This classic game is made to travel with built-in peg storage.
“Last Man Standing” is a wooden game from days gone by. It’s played like checkers with one hole left open on the board. The object is to use one peg to jump over and claim another peg, moving horizontally or diagonally, until just one peg remains. On some versions of this game the pegs store in their holes, which makes them easy to lose. In our design, however, a storage compartment underneath stows all 14 pegs inside the game board. Two pairs of rare-earth magnets keep the bottom lid closed. We’ll use cut nails for pegs, but you could also use other nails, golf tees or even shelf pins.
Step 1: Download and print out three copies of the PDF Peg Game Drilling Template. Download the peg game template.
Step 2: Prepare one 7/8-in.-thick blank and one 1/4-in.-thick blank for the game board and bottom lid. Here’s a nice opportunity to use a few scraps of highly figured hardwood you’ve been saving for a special purpose.
Step 3: Cut out and affix one paper template to the bottom face of your game board blank with spray mount adhesive. Use a J-roller or a soft cloth to press the paper firmly into place.
Step 4: Drill or rout out the peg storage compartment to a depth of 1/2 in. You can use a 2 3/4-in.-diameter Forstner bit to make the recess as we show here (see Photo 1). Or rout out the waste with a trim router and small-diameter straight bit. If you use a router, make a series of shallow passes, resetting the tool for a deeper cut each time.
Step 5: Drill two 3/8-in.-diameter holes, 3/32 in. deep, where marked on the template. These will house two thin rare earth magnets.
Step 6: Temporarily attach the bottom lid blank to the bare face of the game board with double-sided tape. Now cut both workpieces to shape on a band saw, following the template (see Photo 2). Separate the parts and remove the tape.
Step 7: Cut out the remaining two paper templates. Mount the second template to the blank side of the game board, making sure to keep it in the same orientation as the template on the other face. Mount the third template to the bottom lid workpiece.
Step 8: Drill the 15 peg holes into the game board template you installed in Step 7. Make these holes 1/4 in. deep with a 7/64-in.-diameter drill bit (see Photo 3). Note: Two of the peg holes are centered on the magnet locations you drilled in Step 5. Once all of the holes are drilled, remove both templates from the game board by soaking the paper with mineral spirits. Wipe off any adhesive residue.
Step 9: Drill two recesses for magnets in the bottom lid workpiece, as you did in Step 5. Bore a 1/8-in.-diameter pivot screw pilot hole through the bottom lid where it’s marked on the template (see Photo 4).
Step 10: Glue the four magnets into their recesses in the game board and bottom lid with dabs of epoxy or cyanoacrylate glue (see Photo 5). Make sure the magnets will come together with opposite poles facing when the project is assembled so they’ll attract one another. Sand the workpieces up through the grits to 180.
Step 11: Fasten the bottom lid to the game board with a 1-in.-long, #8 flathead wood screw driven into a shallow countersink (see Photo 6). Apply a little paste wax to the threads so it’s easier to drive the screw home.
Step 12: Ease the edges of the game with a chamfer or roundover bit in a trim router (see Photo 7). Disassemble the game board and lid to give the project a final sanding with 220-grit paper. Apply two or three thin coats of spray finish, and reinstall the lid when the finish cures. Now, try your hand and see if you can leave just one man standing!