Finished Product

Derik’s Thoughtful Gift, A Cribbage Chest

A very special handmade gift from our son-in-law, Derik, that I just had to share…

For Christmas each year the adults in our family draw names.  This year was no exception and on Christmas Day we shared one another’s gifts and revealed who our “Secret Santas” were.

Cribbage Chest made by Derik

Marv’s was a particularly mysterious gift.  It was wrapped and was the largest present under our tree, or should I say next to it, because it would not fit under the tree.  We learned that our son-in-law, Derik, had drawn Marv’s name and then set about to make a very special gift indeed.

The wood burned Sparrell and sturgeon on the front side of the chest.

As Marv began to unwrap his gift, it was clear from the start, that Derik had gone to a lot of work to make this very unique gift.

Beneath the gift wrap was a wooden chest.  On the front of the chest, Derik had wood burned “Sparrell” and a sturgeon fish.

Marv and his Dad did a lot of sturgeon fishing after his parents moved and retired on the coast of Washington.  This was a great tribute to some very special times that Marv spent with his Dad.


The open chest

When Marv opened the chest, the purpose of the chest became very clear.

Marv and his Dad loved to play cribbage and would play almost non-stop when we were on vacation or together.  They enjoyed challenging one another.

Inside the chest were playing cards, pegs and three custom-made cribbage boards.  Marv was speechless.

Marv’s Cribbage Board with pics of him and his Dad with their sturgeon catch





On the top cribbage board, Derik inserted photos of Marv and his Dad with a day’s catch.  It was so much fun to see these photos again and relive their excitement of sharing their sturgeon catch.


Second cribbage board, with a map of the peninsula on Willapa Bay

On the other two cribbage boards, Derik had wood burned into the boards a map showing Willapa Bay, where Marv’s folks lived during their retirement.  He also wood burned, “Charlie’s Board” as Charlie is Marv’s nickname and he was especially called that by his Dad.

Of course, there is also a sturgeon depicted on each of these boards as well.  They really are something!

Third cribbage board that Derik made



The more we looked at the boards, the more impressed we became as there was so much detailed work on each board.

One can only imagine the amount of time and effort that Derik gave to make such a special gift.

But, that is not the end of the surprises contained in the Cribbage Chest…


The limerick that Derik burned into the underside of the cover of the chest.

In addition to the beautiful artwork that Derik had burned into the cribbage boards and the outside of the chest, he also wrote a limerick about Marv and his Dad and had burned that into the underside cover of the chest.  It reads,

“Once there were some men from the coast

Fishing and cribbage greats, the locals did boast

You’ll be over the barrel, skunked by a Sparrell

If you decided to play

It’s at your own peril.”

Looking down into the cribbage chest – along with book of rules for cribbage.


His limerick was very clever and oh so true.  There still, however, was another surprise contained within this amazing gift.  If you look into the chest (which also came with a Handbook of Cribbage rule book), you would see the cards, rule book, 3 cribbage boards, a small leather bag with pegs for each board and if you removed all those, you would discover that the chest had a false bottom.

The Treasure Map from the 1985 Goonies movie that was filmed in Astoria, OR



You could carefully lift out the false bottom, and it would reveal a Treasure Map from the 1985 Goonies movie that Derik had burned into the bottom of the inside of the chest.  We were (and still are) all blown away by all the work and detail Derik had incorporated  into this very relevant and meaningful gift for Marv.

Ready to play the next challenger…



Of course, the cribbage boards have already been played when we had our First Annual Cribbage tournament with our kids and grandkids the week after Christmas.  Now the Cribbage Chest remains in our game room and Marv is ready for the next challenger.  He’ll be pleased to play and share his special gift from Derik.

One last note, for any of those who know Derik, you will recognize his artistic talents at work.  He is truly a wonderfully, talented  artist.  However, for this project, he taught himself how to wood burn, because he had never wood burned before.  As you can see, he did an incredible job on his first and very special, wood burning project.

Thanks again, Derik, for your thoughtful gift that is already a family heirloom!  It really meant a lot to Marv and all of us and we so love and appreciate you!!!


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