In this short project, I will demonstrate how to build a Tower of Hanoi puzzle game using wood I acquired from pallets. The game is simple to play, and it makes a good coffee table piece. For all unfamiliar with the game, here are brief instructions:
- The objective is to move all discs from the first peg to the last peg such that the discs are stacked as they are in the beginning - the largest disc on the bottom to smallest disc on top
- One disc must be moved at a time
- A larger disc must not be placed on a smaller disc
- Only the top disc can be moved from a stack
To add a little bit of difficulty, you may choose to move the stack of discs from the first peg, to the middle peg, then finally to the last peg.
You will need the following tools for this project: a band saw, a joiner (optional), and a radial arm saw/miter saw
Now, on to the build ---
Step 1: Selecting the Wood
I chose to use pallet wood, particularly some oak wood for the discs and some poplar for the base. I also used 1/4" dowels that you can get from your local craft good store. If you use pallets for your wood choice, plan to avoid nail holes in any of the pieces you plan to use.
Step 2: Cut Out the Discs
There are a few ways to handle this step. The method I used involved applying the wheel cutting jig I made for a previous Instructable. You can find that Instructable here. You can alternatively use a compass to trace your discs, then cut them out free-hand on a band saw.
I cut out seven discs with the following diameters: 1.5", 1.75", 2", 2.25", 2.5", 2.75", and 3". The thickness of the oak I chose to use was 3/8".
Step 3: The Base Board & Pegs
I chose a piece of poplar pallet wood that was 3 1/4" wide. I cut the straightest section of the board out, then ran the board vertically through the joiner to straighten the edges. After this, I ran the board horizontally through the joiner, once on both sides to really straighten up the board.
After the board was made nice and square, I finalized its length by cutting it to 10".
At this point, it was time to mark where to drill the holes for the pegs to be placed. To do this, I used a tri-square to find the exact center of the board and drew a straight line dividing the board lengthwise into two pieces. I marked the middle peg hole at the exact center, and the other two holes were located 3 1/4" from the center. (reference the fourth picture above)
Finally, I used a 1/4" brad-point drill bit to drill these holes where the dowels will snugly sit. I drilled 90% of the way through the board to avoid the dowels from being visible from the bottom of the board.
I cut the 1/4" dowel into three 3 1/2" lengths for the pegs.
After sufficiently sanding the base board, use wood glue to secure the pegs to the board.
Step 4: Finalize Discs & Stain
Because a 1/4" dowel was being used, I chose to drill the centers of the discs with a 5/16" drill bit to allow free movement of the discs on the pegs. Sand the discs to remove splinters and undesirable ridges.
After all sanding was complete, the project was ready for staining. I used a natural-colored stain to really enhance the wood grain. You could alternatively use linseed oil or mineral oil to enhance the grain.
Step 5: Enjoy!
There are countless resources online demonstrating this game -- you are certainly not limited to seven discs, although the more you add, the longer it will take: (number of moves) = 2^(number of discs) - 1