• Advertise with us
Project by Cubby posted 11-14-2013 10:43 PM 1875 views 9 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch


Well, I am at it again, using cut-offs, otherwise doomed for the fireplace, as material for a project. The species of this batch of cut-offs are mahogany and basswood.
With Christmas around the corner, I decided to turn these scraps into a familiar game, but larger than the commercial product found in toy departments. I call them, simply, “Stacking Blocks”. The smaller, commercial blocks have the Trademark, “Jenga”. I enjoy this work for several reasons: It hones my skills in milling, the foundation of any wood project , it promotesthe use of my hand tools (all final surfaces are smoothed with hand tools, no sandpaper touches this wood) and it keeps my sharpening skills, ah, sharp ( a sharp hand tool, for me, is truly a joy to use and yields a surface second -to-none). Also, it results in a hand-made gift that inspires happiness in family and friends. Dimensions are made on a 7.5 (length)/ 2.5 (width)/ and 1.5 (thickness) scale. Using ratio and proportion math, I arrive at the final block dimensions limited by the size of the material. I use my power tools to rough out the size of individual pieces and sneak up on the finished surface using hand tools.

This is the sequence I used:

I. Rough-out

A. Surfaced one side of each cut-off with a jointer hand plane.
B. Using a power planer, planed to about 1/8th inch proud of final width.
C. Ripped the pieces to about 1/16th inch proud of final thickness.
D. Completed thickness dimensioning on the power planer
E. Used an edge trimming block plane (Stanley No. 98 or similar) to square and smooth one side of each piece.
F. Ripped each piece to final width.
G. Edge trimmed the final rip in (F.) to square and smooth.
H. Cross cut to final length
I. Used a power router to chamfer all twelve sides on each piece.

II. Fine tuning (Hand Tools Only)

A. Smoothed the unfinished side with the edge trimming block plane.
B. Using a Japanese chamfer plane, I make a single pass over each chamfer to remove mill marks from the power router.
C. Using a low angle bench plane (like a Stanley #64) and a Shooting Board, I make a few passes over the end grains.
D. Using a Stanley 41/2 smoother set to produce see-through shavings, I make one to two passes over each face.

III. Finish

A. one coat of paste wax
B. Letter press is used to identify different blocks for game variations

The first set goes to Ms. Laura Cinelli, a Junior at Penn State, whose 21st birthday was this week. It will arrive in Happy Valley just in time for tailgating at the Purdue-PSU game.

-- Ron Baird, Pennsylvania, "WORK HARD, BE GOOD, HAVE FUN"

2 comments so far

View JReed3's profile


81 posts in 2637 days

#1 posted 11-15-2013 12:55 PM

Tell me more about the printing on the wood. I can see where that can be useful. Tell me more about the letter press.

View Cubby's profile


48 posts in 4405 days

#2 posted 11-15-2013 04:49 PM

Mr. Reed, As I read this , I am away at the shop doing my real job. When I get home tonight I will take and send the image of the letter punch kit I used and any other information you need..

-- Ron Baird, Pennsylvania, "WORK HARD, BE GOOD, HAVE FUN"

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics