Project #2 – lessons learned

Making the crib board really captured my imagination, but it took a while for my next project to form and develop.

The idea started developing when we downloaded a Backgammon game for the Blackberry, Mrs J and I downloaded the game and started playing the AI and then each other and we came to the conclusion that instead of playing on a small screen we would probably enjoy play a real game opposite each other! Pah who needs technology!

As with the Crib board I started the backgammon board over the Christmas holidays a year after starting and finishing my first project. 

Instead of using a log and using natures natural form to create a covert game I used the following materials:
Two laminate floor boards
10mm wooden beading
Hinges left over from the making of the crib board
A clasp ‘reclaimed’ from an old tool box.

For two days I was back in the garage forming the materials into a box, scoring the points (triangles on the board).

By the end of the second garage day I had the base shape, and then I have to admit thats where the project stayed for 18months!I don’t know why or what made me stop when I was passed the hard bit but I just stopped.

When ever Mrs J asked when I would finish the board my usual response was ‘I’ll get round to it’.

I never did.

Then after our honeymoon, after feeling relaxed and enjoying married life, this happened:


I went to the nearest DIY shop and bought some paint testers. I had caught the bug again, the enthusiasm was back.

I ended up sending the colours to family and friends to see what the general consensus for the best colour combo was and ended up choosing these:


I really liked he way the light orange and the dark blue stood out on the light wood. I masked, painted and filled the front room with paint smell for a few nights, finally I was brave enough to remove the masking tape.

To finish the game board I treated it to the softest steel wool to remove the bobbles and treated the board to a generous helping of varnish.

Now for the outside! I opted for an all surface paint, this was a good choice for the board finish but not a good idea to paint the board in the front room, at night, with no ventilation! Headaches kicking in the door and stayed till the smell had completely disappeared! 


The real sticking point was the checkers, I had not learned the lessons from Project #1, its best to find the pieces or at least choose a standard size for your proposed checkers that you could possibly in standard circular sizes.

I made the mistake of assuming that I would easily find the exact sized circles I would ned. Wrong!Unbeknownst to me my FiL (Father-in-Law) had seen this point comming, approximately 18months before I got to this point and then subsequently lost interest. FiL had been looking in a toy shop for playing cards to fit in the storage box he had just finished when he found just the parts required for the board and had kept them till the backgammon board was nearly complete.

Fast foward to 18months later, after the relaxing honeymoon and mid way through the paint induced headaches FiL and I were talking and the immortal words ‘I think your ready for these now’ were said.
FiL proceeded to hand over two draught piece boxes that had been sat in storage in the dresser for quite a while.
They were bigger than was needed but this was when the engineering experience came into practice.

‘Use your bench grinder’ FiL said,
‘What bench grinder?’ I asked confused,’The bench grinder you bought 18months ago, its been in garage with the pillar drill for the last year!’ FiL updated.
‘Oh’ I responded positively.

After a quick lesson I went off home with tool, draught pieces and enthusiams and spent the next day grinding the pieces down to the size required.I can smugly say I only tried to reduce he circumference of my fingers twice!

The checker transformation:


A quick walk to the local independant toy shop, some printing and laminating of the set up picture the board was finally finished!


Since finishing the board, Mrs J and I have played  few games and I am prouxd to say my loosing streak continues, I lost the first three games played!

The board has travelled with us over the Christmas holidays and is best described as a Sunday afternoon game, the type of game where your happy playing whilst relaxing and competion doesnt really come into it, he enjoyment of playing does.

For me this project made me realise that sometimes there will be projects that will make you think, and there will be areas that could be tricky to overcome BUT if you plan and research things should turn out how you expect!

Till next time!

Project #1 – The First Step!!!!

Some of my fondest memories as a child are when my Mum, Dad, a friend and I went camping.

Every year we would pack the caravan and head off to the New Forest and spend two week enjoying all weathers.

It was on these holiday’s where I first started fishing, building Airfix kits (which has since ceased) and also where in the evening my Mum and Dad taught my friend and I how to play Crib (Cribbage).

As I grew older we played crib mainly at Christmas, and when Mrs J and I first got together and after some frustration of understand fifteen two, fifteen four, Mrs J also came to enjoy and look forward to the Christmas Crib tradition.

A few years ago my Mum and Dad moved back to the Motherland, this would mean amongst other things the crib board made of of a type of wood that sinks with them. That same year we were house sitting for Mrs J’s Uncle and I had one of my ‘I have a brilliant idea but don’t know how to accomplish it, so I’ll start anyway’ ideas.

I decided to build my own Crib board.

It hit me, the idea, when I saw a log in the wood pile. It was a nice straight piece of wood, I can honestly say it was a nice looking piece of wood. So I did the bull in a china shop thing of getting a saw and cutting the log in half.

After 10 minutes I had two pieces of wood which to my suprise were equal in length, size and had a pretty straight cut. With the two pieces in my possession I started to plan the board and get artsy!

I chose to make the board look like the log I had just cut in half, so hinges would be required. That new year the wood travelling with me, Mrs J and I spent the New Year at my In-Laws.

I explained what I wanted to do to my Father-in-Law (FiL) and we spent New Years day in the garage sanding and preparing the board. I ran over to my Mum and Dads house (Mrs J and I grew up opposite each other) and borrowed the non floating crib board. With all holes measured a template created my FiL and I drilled all holes and the score board was ready. Now for the lid!

At this point I hadn’t thought the project through! I had no pegs to score with and no where to store them! FiL then had the excellent idea of using rivets and routing a storage compartment in the lid. At this point I had never used a router so I swiftly passed this task over.

Within 30 minutes I had a storage compartment and a scoreboard, the hinges added. My first project was complete!

I enjoyed this process so much I think I can say this is when the bug was caught to make something where I enjoy the process of the build and equally enjoy using the finished project.

This process also taught me to plan, something that I am still developing now! I get an idea and don’t think it through!

Since completion of the log crib board we now also carry on the tradition of christmas playing when Mrs J and I spend Christmas in Kent and have our foursome high stakes competative game when we see Mum and Dad in the Motherland in New Year.

The log crib board symbolises the first steps to my geeky passion, the enjoyment I get from building and my love of tabletop games!


Apologies for the lack of photos, photos will be added very soon when I am back in front of my computer!