For last new years eve, we visited my brother and his wife, who live about four hours’ drive from us. We had a great time celebrating with them, and my brother and I enjoyed spending time together working on this project. They were hosting a party at their home the following week, and they wanted to have a giant wood block stacking game (think Jenga on steroids) for their guests to enjoy.
We started by deciding how many blocks to make (72), and then calculated the number of boards needed before we headed off to get the lumber. If you are planning to make this game, adjust for the number of blocks that you want to make, and refer to the lists below to help with your preparation.
- 8 – 2X4 boards (We bought 96″ long boards – if you buy precut studs, they will be shorter and you will only get 7 blocks from each board.
- Stain or wax finish (optional)
- Miter saw
- Tape Measure
- Sanding block or sander
- Safety glasses and gloves
Making the Game
One of my brother’s christmas gifts was a motorized miter saw, so before we did any cutting, we set it up and adjusted everything so it would cut square. We cut a template block of the right length (10.5″) and used it to mark each subsequent block that we cut.
Tip: Using a template block is an easy way to get all the other blocks the right length. If you mark the blocks all at once by laying a tape measure down the length of the board and marking every 10.5″, you don’t account for the width of the saw blade, so the first block cut from each board will be the right length, but the remaining ones will be shorter by the saw blade’s width.
The 8 2X4s yielded 72 blocks. We used nice lumber, so not much sanding was needed. Cheaper wood usually means more sanding.
Tip: when selecting your wood, sight down the edges and get the straightest boards possible. Straight, smooth blocks will slide from the stack much easier.
After all the cutting and sanding, we hauled all the blocks down to his basement and stacked them so we could play.
It was more difficult than we expected to get the stack straight, but with both of us working it and using a piece of plywood to align the edges of the blocks, we were able to do it.