Tabletop Skittles




oetail of door cut-out

Wind the string around the top and insert the top in the slot Support it with one hand inside the box and ghre the string a steady pull with the ^ other hand.

I/» SLOT FOU «TUM« i* OIA HCL € t cxPiooeo view cut-out for starting top

need to turn the top, 15 skittles and a handle for the top's string.

Before you start cutting, read the instructions once or twice and study the drawings so you'll know how things go together.

Cut all the plywood parts to the dimensions shown in the drawing. Cut the dadoes with a dado head on the radial arm saw or tablesaw or with a V>in. straight bit in a router. Cut the rabbet that runs around the bottom on either the tablesaw or with a router.

The next step is to saw out the door openings and the top cutout in one end of the box. Mark center points as shown in the drawing and drill on these centers to form the radiused comers of the openings. You may want to stack the four small dividers and drill and cut them all at one time. After drilling the holes, cut out the openings with a coping saw, bandsaw or saber saw. Sand all the plywood parts before assembly.

Assemble the box, except for the bottom and the strips that secure the bottom in place, with glue and small finishing nails. Be sure to keep everything square.

Fit the bottom board into the rabbet in the bottom of the box. With the bottom in place, mark the location of all the walls. Remove the bottom and drill and countersink pilot holes for flat head wood screws to fasten the bottom to the walls.

Stain or paint the walls of the game board and paint the bottom board white. Apply two coats of white paint, sanding lightly between coats. Rub the final coat lightly with 0000 steel wool and paint the 15 pin markers and score numbers on the bottom. I used a drawing pen with india ink but black enamel would work fine. Note that the numbers are all positioned so they can be read from the playing end of the board.

After painting the circles and numbers, put a coat of varnish over the entire bottom board and rub it lightly with 0000 steel wool when dry. Apply a coat of paste wax and screw the bottom to the box. Glue in the strips that secure the bottom in its rabbet.

Turn the top, the 15 pins, and the top-string handle between centers on the lathe from an easv-to-turn hardwood like poplar, cherry or maple. You may want to paint the pins and top—it's up to you. Tie a 15-in. long string to the handle, and you're ready to plav.

Playing the Game

Place the game on a flat surface and set the skittles on their spots. Wind the string around the top and insert the top in the slot at the end of the board. Support the top with one hand inside the box and give the string a steady pull with the other hand. The top will spin around, knocking over any skittles in its path. For a faster game, raise the end of the game board 7* in. or so to incline the playing field slightly.

You can plav the game one of two ways—until one player reaches a predetermined number of points, such as 100, or until each player takes a predetermined number of turns with the top. In the latter, the player with the highest number of points at the last turn is the winner.

If the top tends to stay in one spot instead of moving around the board, try flattening the point of the top a bit more with a file or a piece of sandpaper. This makes the top less stable and more inclined to wander. A

John A. Nelson is a high school drafting teacher and a con-tributingeditoro/" AMERICAN WOODWORKER.



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