Make a “Connect Four” game

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I’ve been fussing with this project for a week now, trying to come up with a good way to pull it off and a design that was simple enough to actually make sense. Sadly, I had ignored the most crucial part — wood choice.

I began cutting wood yesterday. I wanted the game to be lightweight so I pulled out some quarter inch scrap plywood from my stock.

I was a bit worried that the plywood may not be able to withstand the boring of 42 holes. Well, it wasn’t. The top layer of veneer peeled off almost every hole. I thought I could correct the problem by sloshing on a bunch of wood filler into the torn areas. Damn. This is a lesson in doing things right the first time.

This morning I went over to the lumber yard and picked up a sheet of MDF. It cost $21, but I have tons left to use for future projects. It worked like a dream.

So woodworking purists, this project will make you cringe. It’s made completely with manufactured wood. Horrors.

I gotta tell you, I have become an MDF convert. Look, if you are building something utilitarian — something that you’ll slap a coat of paint on — go with MDF. Yeah, yeah, yeah…it ain’t exactly like making period furniture, but you’ll have fun in your shop.

Here’s my PDF template of the Connect 4 game if you’d like to try one out yourself.

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14 COMMENTS

  1. I’m so glad I found your site. I enjoy your woodworking humor, and projects. The connect 4 game seems very interesting and is probably easy to build. I really liked it. Can’t wait to see other projects you come up with..

    whitenite1

  2. Hello from Russia. The things you are making probably useless for me, but I like to watch your videos anyway. Thank you for them.
    I’ve a suggestion for the future topics.
    Please would you describe your croscutting sled for the tablesaw (and may some other useful jigs that you’ve collected over the time)? Sure that we’ll get some great ideas !
    Best regards, Alexander (Moscow, Russia)

  3. Alexander, thanks…yeah, I seem to make a lot of less-than-needed stuff! I have been getting a number of requests for a video on the crosscut sled. The one I made is actually a little too big for most of what I do and am thinking about making a smaller, simpler one. I’ll cetrainly post a video when I do it. I’d also like to make a decent miter sled.

    You might want to check out my drill press table. It’s a really handy accessory:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWn1lRTuOlk

  4. Steve, fun project, but I have a few questions. I’ve never used carpet tape before, but I’ve used MDF. From yours and other videos I’ve seen where people use carpet tape and seeing how strongly it adheres, and knowing the outer layer of MDF is a lot like paper, I would have thought it would tear the MDF when pulling it off. But it doesn’t? Or is there something different about your MDF from the MDF that I’ve used?

    Not a question here, but a comment. Be careful with the MDF dust. As I’m sure you know, MDF creates a LOT of very fine dust and that stuff ain’t real healthy for your lungs.

    Did any of the checkers you made get thrown by the table saw? Even using the sled, it looked like that was very possible since the piece was being “pinched” between your blade and stop block and was too small to be held down to keep control of it. I had a kickback incident recently with a free cut off piece that wasn’t even wedged or pinched against the blade, so maybe I’m just still a little jittery from that.

    Last question. I played Connect Four as a kid. I play it now with my son. I’ve only ever seen 2 colors (black and red) for the pieces. Is there a 4 player variation?

  5. hey tyler here
    im twelve and i love all your projects i try to build them i love th one with 10 cent labrinth
    of yea when you did your teeny box and earrings you said they like 2 thing you forgot shiny though nice vid i like your channel

  6. Greetings from Atlanta, Georgia! I just wanted to post this as an FYI in case anyone else decides to build this. If you go by the layout in the template (even to the point of using 1/8″ for the dividers), discs made from a 1-1/4″ dowel WILL NOT drop into the holes. If you print the template at full scale size and measure the distance between the dividers, it is 1-1/4″. Also, if you measure the diameter of the dotted circles, they are 1-1/8″, not 1-1/4″ as listed at the top of the template. I believe based on the divider layout (and after building it) that 1-1/8″ is the proper disc size. If you really did use discs made from a 1-1/4″ dowel in the video with that layout, I don’t know how you got them to work.

    One other thing, which was mentioned by a previous poster, is that when cutting the dowel, my table saw literally ‘throws’ the pieces across the room when I slide my sled back after cutting. (BTW, I built the sled you made in another video, so you have a reference for what I’m using.) It’s really tedious to have to shut off the blade for each piece before sliding back to prevent that from happening. Do you have any tips on how to avoid this problem without having to shut off the saw?

    I love your videos, as they’re the main reason I started woodworking a few weeks ago. Any advice is greatly appreciated, and I look forward to more great projects like this!

  7. I attempted to make a connect 4 game last summer. First I tried, like you, using plywood. Same result – shredded wheat. Next I tried some 1/8″ walnut I had laying around, same result, disaster. I finally gave up and went on to another project. Your video has given me new confidence. As soon as the 4-6 inches of Missouri ‘global warming’ goes away and it warms up a little I’m going to try it again. Maybe Oak this time. Thanks for all the tips and projects.

  8. Hi, the connect 4 is just the thing for my Design and Technology students, many thanks. Have just got to convert the dimensions to metric so that they are not confused

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