If you enjoy playing the strategy game Crokinole and you happen to have some woodworking skills, you might enjoy building your own board. Although this isn't a simple project it does offer you the opportunity to customize the board and make it unique to your family. Take a look at what's involved for this project, and if it appeals to you, gather your tools and supplies and get started!
Build Your Own Crokinole Board
- Board pattern for grooves and holes, which you can create yourself based on an existing board (or a photo)
- One 4-foot x 8-foot sheet of 1/2- inch birch or oak plywood (deck and base)
- Two 8-foot strips of 1/8-inch birch plywood (sold in craft stores)
- 25 feet of 3/4-inch veneer strip (glue on one side)
- Eight pegs (purchased)
- 80 discs (20 discs of four different colors) (purchased)
- Sandpaper - 60 to 80 grit, 120 grit, 220 grit, 320 grit, 600 grit and 1500 grit
- One pint polyurethane finish
- One 3-inch foam paint brush
- One small can of dark stain and a small watercolor-type brush (both are optional for grooves)
- Wood glue
- Box of 1/2-inch tacks
- Rubbing compound
- Carnauba car paste wax
- Three felt pads or dots
- Router with circle cutting jig to make 1/16 inch v-shaped grooves
- Drill with 3/8-inch drill bit, a 1 3/8 inch circle cutter and a drill bit the same size as the purchased pegs
- Belt sander
- Random orbital sander
- Razor blade (to trim veneer)
- Four wood clamps
- One long wood clamp
The basic building directions are not difficult. However, it would be helpful to have a picture of a Crokinole board to follow as you complete your project.
Cutting the Board
- Screw the circle cutting jig into the center of the board.
- Use the router to cut the outer circle, the inside circles and the four short cross lines.
- Use the drill and the circle cutter to drill the center hole.
- Use the jigsaw to cut out the circle using the router marks as a cutting guide.
- Use the belt sander to smooth the outside edges.
Finishing the Board
- Sand the board.
- Drill pilot holes for the pegs.
- Trim excess veneer with a razor blade.
- Sand the board with the random orbital sander, finish sanding with the 220 grit sandpaper.
- Apply the polyurethane finish with the 3-inch foam paint brush, brushing in the direction of the grain.
- Let the finish dry for up to five hours.
- Sand the board with 120 or 220 grid sandpaper.
- Apply a second coat of polyurethane finish.
- Apply up to 10 coats of polyurethane finish, sanding between each coat.
- If the grooves are not distinctive, a dark stain can be painted into the grooves with a small brush.
Constructing the Base Platform and Rails
- Lay the board onto the base. Draw a pencil circle on the base two inches from the edge of the board.
- Glue the board onto the base. Clamp down to dry.
- Use the jigsaw to cut the circle on the base.
- Sand the outside edge of the base.
Attaching the Rails
- Soak the rails overnight to make them pliable.
- Drill pilot holes into the rail every two to three inches about one-quarter inch from the bottom edge.
- Attach the inner rail with tacks hammered into the pilot holes.
- Glue the outer rail over the inner rail.
Finishing the Base
- Sand the inside railing by hand with coarse sandpaper. Repeat sanding with 220 grit sandpaper.
- Apply polyurethane finish to the top of the base and the inside and outside of the rails.
- Fine sand with 320 grit sandpaper, followed by 600 grit and 1500 grit sandpaper, sanding in the direction of the grain.
- Apply rubbing compound to increase the sheen of the finish.
- Apply several coats of car wax.
- Drill out the peg holes.
- Glue the pegs into the holes, and tap the pegs in with the mallet.
- Affix the three felt pads.
Where to Get Detailed Plans
In addition to the board plan above, the following books and websites also offer a lot of detail about the game, including how to build your own Crokinole board.
The Crokinole Book
The Crokinole Book by Wayne Kelly offers everything you want to know about Crokinole, including the game's origins, customs, and social history. The book also provides rule variations and information on designing and building your own board. The revised third edition has over 75 photos and illustrations.
The Kids Winter Cottage Book
The Kids Winter Cottage Book by Jane Drake and Ann Love, illustrated by Heather Collins, is a wonderful book filled with over 120 winter-themed outdoor and indoor activities, including instructions on how to play a good old fashioned game of Crokinole on your own homemade board! This board is more suited for older children and teens to create.
Vintage Games offers scaled plans to build a 26-inch game board in your choice of square or octagonal frame. The building plans come with a rule book for the game, and you can also purchase game pieces separately.
WorkshopSupply.com sells illustrated plans to build a 29-inch Crokinole board. The site also sells game pieces and bumpers separately.
Create a Family Heirloom
Admittedly a project like this isn't for everyone, but there is something very satisfying about building your own game board. A homemade Crokinole board could turn out to be a future family heirloom, so it might well be worth the effort to take a crack at building one yourself. You and your family can enjoy it now, and then pass it on to generations to come.