I’ve got an idea to build my dad a cribbage board for Christmas. What’s going to make it unique is that I’d like to inlay the tracks with three separate species of wood into a nice maple base.
So now the question is, how difficult will this be? I’d like the grain to follow the track, and so will need to bend the wood to follow the contour of the track – I’d prefer this over cutting the track shape out from a solid piece. I have a little bit of experience shaping wood by glueing up into it’s desired form, so I think I would go this route over steaming. Although, I may need to steam this anyways first to get some bend and relieve some pressure .
I’m going for a board about 24” long. I’d like it a little bigger than a standard board so that as my dad ages, he can continue to use it regardless of eyesight or fine motor skills. This makes it around 7 inches wide (Although I may make the border wider to reduce delicate areas.
My thought was to build up a jig and maybe make each track of a few pieces. The smallest inside diameter would be 1.1 inches – is this doable? I’m not sure how I would keep the pieces flat as I glue them if they are inlay thin. Clamping may be really tough as well. Perhaps make them from a thicker stock and then cut the stock down – leaving me an inlay for 2 or 3 cribbage boards? How would I cut that shape down? I think a table saw would be too powerful. I’d need to fill in the gaps before doing this. It may be safer on a bandsaw, but I don’t have one.
I’ve never done inlays but they really intrigue me. I certainly plan on practicing a bit first. So if you have any advice or design suggestions, I’d be happy to hear it.
One more thing. To keep the proportions relative, I would need to make it thicker overall. I think I’d make a base thick enough to store a deck of cards. Maybe the base would slide open or something. This idea is still brewing….
-- Heyz, in the cold winterland of Canada