Intro: Build Chinese Checkers From Scratch
Chinese Checkers is an interesting strategy game which uses a six pointed star as the game board. This game can have up to six players, each having ten pegs. The object of the game is to be the first player to move all ten pegs across the board to fill the opposite star point of the board, and to be successful, one must plan his moves very carefully in order to block other players while at the same time not being blocked in himself. So, with a basic understanding of the game, this instructable will demonstrate how to make a simple, portable chinese checkers game from scratch and from common shop supplies.
Step 1: Gather Your Supplies
The game board itself will consist of a small square (though mine is not truly square) of wood. Therefore, you will need to find the material you want to use and clean it up. I used a piece of scrap rough-cut lumber which happened to come in a load of firewood from the previous year, so it was dry enough for woodworking. Other supplies and tools you will need/use are as follows
60 finish nails
A container for storing nails/pegs
Drill press or similar tool
Drill bit just larger than your nail diameter
Template for peg holes (provided above)
Step 2: Make the Board
If you are using rough-cut lumber like I am or just have an old beat-up scrap of wood, you will need to sand it up and cut it to size. I typically use a belt sander with 60-80 grit paper for the rough clean-up and then an orbital sander with 100 grid paper for finer work. Once the wood is clean and cut to size, print out the template from the previous step (scaled appropriately, of course) and temporarily attach it to the wood, trying to center it as much as possible. Then, with a small hammer and one of the nails you will be using (or a center punch) tap small divots in the wood at the center of each point in the image. Once complete, you can take the paper off and drill out each hole to a uniform depth on a drill press.
Step 3: Make the Pegs
The first thing you will want to do on each of the nails is grind off the tip to make all more or less uniform in length. This also helps to ensure the holes in your board do not get deeper over time from use and that no players end up poking themselves with a nail tip. Once all 60 nails are similarly sized, you will want to put color on one end to identify which peg belongs to whom. I found the easiest way to do this is find some tape and cut 12 pieces off, making six pairs of two. For each pair, sandwich 10 pegs (one player's set) between the tape and use spray paint to color the ends of the pegs. When you remove the tape, it should leave you with a straight line between painted and unpainted metal. The now colored pegs should be easy to identify when playing.
Step 4: Finishing
The last thing to do is add some color to your game board with stain. I used English Chestnut stain for my board to give it a darker look. After letting it set for a couple hours, you should be ready to play a game of Chinese Checkers on your own home-made board.