Innovation Session

Innovation Session: Cribbage Board

The last few Tuesday nights I’ve been working on a visualization about the history of the NFL. This week, however, I don’t feel like fidgeting with javascript, so I’m going to do something different and work with my hands.

Innovations Sessions are at their heart about solving problems. Tonight’s problem is that I don’t own a cribbage board. I could certainly buy one, but the pop-out, machine-painted boards don’t seem up to the caliber of my tastes. A cribbage board reflects a lot about a person and so to adequately represent myself, I need to make mine by hand.

If you’re not familiar with cribbage, take a second to read up on it.


Before I start anything I look for inspiration. I found a lot on etsy and was also impressed by this wood burned piece. Being a surfer I also checked for any surfboard flavored pieces and found these two.

I decided my design would have to incorporate a surfing theme and a bit of wood burning for style. The only restrictions are that I have either two or three tracks of either 60 or 120 holes, one hole at the end to win the game, and a few to store pegs at the start.

Here are some of my rough sketches.



I decided to go with the surfboard shape because of the symmetry and low profile. If I do a 60 hole course I think I’ll be able to put an image in the center as well.

Here is the cutout and me beginning to put in the hole placement.



As I cut it out I remembered why I don’t like shaping symmetrical boards; I’m not very good at it. I can’t replicate a curve in either direction, my left side curves always do what I want and the right side ones are too wide at the top. The board has a nice big gash in it from where I messed up the first curve, I guess that will add some character.


Drilling Holes

To make sure there is a bit of consistency in the peg hole depth I hacked my drill bit and marked it with a bit of duct tape.

After drilling the first set, I wanted to make sure everything fit. I probably should have started by drilling a set into some scrap wood to make sure my spacing was good. Note to self for next time, but thankfully my eyeball was pretty good.



I only drilled three sets tonight. I forget that I can’t use power tools in my apartment late at night without disturbing neighbors. I guess that is why I usually do these types of things on weekends. The holes are fairly rough around the edges. Probably a combination of the soft wood and a small hole size – they are also clearly hand drilled. Looking at some of the other examples the placement looks a lot more uniform. This is probably another good reason to do a practice set.

I’ll finish the rest up tomorrow, but I did get a chance to do some wood burning. (Also probably something I shouldn’t do in my apartment late at night.)



This is Ocean Beach, the place I frequent in the winters up here.

I’ll post a few more pictures when I finish drilling the holes and stain the wood.

The only other thing I might do is drill a big hole through the back to hang it from. I might even drill a few sets of holes on the top to store pegs in while it is hanging.


Here is the final pic. I added a 7×3 grid at the top to keep score – I figure that would come in handy when playing multiple games in a row. I also added the hole to hang it from and one more peg spot above the 60 for pegging-out. I then sealed it with a light coat of mineral oil to protect it from water damage and warping.

You’ll notice some of my holes are better than others, doing that part by hand was definitely error prone.