How we make our boards

This page contains information about how we make cribbage boards.

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First comes the advertising, which hopefully brings you to our website.  You see something you like and the design process starts.  Often we swap many, many emails as I lay out the tracks, engraving, images and pockets on the computer.  Eventually we agree on the design and I get to make your board!


Here I am picking a plank for a custom cribbage board.  I'm looking for a plank the right size with a nice grain pattern.


Once I've found a suitable plank, I use a tape measure and chalk it up.


I use a saber saw to cut the wood to rough length.


The wood is then cut to the correct width for the board on a table saw. I do still have all my fingers!


I've built machinery to help with the engraving.  Here you see a 60 degree engraving bit in a router slowly engraving the image into the surface of the wood.


Here, I've switched out the v-bit for a 1/8" drill bit and the holes are being drilled one at a time. There are 252 on this board and they all need to be perfectly aligned.


Then another bit-swap for a 1/2" straight edge for pocket cutting.


Once all the pockets are cut, the engraving and drilling complete, the board is trimmed to final size on the table saw. Here you can see a sled that keeps the angles nice and square.


I use a home-built router table to put a 45 degree chamfer on the edges.  A push piece helps avoid splitting the edges.


I then grab another small router to cut the peg pocket slot.



I use a mini-mill to drill the 1/4" holes for the magnets in the corners.  I use a little jig to make sure they're accurate


Next there is sanding - LOTS of sanding!  I sand all the faces and then I even sand the sharp edges a little so they feel nice in your hand. 


Then more sanding - right into the details with sanding sticks.


Each rare-earth magnet gets a coat of superglue and is pushed into its hole. At this point I try to make sure they are flush and not stuck to my fingers!


I sign each board with a burning pen.


Then I brush on layers and layers of shellac.


Once the shellac is dry I carefully apply paint to the images and lettering on the board. Usually it takes a couple of coats until I'm happy. Yes, this can take hours...  Then more coats of shellac to cover the paint.


Finally here's the finished product!  And there's a bag that Marty made with a sliding toggle for closure.


Here's the finished base showing off the painted engraving, card pocket and the brass peg pocket cover.  In the corners you can see four of the rare-earth magnets used to hold the two parts together.  And there are felt feet applied underneath to protect the table top.


A few people have asked why it takes so long to make a custom board and why they cost more than store-bought mass-produced items from China.  I do hope you have gained some understanding of the process involved and also why we love what we do!



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