The Dale Maley Family Web Site


Pound a Peg Game

When I was a kid in the 1960's, we had this game. Each peg, or 3/4" dowel, was split on one end. You started the dowel in the hole with the un-split end, then drove the peg down until it was flush.  You could turn over the game, then pound it back the other way.

The modern versions of this game use an o-ring type piece of plastic with 4 nubs to create friction on the wood pegs.  After a little bit of use, the nubs wear down, and the pegs just fall through the hole.

My wife brought me the worn out toy, and asked me to fix it, or come up with a new design.

I remembered a design I tried back in the early 1980's when my kids were small. It called for a piece of spring steel to create the friction........and I had trouble with the spring steel, and gave up making one.

I went to my library, and I still have the 1981 book.  It is out of print now.

My Design

On the modern game, the dowels are 3-1/8" long and about 3/4" diameter.  I like the longer dowels from a choking point of view.

On the wooden locks that I build, Ash wood is used as the spring in all of these locks. It works very well for the lock application.

So on my design, I knew the dowel size.........and that I wanted to use an Ash spring.  I went into  Sketchup and came up with my own design.......

There is probably some way to calculate the 2 radii of the track, but I just laid it out in Sketchup.  I rotated the dowel every 15 degrees to see how it's position changed........then added a circle with enough room for the bending of the dowels.

We will build just the center portion and give it a trial run before we build the whole game.

I glued up (2) 2x4's, then planed them to 7/8" thickness, because 7/8" is a little bigger than the 3/4" dowels.

I temporarily clamped the upper and bottom pieces of the track to a scrap board.  I took a video of trying out the design......

Wow, it works just like how I laid it out in Sketchup!!  Hooray!

I showed it to my wife, she liked it..........then says, "You are putting plexi-glass on the side so the child can see how it works?"

So next is a search of my shop to see if I have any plexi-glass big enough for this project.


My original design was for the main piece with the curved track to be 12 - 1/2" wide and 6 -3/8" tall.

I found I had one piece of plexiglass left from the project where I built a clear cover for a 1856 Railroad lock.  I bought 3 pieces, nominally 6x12" and 1/8" thick from McMaster-carr...............................

I had one  full sheet left from the 1856 Railroad lock project, but the actual measurement is 11.5 x 6 inches. I don't need to have a perfect fit, meaning the plexi-glass size is the same as the main wood center piece. I also don't want to have to cut the sheet, if I don't have to.  I will use the acrylic sheet the way it is.

I decided to paint the main body white, and the 2 ends red. I used blue masking tape on the white body, when I painted the ends red.....but the red paint got under the masking tape a little bit :(   I will have to hand touch up the corners with white paint.

I put the oven at 120F, or there-abouts, and dry painted stuff in 10 minute cycles. If you go more than 10 minutes, many times you get bubbling of the paint. The top will be maple with a clear gloss finish.

Finishing Touches

I decided to use brass screws to hold the clear acrylic sheet in place.  I made a hard maple top for the toy, and put on 2 coats of clear gloss polyurethane. I made the top hole in the maple 7/8".  This gives enough clearance for the 3/4" pegs, and you you get them started, they will stand up while you pound them.

Finished Pound a Peg toy

The white color on the main board with the curved track, really makes the colored pegs easy to see.

I made a Youtube video to show the new toy in action........................

Closing Thoughts on This Project

Once I give this toy to my grandson, it will be interesting to see how it lasts.  I predict the ash spring will last through many hours of pounding :)

I left the Ash spring loose in the finished game. I had to adjust the tension after final assembly, because the 2 curved pieces changed position slightly when I glued them to the solid board. Because the acrylic sheet is attached with 4 brass screws, one can always adjust or repair the Ash spring if needed in the future.