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How to Make A Cribbage Board – The Travel Size Addition

Travel cribbage board that stores your cards and game pieces inside

If you’re a fan of cribbage and enjoy woodworking, why not combine the two and create a unique travel cribbage board? In this step-by-step guide, we’ll walk you through the process of crafting a travel cribbage board that opens up to store cards and pieces, making it a perfect companion for your on-the-go gaming needs.

Download The Cribbage Board Woodworking Plans here.


Watch how to build a travel cribbage board.

Materials You Will Need: To get started, gather the following materials:

  • The wood of your choice (recommend a dark wood with a light wood as an accent)
  • Table Saw, planer, and router with a Dado blade
  • Clamps and double-stick tape
  • Sandpaper and finish (e.g., hand-rubbed oil)
Woodworking courses taught by master craftsman Brain Benham

Step 1: Wood Selection I selected Chechen for its rich grain patterns and deep color.  I then used maple for a contrasting effect.

Step 2: Milling from one board:

Milling The Wood For The Cribbage Board

In the video, I made a total of eight game boards.  However, I kept all the pieces together in one long board so I could mill one board to thickness instead of multiple smaller boards.  Working with small pieces and power tools can be unsafe.  I found it faster and safer to keep the board as one long length and cut it into smaller pieces in a later step.

Step 3: Joining the Top and Sides

Cutting rabbet joints

I set up a dado stack with a sacrificial fence to protect the main fence so I could cut rabbets on each edge of the top and bottom.  The rabbet joint is what is going to join the top and sides of the cribbage board together.

Step 4: Sanding and Pre-Finishing

Applying finish to the inside of the cribbage board game box

Before assembly, I did a quick sanding and pre-finish the inside face of the boxes. I marked out a safe area for joinery and tapped it off with painter’s tape.  The painter’s tape protects the joinery area, as glue does not stick to an oil finish very well.  I then apply a finish like hand-rubbed oil to bring out the wood’s color.  I only finished the inside facing parts because it will be much harder to apply finish to those areas after the cribbage box has been assembled.

Step 5: Assembly

Clamping the cribbage game box

When assembling the box, I clamped in both directions to make sure the rabbet joint was tight in all directions.  At this point, I still have not cut the cribbage game board apart.  It is easier to assemble one long tube than individual game boxes.

Step 6: Cutting Game Boards

Cutting the game boards apart


I Square up one end of the assembled board and set a stop on my miter gauge to cut out game boards of the desired size.

Step 7: Attaching the ends:

Attaching the end and lid to the cribbage board game box

I made the end caps a little oversized so I could use a pattern bit in the router to trim the ends flush to the game board, ensuring a perfect fit.  I glued on the back end but used double-stick tape to attach the front end temporarily. This will allow me to flush-trim the front end to size and also allow me to drill a hole for the lid to pivot on.  I can drill the hole all the way through the lid and into the box at the same time.  This ensures a perfectly located pivot hole.

Step 8: Adding Personalization

I used a branding Iron to add my makers mark

Add your personal touch by using a branding iron to mark your logo or maker’s mark on the cribbage board.

Step 9: Installing Magnets

Drill Holes for magnets that will hold the lid closed

Drill holes diagonally across the pivot point and install tiny rare earth magnets. Ensure the correct alignment of the poles by marking them with a Sharpie.

Step 10: Final Touches

Finished Cribbage board with box to store cards and game pieces

Add a decorative touch round over the edges of the boards using a router to create a smooth and comfortable feel. Cut off the excess material for the pivot, glue it in place, and finish it off with a hand-rubbed oil.

Conclusion: Congratulations! You’ve successfully crafted a unique travel cribbage board that not only provides entertainment on the go but also showcases your woodworking skills. Whether you’re a seasoned woodworker or a DIY enthusiast, this project offers a rewarding experience.

If you don’t want to build your own, you can buy a board from me.  Handmade Travel Cribbage Board.

How to make a cribbage board


How To Play Cribbage

Objective: The main objective in cribbage is to score points by creating combinations of cards through various card-playing phases.  The game is played to a certain number of points, often 121.


  1. Use a standard 52-card deck.
  2. Each player is dealt six cards, and the remaining four cards form the “crib.”

Card Values:

  • Face cards (king, queen, jack) are worth 10 points each.
  • Number cards are worth their face value.
  • Aces are worth 1 point.


  1. The Deal:
    • Each player receives six cards.
    • Players choose two cards to discard to the crib, which is a separate hand for the dealer.
  2. The Play:
    • Non-dealer plays a card, and the dealer follows.
    • Players alternate playing one card at a time, and the cumulative total of the cards played is tracked.
    • Face cards count as 10, and players say the running total as they play their cards.
    • If a player cannot play without exceeding 31, the other player continues until no more cards can be played.
  3. Scoring in the Play:
    • Players score points for reaching certain totals (15, 31, pairs, runs, etc.).
    • The last player to play a card without exceeding 31 gets a point.
  4. The Show:
    • Players reveal their hands and score points for combinations (pairs, runs, flushes) in both their own hand and the crib.
  5. Scoring in the Show:
    • Players score points for pairs, runs, flushes, and combinations totaling 15.
    • The dealer scores the crib.
  6. The Go:
    • If a player cannot play a card without exceeding 31 during the play, the opponent scores 1 point for a “Go.”
  7. Counting the Hands:
    • Players count the points in their hands and the crib.
  8. Winning:
    • The game is played to a certain number of points, often 121.

Common Scoring Combinations:

  • Pair: 2 points
  • Three of a kind (or “pair royal”): 6 points
  • Four of a kind: 12 points
  • Run of three or more cards: 1 point per card
  • Fifteen (combination totaling 15): 2 points

Players take turns being the dealer, and the game continues in rounds until a player reaches the winning score.

These are the basic rules, and there are additional nuances and variations to cribbage. It’s a game that combines strategy, skill, and a bit of luck.

I’m the owner of Benham Design Concepts, a mixed media art studio where I design and build custom furniture and other works of art using wood, glass, stone, and various metals.
In this blog, I talk about the art I create, my journey, and the things I learn along the way.