Bespoke Cribbage Board Wedding Gift

In an earlier post, One-Off Positioning Jig, I explained how I set up to tackle a challenging commission – Collaborating with my nephew on a wedding gift for his bride. The wedding was last week, so I can finally reveal the finished project, along with a bit of a how-to writeup.

Here’s the board in it’s jig, ready for the engraving pass…

The board itself is a commissioned piece from @CBMountainWorks. It’s walnut with oak in a pattern that represents their journey from the time they met until they were married under an oak tree.

Whew! The engrave went off without incident…

Success was achieved by a huge number of test engraves in goofgrade ply, walnut ply, and walnut planking to make darn sure all the settings were perfect the first time.

Each of the engravings were custom vectors drawn from photos of significant locations and events during their lives together up to now.

Here’s the drilling jig with the 391 holes that needed to be drilled…

I really wish I had a traditional CNC available to me, but there’s always a workaround. I created the cribbage board pattern using the Cut2D app by Vectric. Sure, there were a hundred different ways of accomplishing this, but Cut2D was the only one that would let me say “give me 150 groups of 3 holes spread evenly along this vector.” AI, AD, Cuttle, & Inkscape came close to what I needed, but couldn’t match the ease and accuracy of Cut2D.

Drilling the first hole…
Look closely and you’ll note that there’s another piece of acrylic on top of the drilling jig. All the holes had to be perpendicular to the board, so created a second jig layer with holes sized for the self-centering bit’s collar as a guide. This necessitated creating three separate guide jigs, one for each track of holes. The image above shows me starting with the center track. This process was repeated for the other two tracks.

OMG! All 391 holes drilled without a hitch…

Now the full motif of the board is revealed – their journey from Duke University to places like Hawai’i, Paris, and the Galapagos. The last two images are of their new home and the proposal. You’ve no doubt noticed the blank space in the upper left – it’s for a yet-to-be-chosen image from their wedding.

That’s right – I have one more chance to mess this up. :worried:

Finally! The (almost) finished product, ready for final finish…

Here’s the board after finishing…

Based on input from the woodworker that made the board, I treated it as if it were a cutting board – a couple of good, long soaks with food-grade mineral oil, followed with two coats of my homemade board balm (4:1 mineral oil & beeswax with a bit of lemon oil added).

My work with a unique, irreplaceable item finished, it was time to relax with a large glass of my best scotch. Whew!


Wow…Dennis…this is amazing. You have every right to feel proud…technically and artistically. It’s a beauty and like no other. Very nice work!


Holy smokes! A labor of love indeed! The thought of drilling that many holes makes my brain hurt.


Time well spent. What a wonderful labor of Love!


Ver, very impressive indeed!


Definitely a gift to be treasured! Fantastic job!


Wow! Cribbage still a thing? Hmmm….great work! Beautiful gift!


You nailed it 100%, that’s is definitely a piece of art!


That is just spectacular. I’m sure she did love it!


Love the write up and the process you used. The end result is incredible.


You covered all your bases and it came out perfectly! Beautiful board of their memories.


That is spectacular. The wood is so beautiful and a great design. And nice work with the jig for the holes.


Utterly gorgeous. Congratulations on a job more than well done, and to the happy couple.


Great creativity… the thought put into it equals the quality…


Turned out beautiful!