For the Kids

GIANT JENGA : YARD GAME

With Summer around the corner and my yard games in full swing for my little son I decided to make this game as whenever we play it we have loads of fun, I also had a decent amount of scrap plywood and some 2x4’s to bang this out.

Although I have seen just the Jenga blocks on their own I also decided to make a box that had two purposes, one was to store the 54 Jenga blocks in and the other was to also provide a platform to play the game on because my back yard is plenty lumpy and void of a decent flat surface to play on.

Here are the steps I took in making it:

  • Inspiration & Design

  • Materials Needed

  • Cutting parts to size

  • Layout Work & Shaping

  • Router Time

  • Sanding

  • A little Joinery

  • Box Assembly

  • Jenga Blocks

  • Painting Time

INSPIRATION & DESIGN

My inspiration behind this project came from a YouTube video I came across and you can see it below. It goes into a lot of detail and for which I used to design my own plans.

As I usually do I created my own plans that I will include a link to after the project is built but below are a few pictures displaying it all stored inside a box and when it is actually being played with using the box as a platform.

Here is the box that I designed using Sketchup, it holds all 54 Jenga blocks when not in use.

Here is the box that I designed using Sketchup, it holds all 54 Jenga blocks when not in use.

The storage box doubles as a platform to build the Jenga tower on.

The storage box doubles as a platform to build the Jenga tower on.

MATERIALS NEEDED

Although I didn’t need to purchase much materials for this project here is what you will need to complete the game.

(6) 2”x4”x8’ (I yielded 9 Jenga blocks per 8 foot length of lumber)

(1) 4’ x 4’ x 3/4” sheet of plywood (This was used to make the storage box

Paint and Primer


CUTTING PARTS TO SIZE

I started making the plywood box for the Jenga blocks to fit inside. So I cut all my parts on the tablesaw to my dimensions.

The Parts you will need are:

(2) Front / Back Pieces

(2) Sides

(1) Box Bottom

Here are the parts needed for making the box

Here are the parts needed for making the box

Here is another picture of the parts, in their assembly position.

Here is another picture of the parts, in their assembly position.


SOME LAYOUT WORK

All four sides of the box need to have some shaping done to them, the sides will receive a cutout for a handhold and the front and back of the box will receive a decorative detail.

FRONT / BACK LAYOUT

I decided to add a decorative detail to the front and back of the box. Here are the steps I took to make it.

  • I followed the dimensions in my plans and marked everything out in pencil. Below you can see the design I was looking for. I did this to both the front and back of the box.

Here is the design I was looking to achieve.

Here is the design I was looking to achieve.

Here is the actual layout on the workpiece.

Here is the actual layout on the workpiece.

Here are both pieces with the layout done, next up was cutting it out.

Here are both pieces with the layout done, next up was cutting it out.

CUTTING THE SHAPE

To cut out the above shape there were plenty ways to cut it, but I chose to use my jigsaw, so I clamped the workpiece to my bench and stayed outside the line so as that I could clean it up with some sandpaper later.

Here is the workpiece all cut out and I think it adds a little visual interest to the front.

Here is the workpiece all cut out and I think it adds a little visual interest to the front.

I used my Ryobi jigsaw to cut out the shape and it came out great, the edges were a little rough but I will be sanding them and probably using my router later on to clean up the edges and remove any sharp corners to it.

I used my Ryobi jigsaw to cut out the shape and it came out great, the edges were a little rough but I will be sanding them and probably using my router later on to clean up the edges and remove any sharp corners to it.

THE SIDES

The sides need a way to carry the box so I decided to cut handholds into both sides. I used a lot of different tools to accomplish this, which were:

  • Drill Press with a 1-1/2” hole saw attached

  • A jigsaw

  • Oscillating spindle sander

  • A few layout aids such as a circle template, pencil, and a ruler.

Here is a model of the shape I was going for.

Here is a model of the shape I was going for.

Here is the layout all completed, I also predrilled a pilot hole to trach the hole saw when I needed to cut out the circles.

Here is the layout all completed, I also predrilled a pilot hole to trach the hole saw when I needed to cut out the circles.

Here is the circle template I used to mark the holes I needed to cut out at the drill press.

Here is the circle template I used to mark the holes I needed to cut out at the drill press.

Time to use this 1-1/2” hole saw to begin the shaping process on my handle pull hole

Time to use this 1-1/2” hole saw to begin the shaping process on my handle pull hole

Next stop was over to the dril press with my 1-1/2” hole saw in the chuck

Next stop was over to the dril press with my 1-1/2” hole saw in the chuck

No that I have 2 nice clean holes I can move to cutting out the rest of the handle with the jigsaw.

No that I have 2 nice clean holes I can move to cutting out the rest of the handle with the jigsaw.

I used my layout lines to remove the material between the two holes that were cut.

I used my layout lines to remove the material between the two holes that were cut.

Here is the material removed from the side, just need to clean this up over at the spindle sander and then use my router to apply a roundover detail around the edges of the hand hold.

Here is the material removed from the side, just need to clean this up over at the spindle sander and then use my router to apply a roundover detail around the edges of the hand hold.


ROUTER TIME

Now that all the cutting was done to remove the material on the sides and the front & back pieces I decided to use my palm router installed with a round-over bit to ease the edges of everything that I cut out. There will be more router work later in the process but I will wait until the box is assembled before doing that.

Here is one of the front pieces after applying the rounder, still need to sand a little.

Here is one of the front pieces after applying the rounder, still need to sand a little.


PRELIMINARY SANDING

I needed to sand the faces and some of the edges so I used my orbital sander on the faces and oscillating spind sander on the the curved parts which included the the hand hold cut outs. I only used 150 grit sand paper to this preliminary sanding as I will user finer grits after the box is assembled.

Using 150 grit paper in my orbital sander I sanded all 5 parts to the box, I did this to remove all the layout marks made and smooth the panel before I glued it up. I will give the outside faces another sanding after the box is assembled.

Using 150 grit paper in my orbital sander I sanded all 5 parts to the box, I did this to remove all the layout marks made and smooth the panel before I glued it up. I will give the outside faces another sanding after the box is assembled.

I love every chance I get to use this awesome tool, my oscillating spindle sander isn’t used every day but I am so glad I have it when it comes to sanding curves, nothing better.

I love every chance I get to use this awesome tool, my oscillating spindle sander isn’t used every day but I am so glad I have it when it comes to sanding curves, nothing better.

Here are all 5 parts sanded up for the box, they look good and I love the little detail to add to a very basic box.

Here are all 5 parts sanded up for the box, they look good and I love the little detail to add to a very basic box.


JOINERY TIME

There is very little work as far as joinery is concerned on this box, basically the front and back pieces receive a rabbet on each side of the workpieces, the top and bottom is left without the rabbet’s. I used a rabbet to basically insure a square box when it came to assemble the rest of the box but I will be only using glue and screws to finish construction of the box.

So I went over to my table-saw and installed a 23/32” wide dado stack as that is the thickness of my plywood and ran both work pieces through.

Here is my little layout to mark where the rabbet’s are to go, make sure to mark the inside face of the panel.

Here is my little layout to mark where the rabbet’s are to go, make sure to mark the inside face of the panel.

Here are both rabbet’s laid out on the panel before cutting.

Here are both rabbet’s laid out on the panel before cutting.

Finally here are the rabbet’s all complete, and that is all I need to do fir cutting the joinery. The sides will fit into the rabbet’s and then I will secure in place with screws secured through the front and back pieces.

Finally here are the rabbet’s all complete, and that is all I need to do fir cutting the joinery. The sides will fit into the rabbet’s and then I will secure in place with screws secured through the front and back pieces.


BOX ASSEMBLY

It was time to assembly the main body of the box and here are the steps I took:

  • Pre-drilled the front parts and also counter-sunk them to attach screws after applying the glue

  • The Glue-Up

  • Attach the clamps

PRE-DRILL & COUNTER-SINK

I usually always pre-drill any panel that needs screws its makes the box go together a lot more easier. Anytime I use screws I also usually use wooden plugs to cover the screws holes which is why I counter-sink them below the surface. The main reason for using screws in this project is that they act as clamps and I can move on with the project without having actual clamps and the time it takes for glue to dry.

So with that said I marked out exactly where I wanted to place the screws that way they will be in uniform locations from either side.

Here is the front panel pre-drilled, I did the back panel the same way.

Here is the front panel pre-drilled, I did the back panel the same way.

Here is a close-up of the counter-sunk holes, I will be covering these with some dowels later on.

Here is a close-up of the counter-sunk holes, I will be covering these with some dowels later on.

I usually use about 2/3 drills and driver when working on a project. This is my counter-sinking bit.

I usually use about 2/3 drills and driver when working on a project. This is my counter-sinking bit.

Since this is an outside project I decided to use stainless steel exterior screws, here is a close-up of the screw I believe the size is 1-1/4” long #8.

Since this is an outside project I decided to use stainless steel exterior screws, here is a close-up of the screw I believe the size is 1-1/4” long #8.

THE GLUE-UP

I prepared my assembly table to do the box glue up so as usual I rolled out my rosin paper and took all my glue accessories and I also got a few clamps to have nearby when I needed the. Its important to have everything you need when doing a glue-up because you only have a few minutes from applying the glue to it setting up.

Here is everything I need for the glue-up and my new assembly table is protected.

Here is everything I need for the glue-up and my new assembly table is protected.

Now that the screws were attached I decided to attach a few small clamps, as it was late I will get back to it later on.

Now that the screws were attached I decided to attach a few small clamps, as it was late I will get back to it later on.

Here is the box frame all glued up, I still need to attach the bottom to it. So that will be my next thing on the agenda.

Here is the box frame all glued up, I still need to attach the bottom to it. So that will be my next thing on the agenda.

FINISHING UP THE BOX

There was still a decent amount of work to finish up the box before turning my attentions to making the Jenga blocks. Here is what I did to finish up the storage box:

  • Attach the case bottom

  • Cut & Install the wooden hole plugs

  • Sand & Router time

ATTACH THE CASE BOTTOM

The bottom of the case was not anything special, its basically a panel I cut a little oversize and predrilled & counter-sunk holes for the stainless steel exterior screws and then glued and screwed the base in place, I also needed to cover up all the holes left from the screws. After the base was attached I used my router to flush trim the base to match the sides so it was nice and tight.

Using a 3/8” space I positioned all the holes s as that the center of the screw would meet the plywood in the center, thus reducing the need for the plywood sides of the box to split.

Using a 3/8” space I positioned all the holes s as that the center of the screw would meet the plywood in the center, thus reducing the need for the plywood sides of the box to split.

With glue applied to the bottom of the case sides I positioned the base in place and secured it with stainless steel counter sunk screws.

With glue applied to the bottom of the case sides I positioned the base in place and secured it with stainless steel counter sunk screws.

With the base secured it was time to use my router with a flush trim bit to cut the excess material away from the base.

With the base secured it was time to use my router with a flush trim bit to cut the excess material away from the base.

WOODEN PLUGS

I thought it would be nice to add a contrasting wood to the box I thought I had some walnut plugs left over from my last project but I didn’t so I took a solid piece of scrap cherry and used my plug cutter to make my own. This is why I probably never throw away any scrap because I usually find a use for it. So I installed a 3/8” plug cutter into my drill press and cut all the plugs I needed for the case and the bottom.

Here is the 3/8” plug cutter installed into my drill press.

Here is the 3/8” plug cutter installed into my drill press.

All finished cutting the plugs out, no such thing as scrap wood in my shop a 6” piece of wood yielded like 30 plugs.

All finished cutting the plugs out, no such thing as scrap wood in my shop a 6” piece of wood yielded like 30 plugs.

Next was to install the plugs into the counter sunk holes, which is very quick. You just glue them in let the glue set up for like 20 minutes and then come back with a flush cutting saw to trim the excess.

Plugs installed with the glue and my flush cutting saw waiting for the glue to be set.

Plugs installed with the glue and my flush cutting saw waiting for the glue to be set.

Here is the entire back side of the case prior to removing the excess plugs.

Here is the entire back side of the case prior to removing the excess plugs.

To finish the case I needed to do some sanding and use the router to round-over the edges of the box and that is basically it the box is made below you can see a few images of these steps.

Here is the box with the plugs all flushed up and sanded with 150 grit sand paper,I used my random orbital sander to do this.

Here is the box with the plugs all flushed up and sanded with 150 grit sand paper,I used my random orbital sander to do this.

I used my palm router to round-over all sharp edges to the box and that’s basically it the box is now complete.

I used my palm router to round-over all sharp edges to the box and that’s basically it the box is now complete.

THE JENGA BLOCKS

With the box made it was time to turn my attention to the actual Jenga blocks, I will need a total of 54 blocks with the following dimensions 10-1/2” x 3-1/2” x 1-1/2”, so I purchased 6 lengths of 2'“ x 4” x 8’ wood at my local home center. Just incase you didn’t know when you purchase 2x4s there actual dimension is 3-1/2” x 1-1/2”. I also realized when cutting the blocks up why they need to be 10-1/2” long and that is simply because for every vertical Jenga block you can fit 3 horizontally beside it, which is why this dimension is so critical for this game. Its also very important that all blocks have the same thickness of 1-1/2” or the block will be very hard to slide out.

Steps Taken:

  • Cut all 54 blocks at my miter saw station

  • Sanding, sanding and more sanding

MITER SAW STATION

I purchased six 8 foot lengths of 2x4 and broke them down at my miter saw station, I set up a stop block on my Kreg top track at the station and not before long I had cut all my 54 blocks cut.

Here are the 2x4s prior to chopping them up

Here are the 2x4s prior to chopping them up

Here you can see my very dusty miter saw with a stop block set up to the left of the blade to make sure all my cuts were 10-1/2” long.

Here you can see my very dusty miter saw with a stop block set up to the left of the blade to make sure all my cuts were 10-1/2” long.

Here are all the jenga blocks cut to size, because I am using construction grade studs they will need a lot of work using various sanding tools to get them looking and feeling smooth.

Here are all the jenga blocks cut to size, because I am using construction grade studs they will need a lot of work using various sanding tools to get them looking and feeling smooth.

SANDING, SANDING & MORE SANDING

I needed to do a lot of work on finishing the Jenga blocks to be smooth as this was going to be yard game where kids and adults alike would have their hands all over these I needed to spend a lot of time making sure they were smooth, had no potential splinters and they had to be of a decent quality to paint later on.

So my first stop was over to my belt sander, which I purchased at Harbor Freight last year but to be honest its one of them tools that I hardly use but I am so glad I have one when dealing with projects like this. I installed a 100 grit paper on the tool and sanded them. My next step will be to install 120 grit paper and do them again and finally I will buff them with 220 grit paper using my random orbital sander. So yes I still have a lot of sanding to do.

Belt sander installed with 100 grit belt sanding paper.

Belt sander installed with 100 grit belt sanding paper.

I also ran them across my oscillating belt sander with 120 grit paper.

I also ran them across my oscillating belt sander with 120 grit paper.

Gearing to spend the next year sanding these, lol

Gearing to spend the next year sanding these, lol

All 54

All 54

CONSTRUCTION FINISHED

Sanding all the Jenga blocks was the last part to this project as far as woodworking goes, they all need a paint job and that is the wife’s department so I am not completely sure as to when that will be completed, as I am sure you are aware painting is a very time consuming process and to be honest we are not sure on whether to just paint the ends of the blocks or paint the entire Jenga block, but rest assured when they are painted I will post finished pictures of them.

Below are a few pictures of the set, all be it still in the shop waiting for the paint. I would love to wait around for the paint and then post this project in its entirety but I have other projects that need to get started and I need the room and make way for the next project.

IMG_0335.jpg

All Boxed Up

When the game is not being used I have an in built storage box for all the blocks

IMG_0334.jpg

Jenga Tower

This looks enormous but its about 40” tall

Lego Tray: All Finished

So today I finally put all the finishing touches on my sons Lego Tray and I have to say it came out better than expected.

HERE IS WHAT I DID

  • Some Sanding

  • More router work

  • Added Handles

  • Adhered the baseplates to the tray

  • Applied a finish

SOME SANDING

So after the paint had dried on the name I routered into two of the sides it was time to clean that up by sanding it, so I used 80 grit upto 320 grit paper to make the name pop. It isnt a bad job for some free routing.

Needed to sand the entire tray so I worked up from 80 grit to 320 grit for the entire tray.

Needed to sand the entire tray so I worked up from 80 grit to 320 grit for the entire tray.

BEFORE  Sanding

BEFORE Sanding

AFTER  sanding.. came out great

AFTER sanding.. came out great

MORE ROUTER WORK

I also decided that I wanted to router a chamfer along the bottom edge of the tray to give the effect that it is floating on the surface. So I used a chamfer bit in my palm router and did all outside edges of the base.

Here is my palm router with a chamfer bit installed in the Colette

Here is my palm router with a chamfer bit installed in the Colette

Here is a close-up of the chamfered edge as viewed from the bottom of the tray.

Here is a close-up of the chamfered edge as viewed from the bottom of the tray.

Here is a close-up of the camfered edge it really makes the whole tray look like its floating, I love this kind of subtle design element.

Here is a close-up of the camfered edge it really makes the whole tray look like its floating, I love this kind of subtle design element.

ADDED THE HANDLES

I wanted a simple way of carrying the tray around so I just purchased some big box style handles and attached them in the center of the frame components that didnt have his name routered in.

I had wanted to use handles that I made for a project during the summer that I had left over but they were too big to fit on the 1-1/2” wide sides of the trays frame, but these will do.

I had wanted to use handles that I made for a project during the summer that I had left over but they were too big to fit on the 1-1/2” wide sides of the trays frame, but these will do.

Adhered the Base-Plates

Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to take any pictures of me doing this step because I had very little time in getting the gorilla glue onto the Lego base-plates and also the wooden base of the tray. The process was pretty straight forward I needed to scuff the bottom faces of the Lego plates and the plywood base so I used 60 grit sandpaper on both, this gives the gorilla glue a place to go to make sure I get a good contact between the 2.

Here is me using the 60 grit sand paper to rough up the bottom of the Lego bases plates

Here is me using the 60 grit sand paper to rough up the bottom of the Lego bases plates

Here is me doing the same to the plywood base.

Here is me doing the same to the plywood base.

Next I used the gorilla glue to adhere the plates to the plywood and after they were fit in I used some heavy paint cans to weight down the Lego bases so as as that I got a good adherence to the plywood.

Next I added some felt pads to the underside of the tray that way it would npt mark the wooden floors if it go slid around.

Here is a picture of the felt pads.

Here is a picture of the felt pads.

Applied Finish

All that was left to do was to apply a finish and I had some oil based polyurethane leftover from the Beer Flight project I had just completed, I applied 2 coats today and that was it, all finished.

All Finished

Below you can see a slideshow of the completed project, this was a super simple project that anyone can make and it will provide hours of fun to children of all ages.

Thanks for reading this short blog and I will catch you the next time.

Lego Tray For my son

So my wife asked me to make something that my 5 year old son could use with his Lego and I wanted to make him one of those Lego tables with drawers but honestly had no where to put one so I did some research online and found this nifty little project where it is basically a tray that you can set on the floor and build on and when it is not in use he can just slide it under his bed.

I didn’t make any plans for this and pretty much made it on the fly using some scraps I had lying around the shop I did need to get some materials and they are listed in this post.

This project should only take 3 stages and Part one is below:

WHAT I DID TODAY

  • Purchased materials

  • Cut pieces to size

  • Pocket Holes

  • Router Time

  • Assembling the tray

  • Router Time 2.0

  • A little paint

PURCHASE MATERIALS

I went to my local big box store and Target o get some supplies and here is what I got

  • (4) Lego base-plates (10”x10”)

  • 24” x 24” x 3/4” plywood panel

  • Gorilla Glue

  • I used scrap oak and poplar but you will need a piece of 1”x2” x 8” lumber.

  • (2) Utility handles

  • Pocket hole screws 1-1/4”

  • Furniture Pads

Here are all the supplies I got.

Here are all the supplies I got.

Here are the felt pads, screws and 2 handles.

Here are the felt pads, screws and 2 handles.

CUT PIECES TO SIZE

In order to figure out what all the dimensions needed to be for all the parts and the plywood panel I needed to open all the Lego base-plates and get the overall size and it worked out to 20-1/8” square.

so I cut the 3/4” plywood panel to 20-1/8” square on the table saw, and then cut all the wood strips which make up the frame that surrounds the panel.



Here is the wood pieces getting chopped to final size.

Here is the wood pieces getting chopped to final size.

Here is the plywood cut to final size

Here is the plywood cut to final size

POCKET HOLE TIME

In order to attach the outside frame pieces to the base I needed to added a joinjery system so I decided to keep it easy and just add pocket holes so I just add screws to attach the sides while the glue sets up.

I use the Kreg K4 jig and made a station for it where all my accessories for the jig are stored. So I placed 4 pocket holes on each side, below you can see the finished panel and the K4 station.

Here is the finished pocket hole base

Here is the finished pocket hole base

Here is one image of Kreg K4 pocket hole system that I used

Here is one image of Kreg K4 pocket hole system that I used

Here is another image of the Jig

Here is another image of the Jig

ROUTER TIME

I actually used the router twice in this build, I wanted to add my sons name to the outside edges of the frame so I used my Palm router to freehand his name but before I did that I needed to add some outlines of where I wanted to position the name.

Added outlines and even spaces of where I wanted the letters to go.

Added outlines and even spaces of where I wanted the letters to go.

Using my palm router with a 1/4” upcut router bit to carve the letters in.

Using my palm router with a 1/4” upcut router bit to carve the letters in.

Next I used a sharpie marker to write the letters in, also gives me a visual guide when using the router.

Next I used a sharpie marker to write the letters in, also gives me a visual guide when using the router.

Finally his name got carved, I will also adding black paint to the letters to make sure they stand out.

Finally his name got carved, I will also adding black paint to the letters to make sure they stand out.

ASSEMBLING THE TRAY

I took the following steps to assemble the tray:

  • Added glue to the inside faces of the 4 frame parts

  • Assembled them in the clamping jig

  • Inserted all the pocket screws into their respective holes

Here is the panel all set up in the pipe clamp jig, just about getting ready to screw them home. Glue has already been applied to the inside face of the frame pieces.

Here is the panel all set up in the pipe clamp jig, just about getting ready to screw them home. Glue has already been applied to the inside face of the frame pieces.

Here is another image of pipe clamp set-up I used the clamps because when using pocket holes they have the tendency to move the work-piece as you are screwing the pocket hole screws home, this set-up alleviates that.

Here is another image of pipe clamp set-up I used the clamps because when using pocket holes they have the tendency to move the work-piece as you are screwing the pocket hole screws home, this set-up alleviates that.

ROUTER TIME 2.0

I also wanted to add a round-over to all the edges of the frame so that my son didnt hurt himself on the tray, so I took it over to my router table with a round-over bit in the router and did all the outside edges, then I used my palm held router to get the inside edges of the frame and it came out great but tomorrow I will be sanding it down to make it even smoother to the touch.

Here you can see the round-over profile on the outside and inside edges of the frame.

Here you can see the round-over profile on the outside and inside edges of the frame.

A LITTLE PAINT

I wanted to add some black paint to the carved out letters for my sons name so I used some I had on hand and let it dry over night as I will be applying a polyurethane coat tomorrow. I will be sanding this whole surface down tomorrow which hopefully will make his name pop on the tray.

Messy looking right now but I will clean it up tomorrow.

Messy looking right now but I will clean it up tomorrow.

HOW I LEFT IT!!!

Below shows a picture of how I left the project today

Here is the project as I left it today, more finishing work tomorrow

Here is the project as I left it today, more finishing work tomorrow

NEXT

  • Sand the entire project

  • Apply the polyurethane prob 2-3 coats

  • Apply the Lego base-plates using Gorilla Glue