– Ben Martens

Cribbage Board

Dad and I enjoy playing cribbage when we’re together so I thought that a cribbage board would be a fun project and a good gift.

Since I have access to the laser cutter, I had dreams of creating a board with a very custom shape and design, but I never really liked the way they looked and decided to settle on the classic track design. That also made my life a lot easier because drawing out a crazy curved shape with three tracks of equally spaced dots is not a simple math challenge!

I experimented a lot with the laser cutter to determine the kerf of the laser (how much wood does the laser remove) so that I could get the inlay as close to perfect as possible. There’s still a little room for improvement but it came out very nicely. I only used the laser cutter to cut out the inlay track and the piece that it fits into. The track is a piece of bubinga that I found in a “sold by the weight” scrap bin the wood store and the body of the board is cherry.

On the back of the board, I routered out a holder for the pegs (which I purchased from Amazon) and then did a sliding dovetail door to cover up the pegs. The door has a little message engraved on the inside of it. There’s a small magnet to help keep it latched, and I drilled a finger hole through the door so you can grip it to move it in and out. That door design is largely based on the way Grandpa Martens made the board that he made for me.

The final step was cutting all the holes. I had spent a ton of time getting the laser cut pattern to excatly match the metal hole guide that I purchased. So after everything was glued up, I very carefully taped the metal guide into place and drilled all the holes on the drill press. I’m glad I went with that guide instead of trying to do something like using the laser to mark the spots. The holes came out perfectly straight and perfectly spaced. I don’t think I could have achieved that without a guide.

The finish was a three part mix of boiled linseed oil, wipe on polyurethane and mineral spirits. I applied it four times with a one day dry time and a light sanding with a synthetic abrasive pad in between each coat.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad!

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3 thoughts on “Cribbage Board

  1. Karen

    I wish I had the camera ready when he opened your gift! You would have enjoyed the look on his face! It is beautiful and I think I will have to learn to play cribbage so the board will get so worn you’ll have to make Dad another one! I think you got something other than your middle name from your Grandpa! You really have a talent. Keep it up!

  2. Dudley

    Ben, this board is a treasure to me. I’ve been admiring it for a day now. Silly me. I hadn’t turned over the peg cover to see your message. Ha! That’s really rich. Thank you Ben for this memorable gift.

  3. Rachel

    Beautiful work Ben! If you’d be interested, let me know how much you would charge for the wood and labor.