Introduction: Tower Tug of War

About: Hi! My name is Hans, I live in Scandinavia where I build whatever pops up in my head, out on to my sketchbook and finally into my hands. My projects here are my favorites and I hope some might inspire you. Rem…

I first tried this at a party in Norway and fell in love with the game. It's super simple but has some surprising details. Tug of war is most often played with several participants and muscle power is the winner. This version, however, is done by two opponents and requires balance and tactics over muscles. Revenge of the nerds!

You divide the rope with equal lengths for the players, then you go!

You win if your opponent:

  • falls off the stump
  • lets go of the rope
  • has no rope left

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –


  • Wood
  • Rope
  • Wooden dowels
  • Glue
  • Paint


  • Table saw (for accurate cuts, jigsaw with patience:-)
  • Wood lathe (optional, makes for round finish)
  • A bandsaw (or regular saw with a steady hand)

Step 1: You Could Just…

use a tree stump, but what's the fun in that?

Of course, I wanted to design and build a pair myself… with some added features!

Step 2: Cut Up, Glue Up!

For this project, I could use leftover scraps. Cut them to same length and give each a 30° angle on each side. I placed all the pieces and used tape to align them and added glue to the sides. Then I could roll it up and add some wooden dowels for more strength. The piece of wood in the middle was cut from plywood, I just put the wooden cylinder over the plate of wood and marked the right fit, then some quick cuts on the band saw. I let it dry overnight before I prepared for the next step.

Step 3: Refining the Stumps

To add some details and a tower aesthetic I gave the piece a go on the lathe. I rounded it off in the middle. Next, I split it in half on the band saw and sanded it for a smooth surface. Now I had two exact same stumps that were hollow, each 30 cm tall.

Step 4: Rope As Handle

One reason for doing this project was so I could easily carry this game with me, all parts in one compact package. This I could do by adding a wooden piece in one end, with a hole for the rope to attach as a handle.

Step 5: Ready… Set… Paint

Some distinctive colors and a base of coffee paint gave the stumps a vibrant feel.

I love bringing this game to gatherings, people find it fun and challenging. The strongest does not win this game, the cleverest do. So who's left on top of the tower is often a surprise:-)

PS if you want to test this game, find something to stand on and a rope, next you can go all fancy with the making. I'd love to see other takes on this design.

You can follow this and a whole bunch of other projects over at

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