I will start this blog the same way I started the one on making a Lazy Susan.
Now before I get started on this little demonstration of how I do it, let me caution you on a couple things. IF you try anything like this, take the plate that your saw blade comes up through and close that hole completely up with a thin piece of wood. Make sure it is even with the top, with no gaps and no lips to catch the pieces. You want it smooth. Then with a “Hollow ground plywood blade” come up from the bottom so you have no gap between the blade and the wood. You may have to do this a couple times so the blade does not rub on the wood. You don’t want to use a blade with any set to the teeth or you will be throwing pieces all over the place.
You will be working close to the blade in some steps so you don’t want a big gap next to the blade. I started off using an old power saw and progressed up to a foot powered table saw. This gives me the advantage that IF I hit my fingers, my feet stop (I never have). You may not have that feature on your particular saw, so if you don’t have common since around power tools, stick to knitting.
Now if you want a closer look at anything in any of these pictures, you can click on the picture, it will take you right to the picture on my Flickr site, then click on the “All Sizes” at the top of the picture in the “Actions” box, it will make it bigger and bigger, or smaller if you want.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #1
I needed to make some more of my Tumbling Block Cribbage Boards and I needed more strips of different kinds of wood that I cut the pieces from. I put a short block of wood on the fence so if the board has any curve to it, the longer fence would make the strip have a thin part to it, the short block will let the strip keep that curve. When I cut the pieces, that slight curve will not be a factor. I want the whole strip to be .200 end to end. The pieces will then all be of a uniform thickness and I can know that I can get 4 strips of wood for every inch the starting board is wide. If I have a board 6” wide I will end up with 24 strips from that board. I will cut my boards close to 24” long and for my regular diamonds and triangles; I will get 20 diamonds and 28 triangles.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #2
After getting the strips cut from the type of wood I will be needing, I move them over to one side of the table saw that I use to narrow the strip down to within .005 of .734. I have several different old table saws that I got at different flea markets for $10.00 to $20.00. I power them with old furnace fan motors and v-belts. This saves in some set-up time and fits my price range for the tool.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #3
This picture shows the strip as it is part way through the cut. I use a hollow ground plywood blade in trimming the strips and in cutting the pieces. The blade will make a satin smooth cut. When the blade needs sharpening, I do that then in putting it back on the spindle I tighten the nut and spin the blade by hand a few turns. You will see the blade has a little wobble. I loosen the nut and turn the blade a bit on the spindle and then tighten the nut. I do this until I find the place where the wobble is taken out. It doesn’t take much of a wobble to be over .005.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #4
When I have the strips trimmed down to size, I take the kinds of wood that I need to my foot powered table saw and as I am making a Tumbling block pattern I use my jig that is set at a 30°. I have 6 jigs for the 6 shapes that I use in making my product; 3 jigs for diamonds and 3 jigs for triangles. (You can see more on my foot powered table saw in one of my earlier Projects.)
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #5
I use the jig for making the triangles and cut as many triangles, as I will be needing for the project that I will be making.
Most wood will leave a fuzzy edge which I will scrape off using a knife, piece by piece.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #7
I take a blank piece of Baltic Birch plywood, 5/8th to ¾” thick and mark the center. As you look at this diamond that I have glued on, you will see that the grain of the wood goes up and out of the diamond at the top right and the bottom left. It will be the same on each diamond that I glue on the Cribbage Board. If you turn it so that the point is up, on each type of wood, the grain will go out of the diamond to the right, at the top. To me this is more uniform and more pleasing to the eye when the whole thing is done.
I use hot glue to glue the diamonds and triangles on to the base. I use “Super Amber” Hot glue sticks from Supergrit (or Red Hill Corporation) at;
The glue that squishes out I trim off with a chisel if it cools and hardens up before I can put another diamond in next to it.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #8
To help things go faster I will lay out some diamonds, the right way they are to go on, before I start to glue them on. For this picture I have the blank turned 90° from how I will be working by gluing the diamonds on.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #9
When I get it this far, I will trim off the glue.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #10
At this stage the glue will be hard enough that it won’t be sticky.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #11
After the glue is trimmed off I then mark out from the diamonds ½”, all around. At the ends I will lay a diamond in the point and measure from it, then draw connecting lines all the way around.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #12
The blank will then be trimmed and marked as to how I will cut it to shape.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #13
In cutting it, I cut on the outside of the line.
I then finish gluing the pieces on the top of the Cribbage Board.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #15
Then trim off the glue that has squeezed out.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #16
This leaves a clean square corner to glue the side pieces on.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #17
I get all of the side pieces glued on, keeping the pattern on the top going on over the side, as you will see in later pictures. The corner pieces will have to be individually cut to fit.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #18
I cut the diamonds for the corners by marking where I think the line should be. I tilt the table of the Foot Powered table saw to a 30° angle, and make the cut. You have to get your fingers kind of close to the blade at this point. If you keep your finger away from the blade 1/16th of an inch the blade will never cut you. I do figure that I have an advantage here in that IF I hit my finger,—my feet will stop. (Although that theory has never been tested.)
I do want to point out something here; you can see that I have closed up the gap that is on each side of the saw blade. I did this by making a thin piece of wood the size of the hole, the same thickness as the top plate and then gluing another thin piece over that to the bottom of the plate. Then you just turn on the saw and raise the blade with the table flat and at any angle that you will be using, like 22 ½° and 30°. This way there will not be a gap for the piece to be sucked down into, pulling your finger along with it.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #19
The cut pieces should fit together like this.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #20
They should fit in the corner like this.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #21
They should make the corner look like this.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #22
They should make the corner look like this. You will also notice that the cribbage board is “rough as a cob”. This will be taken care of by sanding.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #23
To get it to look like this. But there is one more step that I do.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #24
I sand a 45° angle on the top and bottom and slightly round the side corners.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #25
I scribble on it with a pencil at this stage. The reason for this is to get the pencil marks below the sawdust and glue that I will be rubbing over the whole thing, with a putty knife, to fill the cracks. Then in final sanding, when the pencil marks are gone, I know that I’m down below the glue, and the finish will go on ok.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #26
This is after the cracks are filled. (I used to use the white glue but then in humid weather the glue joint would rise. I now use powdered resin, mix it with water, then that with the saw dust. It will stay smooth then and you won’t be having the glue joint rising on you.)
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #27
I took a piece of ¼” clear plastic and marked and drilled the holes then countersunk the edges of each hole a little. I use a self-centering bit to get the holes where I want them. I place the plastic where I want it and hold it in place with the 3 hold-down straps. I leave 2 straps holding the plastic when I am drilling the holes under the one I move aside. With the self-centering bit, you need to clean out the holes after you take the plastic off but you have them uniform at least.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #28
I end up with the holes looking like this.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #29
I make my “peg storage holes” in the side, making two holes with one opening. I use this jig to hold the cribbage board at this angle, and drill one hole. Then I turn the cribbage board around and going in the same hole I drill another hole.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #30
A close look at the hole will look like this. You are looking at two ¼” holes.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #31
During the final sanding of each board I round all of the edges, I just sand them round. Rounded edges feel much better in my hands than square corners and are much harder to damage. I think God liked round edges also is why he made most women with round edges. I say most, because I’ve been around some that somehow have sharp edges, and they are not fun to be around.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #32
It is now ready to write on the bottom and start putting the finish on it.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #33
These have the first coat of varnish on them.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #34
This is the finished cribbage board.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #35
On the bottom I put my name, the type of wood that is used, the date and the “Foot Cut” lets them know I cut the pieces on my foot powered table saw.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #36
When you look close at the hackberry triangle that buts up against the hackberry triangle on top, you will see that the grain goes out of the triangle to the left. This gives more of the illusion it is one diamond like the ones on top.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #37
This shows the finished “peg storage holes”.
Making a Tumbling Block Cribbage Board #38
This shows the finished “peg storage holes” with one stainless steel peg going into the left hole.
This shows the finished “peg storage holes” with one brass peg in the right hole.
Some concluding thoughts on making the tumbling block pattern. I have always liked it because it makes you see a lot of blocks,—- but there are as many stars as there blocks. On each diamond, if you go to the side you are in the middle of a block. At each point of the diamond you are in the middle of a star that has 6 points.
I put a line most of the way around one star. Maybe that will help. Each diamond will have a different star at each end of the diamond; you will be in the middle of the star.
When I make the tumbling block pattern or any other pattern with my pieces, I let the piece dictate the size and shape. I never like to cut off the piece in an unnatural place, like in the following picture. If I cut it I want to be able to have it follow on over the side of the object that I am making with the rest of the piece.
Thank you for coming this far,
-- It’s not so much what we know that causes the trouble, it’s what we know that’s not so.