8-ft 2x4 and some decking screws.

If you want to build one for youself, I have a set of plans available.

Also, if you enjoy this Instructable, subscribe to my YouTube channel for more!



Step 1: Cut Portion of Log

Probably the hardest part of building this is getting a piece of a log to use. Thankfully, I had the trunk of a maple tree that was cut down in my yard last year that was perfect for this purpose.

Keep your eyes out in your neighborhood for trees being cut down. Likely the guys doing the work will be happy to give you a piece to use.

Step 2: Cut and Assemble Top Skirt

Start by squaring off one end of a 2x4. These are often not cut perfectly square, so this is a good practice to get into when working with dimensional lumber. Then measure and cut out the four pieces for the top skirt. Use the speed square as a guide for your circular saw to ensure your cut is straight.

Assembling the top is easily done with two decking screws in each corner. After assembling, check the top for square. Measuring both diagonals, they should be the same, so make adjustments if not.

Step 3: Cut and Assemble Legs

There are two pieces per leg assembly, with a total of eight leg pieces that need to be cut out.

Once they're cut, fasten two pieces together in an L-shape using three or four decking screws.

Step 4: Fasten Legs to Top Skirt

For fastening the legs to the top skirt, use four screws total, two per each side. First fasten one screw to hold the leg in place, then use a framing square to ensure that the leg is square to the top skirt. Continue with the remaining screws on the leg, keeping it square to the top skirt.

Then, fasten the remaining three legs to the top skirt, making something that looks like a table.

Step 5: Cut Top Frame Pieces

The top of the assembly will have a frame with mitered corners, looking much like a picture frame. Again, use your speed square to cut a straight miter on one end, then measure the total length for the frame piece. Cut the other miter to finish the piece.

Next, use the first piece you cut to trace the remaining three pieces, and cut them out too.

Step 6: Assemble Frame and Attach to To Top Skirt

Array the frame pieces on top of the "table." Use one or two screws in each corner to fasten the frame pieces together into one assembly. Then, use one or two screws per side to fasten the frame to the top of the table.

Step 7: Cut and Install Middle Piece, Fasten Log

To help support the center of the log, measure a piece to the exact width of the opening and cut it out. Then, angle some screws at each end to toe-screw this piece into the frame.

The top frame and this center piece give plenty of spots to fasten the log to the table. You will be hitting this thing with a hammer, after all, so you want a few screws to hold it in place.

At the point, the game is ready to play!

Step 8: Gameplay!

If you've never played the Nail Game before, here are the general rules:

  1. Each player taps their nail into the log just enough that it won't move around.
  2. Players take one swing at the nail, then pass the hammer to the next player
  3. Gameplay continues until there is one last person without their nail driven flush, who is the loser, and who normally buys the next round

If you bend your nail over, you can either try to keep hammering it in at an angle, or use the hammer to bend it back in place. Note that you only get one swing per turn still.

Endless variants of this game exist. For example, lots of people use a cross-peen hammer to make the game more challenging.

I hope you enjoy your nail game! Prost, and enjoy Oktoberfest!

If you enjoyed this Instructable, subscribe to my YouTube channel for more!