Tic-Tac-Toe Board Game

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Project by Scooter McClain posted 02-20-2013 10:50 AM 2380 views 19 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Christmas was fast approaching and I have set a goal to make at least one heirloom quality item a year for Christmas as a family gift, starting the previous year with the wagon. This was built in one day using maple and red oak, as well as 3/4” dowels from a big box store.
This came from an idea I saw online of similar design. Starting from one piece of 1X3×36” maple plank, I glued the maple planks cut down to about 3.5” with 1/4” red oak strips between them, and waited for the pieces to dry. I used the new quick drying Gorilla Glue to speed the build up. I forgot to mention, this was built on October 31st, and I wanted to be finished before the Trick-O-Treaters came. I started the build at 10am, and finished by about 5:30pm.
Once the glue dried, I used my table saw to rip across the panels. I planed to use the kerf of the table saw to help make sure it was completely square when I placed the strip of 1/4” red oak between the next pieces. This made for a nice nine framed squares for the tic-tac-toe board.
While this was drying, I went ahead and drilled the holes for the dowels. I estimated the center and used my battery powered Ryobi hand drill and drilled the 3/4” holes for the dowels. I cut the downs to be about 3” long, and glued them into place. I only eyeballed the holes, and unfortunately they were not all straight up and down.
Next, I cut out 3” squares using a plank of maple and also drilled holes in the center, but this time I drilled the holes to about 1” wide to allow the piece to fit well over the dowels. I then used my table saw to cut the corners off six pieces to make the “O’s”.
I used my jig saw to cut the notches to make the “X’s”.
Since I have a toddler and a newborn, I figured that inevitably they would stick the pieces in their mouths, so I finished everything with a coat of butcher block oil and wiped it dry.
I was not there this year to see the kids open up this gift as I was/am forward deployed, but my wife assures me that they loved it.
This project cost me about $45 dollars. It should last a long time.

-- I make sawdust. I think thats a fair assessment of my finished products!

9 comments so far

View JesseTutt's profile


854 posts in 3023 days

#1 posted 02-20-2013 03:02 PM


-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View Paul59's profile


56 posts in 2837 days

#2 posted 02-20-2013 03:12 PM

Great gift idea!

-- "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather, teach them to long for the sea." ~Antoine de Saint Exupery

View don1960's profile


227 posts in 3600 days

#3 posted 02-20-2013 10:24 PM

Love that! A great execution of a novel idea.

I see my grandson’s next toy here. :-)

-- -- Don from PA

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 3874 days

#4 posted 02-21-2013 11:58 AM

I know what my next project will be for the grandkids. Instead of using strips between the squares, why not run the base over a tablesaw and put a groove in it and then paint/stain the groove?
My complements on the idea of the heirloom for the family.

View Scooter McClain's profile

Scooter McClain

175 posts in 2834 days

#5 posted 02-21-2013 03:30 PM

Thank you for the comments! That is a great idea Knothead62. That is a great approach to it as well, and it certainly would work. I have seen some great ideas on tic-tac-toe board on this website too.

-- I make sawdust. I think thats a fair assessment of my finished products!

View Fishinbo's profile


11362 posts in 3088 days

#6 posted 02-21-2013 03:46 PM

This is a great gift idea and a fun project. The kids will enjoy and treasure this for many years.

View Scooter McClain's profile

Scooter McClain

175 posts in 2834 days

#7 posted 12-18-2013 10:22 AM

Unfortunately, the wife did not keep up with the monthly butcher block oil treatment like I had asked while I was deployed for 6 months and the board warped and broke, rendering it unrepairable and nothing more than firewood. What a waste of good maple and red oak.

-- I make sawdust. I think thats a fair assessment of my finished products!

View HerbC's profile


1815 posts in 3772 days

#8 posted 04-03-2015 06:22 PM


While examining this project, I noted that the destruction of the playing board was almost certainly due to poor design rather than due to your wife’s failure to follow your monthly maintenance procedure.

The design features strips of oak glued between blocks of maple. The strips going across the grain of the blocks are solid. The blocks expanded and contracted across their width due to changes in environmental moisture levels. The oak strips did not “move” at the same rate, therefore the board literally tore itself apart.

Now, go apologize to your wife. Especially since she’s a military spouse and had the difficult task of “manning” the home front while you were deployed!

BTW, thank you for your service to our country.

Herb Cumbie, EMC USN Ret

-- Herb, Florida - Here's why I close most messages with "Be Careful!"

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 3779 days

#9 posted 02-19-2017 11:57 AM

Nice work. The kids will love it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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