Carbels, Wahoo, Agrivation

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The game has many names and many different ways to play but the boards are usually pretty similar. The game boards have shown up in other posts I've made because the are great platforms for testing finishes. They are flat easily finished boards that I can sell to someone and don't end up having to keep around.

The start is gluing up a panel like every other panel you've ever glued up. The dimensions to shoot for are 20" x 18" for the size board I've made a template for.  I've done them in either grain direction and they all have come out looking good. for me 18" i a bit larger than my planer can take so if i use lumber that is at all difficult and doesn't want to stay flat i flatten the board with my drum sander. After i get the panel I use one of my templates to trace the outline of the board and rough cut with the band saw. I don't have any pictures of this so you'll have to use you imagination.

The tedious part is making the template for the marble holes. I use Chinese checker marbles that i buy off of amazon for the game pieces. The marbles are a hair over 1/2" in diameter so i garbed a 1/4" radius round nose bit.


Then i figured out a 5/8" guide bushing would be perfect to guide a router using a 1/4" mdf template. First i needed to figure out how to draw a perfect hexagon, which was more difficult than you'd think. Figured that out and got a template blank. Now i needed to get each player zone marked out so they were identical so i made another template that was just the player zone that i could rotate around the main template.


Main template with player zone on top. I drilled the holes with a 5/8" forstner bit. It was tedious boring and annoying at times.


The other side of the board has a layout for 4 players. I used my player zone template to figure out a layout on that side and went back to the drill press and forstner bit.


1 or 2 of the holes aren't perfect. I did this on purpose so that it had that nice hand made charm :D. After you make the templates once you never have to remake them as long as you don't' damage them. To route the holes in the boards i set up my router to take slightly under 1/4" cut depth. Then it's as simple as putting the bushing in the hole and plunging down, over and over and over again. Just keep plunging.  Just keep plunging.  Just keep plunging. It's not bad i can route out both sides of a board in 10 min. To secure the template i just clamp the board and template to my work bench with 3 clamps so at any 1 time there is always 2 clamps on the template. Using double stick tape would just ruin the template eventually and it's not really necessary.

Next step is finishing. I usually take a small brush and get some shellac in the holes so the paint doesn't get absorbed instantly. This makes the painting go faster.


I almost always pre-seal with shellac. Just in-case the paint wanders outside the hole it makes quicker work of removing the mistake.


Here are 2 made out of Apple wood. It shows both sides painted.



After pain i sand any mistakes and then finish. Some boards get another coat of shellac then a quick wipe of oil poly avoiding the holes. I ALWAYS do WB finish sprayed by HVLP because the holes are miserable to finish buy any wiping or brushing method. I coated 5 boards in less time then it takes to do 1 side of 1 board with a wiping method. That and the finish is just sexy. The last coat i usually dust to get that nice matte texture that i only thought one could get from a pro finishing shop.


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Nice looking game boards. Waaaay nicer then store bought, and it could be a good way to use up scraps.

You going to Etsy-ize these or are they going as gifts?

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22 minutes ago, Chet said:

Nice looking game boards. Waaaay nicer then store bought, and it could be a good way to use up scraps.

You going to Etsy-ize these or are they going as gifts?

So far it's just through the grape vine sales to friends and family. I don't really charge enough to make it worth while. I could batch them out and do some etsy stuff but for the peanuts I'd make it's just not worth the effort.

It is a great way to use up some of the larger scraps but it always seems like my scraps are just a hair too short. If you use smaller boards towards the outside it gets more tricky to glue. The last batch i made 5 in 1 go and it went way faster than doing them one at a time. Not surprising but to make that many using scraps isn't really viable so the material cost is higher.

End goal is to find unique material that is odd sized or too small for furniture and to make unique boards. Could also incorporate some wood burning of logos into the middle of the board ect. Making them from urban loged trees (the apple tree boards) makes the material free but adds to material processing time.

Cost per board is around $8 in wood $3 for the marbles and around $3 for finish. There is probably a good $10 in epoxy in the apple boards to fill voids and defects. I sell them for $50 and they take about 2 hours of my time per board and an hour of Megan's time (she pains the colors).

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5 hours ago, Chestnut said:


It's as simple as Just keep plunging.  Just keep plunging.  Just keep plunging. 





Awesome finished boards.. and I liked the Dory reference

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