Weekend Project – Peg Board

Wednesday 11 July 2018

When making large items of furniture there always seems to be a few short ends left over, this project for a 'W' shaped peg board is a good way of utilising them.

These pegs were made for a gallery where they were to be used to display scarves and other accessories.

Oak (Quercus robur) was the material chosen, the pegs were relatively large in size with a ball end rather than a Shaker style end so that items would be a little more secure. If the pegs are to be used in a domestic situation and you prefer, it will be a simple matter to scale them down.


When using oak material which has been sawn through and through there is usually a strip of sapwood along one or both edges. In my case the board I used was rather wide and had been sawn from near the centre of the tree, there was sapwood along one edge and a few shakes near the other edge which had been at the centre.

The peg board


Draw a straight line near one edge so that the extent of the sapwood is marked. With a bandsaw fitted with a 12mm skiptooth blade, saw along the marked line, so that all the sapwood is removed.


Next, plane the sawn edge to provide a straight surface to bear against the bandsaw fence.


Adjust the fence so that the maximum width can be obtained eliminating any shakes or defects.


Use the planer to plane one face of each board flat and then pass them through the thicknesser a few times to finish with a thickness of about 22mm.


The 'W' is joined together with halving joints, which after gluing together are reinforced with the pins turned on the ends of the pegs. Form the halving joints on the edge of each section of the 'W', with a router guided by a straight piece of wood cramped to the surface. Set the straight cutter used in the router so that it takes out exactly half the depth of the wood. It is a advisable to try it on a piece of scrap first.


Rather than cut the housing on the end of each section separately if your offcuts are sufficiently wide, you need to take out the housings and then saw the wood into strips before planing the edges to finish with 50mm wide pieces.


Trim the length of the housings so they allow a little for trimming after they are glued together. Apply glue to one face of each housing and then hold in position with G-cramps until set.


Trim any slight projection at the ends, then sand smooth. Because of the opposing grain direction a small orbital sander is useful when sanding flat and level. The pegs used have a 12mm diameter pin turned on one end; this is used to reinforce the halving joints.


Using a bench drill to ensure the holes are vertical drill a 12mm diameter hole at the peg positions. To complete the 'W' to receive the pegs, work a 6mm radius all round the 'W' using a self guided rounding over bit in a router.

Preparing the peg blanks


To turn the pegs you will need blanks which are 22mm in cross section and about 190mm long to allow for mounting between centres and trimming. Prepare the blanks for turning by marking diagonals at each end, the easiest way if you have one is to use a Veritas centre finder. If you trim the corners of the blanks at a 45º angle on the bandsaw it will save a little time when turning.

Turning the pegs


Mount the pegs between centres and use a spindle roughing gouge to shape to a cylinder.


With a large skew chisel plane the cylinder smooth; to avoid a dig in you should only use the centre third of the chisel for the operation.


With a small parting tool narrow the end down to mark the top end of the ball.


Use the short end of the skew chisel to form the upper end of the ball before repeating this operation to complete the ball down to the diameter of the upper part of the peg.


With a shallow spindle roughing gouge followed by a skew chisel alone continue the shaping of the peg.


Form a sharp edge at the start of the stem with the long corner of the skew chisel. To avoid a dig in just cut with the extreme point angled slightly away from the surface you are forming, then use a parting tool to complete the pin down to 12mm diameter.


Check to make sure your pins are a good fit in the holes.If you are turning the pegs in pine (Pinus spp.) the diameter can be a little over size because the wood being soft will compress slightly when entering the hole, but when using oak you are more likely to split the backing board if you are not careful. Mount the pin in a chuck then use a large scraper to trim the ends. Sand the pegs to 240 grit, then burnish the pegs with a handful of shavings.

Completing the pegs


Apply glue to to the holes drilled in the back board but not the pins turned on the pegs, then insert the pegs. When set, trim the ends of the pins with a flush cutting saw. After sanding the back the pegs and board are finished with a coat of clear wax polish.


The finished peg board, ready to mount on the wall.