Summer hit, and it hit hard. We had a pretty mild spring here in the DC area, but when summer hit, we all felt it (and still are). Growing up, summer always meant barbecues – with my parents, with the neighbors, at friends houses, and especially after swim meets.. even when it was 110+ degrees outside. So when summer finally hit here and we got our new grill set up, I was so excited to finally host a barbecue with all our friends over. But I couldn’t just have any old barbecue..
Enter Giant Jenga!
I made a couple of these last summer and sold them on my Etsy shop (more are coming soon!). They were always a hit at barbecue’s and kept everyone entertained, young and old.
Thankfully the weather cooperated, and even after a quick downpour early in the afternoon, it cooled down quite a bit and made for a spectacular evening.
So how do you make one of these? Easy. The hardest part is honestly finding straight enough 2×4’s to work with. I’ve spent 30+ minutes searching through the stack of 2×4’s just to get 6 quality boards.
6 – 2’x4’x8′ as straight and unblemished as possible
Start by setting up your Chop Saw/Miter, ensuring all necessary protections are in place (smooth surface, all hazards out of the way, etc).
Measure and cut a 10.5″ piece from your first 2×4
Use that piece to set up a “stop” to cut the rest of your pieces (you will need 54 total pieces for a standard Jenga).
Now all you need to do is use that stop and cut the remaining pieces. You should be able to get 9 total pieces out of an 8′ board with a tiny bit of scrap at the end. Every so often I’ll double check the measurement of a cut piece to make sure the stop hasn’t moved.
Next, I like to sand my pieces. This isn’t absolutely necessary, but I think it’s a nice touch, not to mention it prevents anyone from getting any splinters while playing.
The first time I made one of these I was naive enough to think I could do it with my hand held orbital sander. That was a mistake.. I thought my hand was going to fall off by the end of it, but I was determined to get it done (and I knew if I stopped I probably wouldn’t come back to it).
For the next set I borrowed a friend’s bench sander.. this changed my life. It sped up production by over 100% and enabled me to produce a much higher quality product. I finally bought my own Ryobi Bench Sander to use a couple weeks ago and I LOVE it. We have used it for a few different projects already and I know it’s going to be a huge asset for future projects.