This Instructable will show you how to build your own Crokinole game board. Crokinole is a dexterity game which originated in Canada in the 1870's and has gained a large enough following that there has been a World Crokinole Championship in Tavistock, Ontario Canada every year since 1999.
The rules are fairly simple. You score points by flicking your discs toward the center hole on the board while simultaneously attempting to knock your opponents discs off the board. If your disc lands in the hole it's worth 20 points which you can't lose (that disc is removed from the board.) The inner ring is worth 15, middle 10, and outer ring 5. A disc touching a ring rounds downward. Zero value discs are removed from the board. A very important rule is that you MUST hit an opposing disc if there is one on the board. This leads to interesting game play involving bounce shots and attempts to clear multiple opposing discs.
To get a quick feel for the game watch this video of an expert demonstrating his skills. (Normally he would be alternating turns with an opponent who would be shootings discs back his way.)
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Step 1: Materials
The materials for this project are pretty common and should be readily available.
- one 26" x 26" sheet of 1/2 inch finished grade plywood, for deck
- one 32" x 32" sheet of 1/2 inch plywood, can be a lesser grade for the bottom
- 106" of 3/4" x 1" wood for the rails
- 3/16" dowel rod, about 8" long (cut into 8 - 3/4 " pieces) for the pegs
- 1/4" vinyl tubing, about 4" long (cut into 8 - 1/2" pieces) for the pegs
- wood glue
- carnuba wax
Step 2: Cut the Base
A good size for the base is 32 inches across. After attaching the deck this leaves about 2 1/4" for the ditch and 3/4" for the rails. Crokinole boards are made in both round and octagonal shapes. I think it's a little easier to construct an octagonal board because making a round rail gets more complicated. On a 32" octagonal board the 8 sides will be 13 1/4" long so the cut points for the diagonal cuts will be 9 3/8" from the corners. (I painted the bottom of my board because it was ugly scrap plywood.) If you want to paint the top too make sure you stay 3/4" away from the edges because you want a good bond of bare wood to wood.
Step 3: Make the Rails
The rails should be cut to fit along the outside edge of the octagonal base. These rails keep the discs from sliding off onto the floor or table so they need to be a little higher than the deck. You will also want to rest your palm on the rail as you shoot so you don't want it too high. A half inch is a pretty good height above the deck. My deck was only 1/4" thick so I made my rails out of 3/4" square stock. If you are using a 1/2" thick deck then 1" tall rails would probably work well. The lengths were 13 1/4" on the long side and the angles are all 22.5 degrees. Once you have cut and dry fit all the rails glue them up with wood glue and clamp them while they dry. After the glue dries you will probably want to sand the rails so that they have rounded corners since you won't want to be resting your palm on sharp edges.
Step 4: Making the Deck
The deck should be top quality finish grade plywood and our goal is to have a super smooth 26" playing surface for the discs to slide upon. Make a simple beam compass using scrap plywood. The distance between the pivot point and the pencil hole should be 13 inches. Locate the center of your plywood square, nail the finish nail through the center and then draw a 26 inch circle on the deck. Next you need to cut the circle. There are several ways to do this and your method may be determined by your available tools. A router with a circle cutting jig would work well. Since I had a Craftsman radial arm saw available I rough cut the circle with a sabre saw and then set up a raised and extended deck on the radial arm saw. You can cut a perfect circle pretty easily this way. Just drive a small finish nail through the center again and into the radial arm saw deck. The nail should be exactly 13 inches from the saw blade. Now just keep pulling the saw blade and pivoting the deck until the circle is complete. You should eventually be able to just rotate the deck through the blade once you have removed enough waste material.
Step 5: Draw the Lines on the Deck
To draw the lines on the deck you will need to make another beam compass. Make this compass out of thin scrap plywood. There should be a pivot point for a finish nail and then 3 holes that are drilled large enough to hold a permanent marker. The holes should be spaced exactly 4 inches apart. Nail the finish nail through the center of the deck then carefully insert a fine point permanent marker into each hole and draw the scoring rings. You will also need to use a straight edge to draw four quadrant lines between the outer and middle rings.
You may wish to apply a first coat of polyurethane before drawing the lines in order to prevent the ink from bleeding into the plywood and making rough lines. After drawing all the lines, apply several coats of polyurethane. Allow each coat to dry completely and then sand each coat with ultra fine sand paper using a sanding block to smooth and level each layer.
Step 6: Peg Holes and the Center Hole
In order to locate the pegs precisely you will want to make a template as shown in the first photo. Start with an 8 inch square and draw lines through the diagonals and the halves of the square, then use a regular compass to draw the 8 inch circle and cut it out with scissors. Tape this template over the middle of the board and then mark and drill the peg holes. I made my bumpers using 3/4" pieces of 3/16" wooden dowel rod and I covered each dowel with 1/2" length of 1/4" vinyl tubing. Glue the pegs in place using just a touch of wood glue.
To drill the center hole you will need a 1 3/8" drill bit, ideally a Forstner bit. A Forstner bit will cut a very clean hole through plywood. The hole should only be drilled 1/4" deep so that you can easily get the discs out when score 20s. (As I was using 1/4" plywood I just drilled all the way through the deck.)
After drilling the holes you may now glue the deck to the base using wood glue.
Step 7: Wax and Play!
The last step before playing is to wax the board up to make it nice and slick. One highly recommend product is carnauba wax. I was able to find it at my local retail car parts store. It works great and really speeds the game up! I rewax after several games to keep the discs flying fast.
Obviously you will also need two sets of 12 crokinole discs to use your new board and I would recommend buying these mail order. You want them to be milled precisely the same which would be difficult to do in a home shop. I ordered mine from Workshop Supply Inc. of Canada but recently they have become available from Amazon as well.
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