The Giant Jenga Set

Project Details

This project is an easy one that you can get done in a day with minimal materials. I was lucky enough to have a template from which to start; however, you can do it without. To make a Giant Jenga set, you’ll need to cut 54 glorious pieces. So, get ready for repetition. 

Materials List

  • 5 8-ft. 2″x4″ pine stud boards – I like the studs, because they seem to have a nicer finished look and also seem to require less sanding

Tools List

  • Table Saw
  • Chop Saw
  • Orbital or Belt Sander

You could use a circular saw, but it would take a lot longer, and you might have fewer clean lines. I’ve outlined the adjusted process in the For Circular Saw Users section below.

As always, when you’re selecting your wood, make sure to choose the straightest, least marred pieces. Since you are using all of the board, make sure to check the ends and both sides to assure there aren’t huge chunks out of the ends or anything that would mess up your final pieces. I chose to use 8-foot 2″x4″ stud boards. They appear smoother and lighter in the store and seem to have fewer knots. You could use regular pine, if desired.

The final size of each piece is 2 1/2″ x 7 3/4″. First, you will need to rip your boards to width using the table saw.

A few notes on the table saw: 

  • Make sure to set up an out-feed table that will support most of the board once it has gone through the saw. If unsupported, it could pop off the blade and/or cause injury.
  • Let the saw do its work. Don’t push the piece through, just guide it and assure it is staying up against the saw fence. If you don’t keep the board against the fence, there is a high probability you will jam the blade or get a really uneven cut.
  • Use a push block to keep your fingers away from the blade when you are guiding the final edge of the board through the saw. 
  • Always use eye, ear, and lung protection when the saw is on. It’s loud and throws sawdust everywhere.

Square one side of the boards by taking off 1/4″. This will give you a flat side that you can run right up against the saw fence. If you have parts of the wood that are problematic (chunks missing, big splits, etc.), make sure to plan your cuts to rip off that side.

For the second side of the board, reset your table saw fence to 2.5″ and make sure that the distance between the inside of the blade and the fence is 2.5″. Run your boards with the flat side to the fence.

I like to sand the majority of the board before chopping to length. I used a high grit paper (150 and 220) to get a smooth final finish. As I was sanding, I chamfered the edges. Meaning, I ran the sander at a 45-degree angle to take off the sharp 90-degree corners. This helps with the wood splitting when it falls AND, most importantly, will help with not getting splinters. 

Now, it’s time for the chop saw. Because I didn’t want to measure 54 pieces at 7 3/4″, I set up a stop block on the fence of my chop saw. It’s basically a scrap piece of wood clamped to the saw that will stop the wood at a certain length. I had a template Jenga block, but I assume that you might not. I would measure ONE piece to 7 3/4″ and cut. Then, set your stop block where your Jenga block sits snugly between the blade and stop block. 

Now, you can chop down the rest of the 53 pieces at the exact same length with no more measuring! Make sure you have some sort of support for the long end of the boards. You’ll run into the same problems as with the table saw if you don’t. 

Finally, sand down the ends and edges in your highest grit. Once you are satisfied with your pieces, you are ready to dominate at Giant Jenga!

For Circular Saw Users

I’m really proud of you for doing this project with your mighty circular saw. It was my first saw, and I love it so. 

However, it makes the order of operations for this project a little trickier. I would switch it to the following: 

  • Sand your boards and chamfer the edges.
  • Mark both edges along the length of your board: 1/4″ on one side and 2 1/2″ from your 1/4″ line.
  • You are going to cut the blocks to length first. You should mark each block to assure a straight cut. Since the saw blade takes a little out for each cut, I would cut one at 7 3/4″ and then use it to mark every cut line after. Align. Mark. Cut. Align. Mark. Cut…etc. If you mark everything and then cut, your cuts might creep into the lengths of the other blocks, making them uneven.
  • Trim the sides of your blocks along the marked lines with your circular saw. I would say to do this first, but circular saws have a tendency to get jammed up on long rip cuts. If the blade isn’t held perfectly straight, it throws a fit and stops working. 
  • Sand blocks again and remember to chamfer the edges.