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How to Make a Homemade Cribbage Board

Cribbage is a popular and portable card game.
deck of cards image by timur1970 from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Making a cribbage board is an excellent project for anyone with an interest in woodworking and access to a drill. Handmade cribbage boards can be intricately decorated and designed, or they can be plain and simple. The only requirement is that they must have the correct number of peg holes. Cribbage boards can be crafted out of any solid object that is long and wide enough for the peg holes and that can be drilled, so, for example, two-by-fours, pieces of tree branch, and even deer antlers can be made into attractive or interesting cribbage boards.

Cribbage is a popular and portable card game.
deck of cards image by timur1970 from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Things You'll Need:

  • Peg Wood
  • Varnish
  • Drill
  • Paint Brush
  • Sandpaper
  • Carving Knife
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Drill Bit
  • Board Wood
  • Sealant

Sand the surface of your cribbage board until it is smooth. The playing surface should be as flat as possible so that the drilling of the peg holes can be straight and even. Use the knife to carve excess wood from the playing surface, if necessary, to make the playing surface flat and straight.

Mark the paths of the peg holes, using the pencil, with two separate lines of 120 holes. These holes should be separated into groups of five, with a slightly larger space between each group. The two paths can wind around the cribbage board in any configuration, but they must remain next to each other at an equal distance the entire time, as these paths represent the scores of the competing players and must be easily compared. Use the ruler to ensure equal distance if necessary.

Add a second pair of paths somewhere else on the cribbage board, with at least five peg marks in each path. These holes will represent the number of total games won by each player. At the beginning of the main playing paths, add three marks for each path. This will be where the pegs are kept before they are played at the start of the game. Place one hole marking at the very end of the paths, centered between them. This is where the winning peg is placed.

Drill the holes, using a bit the same size in diameter as the pegs you will be making. Try to drill the holes to a similar depth, using a guard if needed to ensure equal drilling depth. Remove the sawdust from the holes by inverting the board and blowing it out.

Apply varnish or stain of the desired color with even brush strokes along the grain of the wood. Allow time for the stain to dry, then apply sealant in the same manner to finish the board and protect it from damage and wear.

Carve your pegs with a carving knife using wood the same diameter as the peg holes. Toothpicks can be an excellent peg wood, or or very small dowels.


Some cribbage boards have three separate rows for three-person game play. Four-player games are generally done in teams, so more than three rows is not required. Boards can be made in a variety of shapes and configurations. You may wish to mark your board with words for the various players and areas, such as "games won", "player one" or "player two." You may also with to put an "S" at the 90 point line for "skunk" and a "SS" at the 60 point line for "double skunk." You can number the peg holes with a wood burner, paint or marker if you wish.


  • Never hold the cribbage board in your hand while drilling, as the drill can penetrate the wood and injure your hand.
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