How to Build a Cribbage Board

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Blog entry by BenhamDesign posted 10-13-2019 06:57 PM 470 reads 0 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The board is made from cherry and the ends are walnut. I built these for a local shop so they are laser engraved with “Black Forest Colorado” to give the tourist something to take home.

If you are interested in seeing how I made them. Check out my video.

Video Recap
How to Build a Cribbage Board DIY Woodworking
Today’s project I’m building a cribbage board that opens up to store your cards and game pieces.
I do have a set of plans on my website if you want to build some, Christmas is coming up and they make a nice gift.
Since all the parts are small it’s a lot safer to rip them to width before cutting them to their short length. I started out ripping the endcaps to width.
Then I set up a stop block on my miter gauge so I could quickly cut them all to the same length.
I repeated this process for the front and back pieces, first ripping to width
Then cutting to length. You may have figured out that I am making several boards at once, batching operations together like this saves a ton of time.
I need to cut a dado in the endcaps to accept the bottom, I don’t want the dado to go all the way through or I’ll have an ugly hole on in my ends caps. So I measured about ¼” out from the router bit and set up a stop block on each side giving me a starting and stopping point.
Then I removed the stop blocks and routed a dado on the fronts and backs
Then I built a quick jig out of scrap plywood so I could quickly plunge mortises into the sides. If you don’t have a domino don’t get your panty in a bunch, you can just as easily use a dowel jig, or put a a drywall screw in it like a heathen.
I set the jig up with this little spacer block so I could slide it over to cut the mortises on the other end. The spacer block is the same width as the dado and bottom so it keeps the mortise location centered no matter what end I am working on.
Then on the other end of the jig I set it up to hold the pieces vertically so I could cut the mortises on the end caps.
Once I had the joinery cut, I milled the pieces for the bottom, sneaking up on the thickness little by little with each pass until they fit snugly in the dado.
Then I set up a stop block and cut all the bottoms to length.
One little problem was the router bit left a rounded over grove at the end.
So I set up a round over bit in the router and eased the edges of each board over to fit.
This created a nice fit with a little gap for wood movement.
Now it was time to make the dividers to hold the deck of cards in place.
When I ripped them to width , I doubled the width I needed plus the thickness of a sawblade.
To create the finger hole, I drilled holes down the center of the board, and did a little math to space them out appropriately.

Then I ripped down the center of the board separating them into the 2 halves, and cut them to length.
I used the router table to round over the tops of the end caps, The block is used as a backer to prevent tear out
Finally I cut shallow groves in the bottom so it would be easy to install the dividers in the right place.
It is a lot easier to sand the inside parts before assembly, and to make it easy to hold a bunch of small parts during sanding, I screwed strips of scrap plywood to the bench to pinch the parts between. This made sanding a lot easier and faster.
I set up a little assembly line and glued up all the bases.
Then by the time I got to the last base being glued up the first base was dry so I went back and dropped in the card dividers.
I cut and milled the lid pieces to size and started drilling out all the holes for the game board. There will be a template you can print out for the layout in the set of plans.
No I know not everyone has such a high tech egg beater drill, so if you prefer a more archaic method for drilling the holes, I included an SVG file for a CNC machine.
This batch is going to a local shop here in Colorado, so I also laser engraved a little something to get the tourists attention.
I rounded over the front and back of the lids, for two reasons, one decorative, but also to allow clearance for the lid to hinge open.
The lid will hinge on a dowel pin, so I made up this quick little jig to mark the hole locations for the dowels. I clamped a sacrificial scrap piece on the back so the drill would blow out on the inside.
When Drilling into the lid itself, I used a 1/16” spacer to Positioned my lid. That space allows the lid to open freely without binding
Before assembling I prefinished everything. Then I drove a short section of dowel to pin the lid and glued it in place with some CA glue.
Thank you from making it to the end of the video, If you would like to see what goes on in my shop for upcoming video’s give me a follow on Instagram, and of course, if you haven’t already like, subscribe and hit the bell to be notified when the next video comes out.

Thanks For Watching
Brian Benham

-- What I do in and out of the shop at

2 comments so far

View Northwest29's profile


1682 posts in 3026 days

#1 posted 10-14-2019 01:49 PM

Nice looking boards, thanks for post.

-- Ron, Eugene, OR, "Curiosity is a terrible thing to waste."

View CL810's profile


3968 posts in 3523 days

#2 posted 11-12-2019 02:29 AM

I enjoyed the video Brian. Thanks for the post.

-- "The only limits to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today." - FDR

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