After a flurry of activity getting all of the pieces cut over Christmas shutdown, I sort of fell into a lull on this project. Mostly I was trying to find a suitable material with which to build the board.
My initial thought was to use glass mosaic tiles, similar to my coffee table (see projects). I really liked the idea of it, so I started looking for suitable tiles. This came to be a somewhat painful process, as I needed two sets of tiles that would work well with the walnut and maple, work well with each other, and be reasonably priced, since this whole ordeal is still in the experimental phases.
The first “I love you mosaic tile” candidate I came across was “crackled glass” in brown and tan colors (the third color had a pink hue to it that I really didn’t like). I believe the color names were “clove” and “something else I can’t remember right now that wasn’t tan but in reality was just tan.” Well, as you might expect of a company that names it’s colors “clove” and “whatever else that color was other than tan” I found out that ordering single sheets 1 foot by 1 foot with 36 tiles each, in two colors, was going to run my $50 per square foot. Now I’m not saying it wouldn’t have turned out awesome or been worth it, but being as how I had not yet been able to lay eyes on a finished version to assess the worth, I was a bit hesitant to break the bank on my first go-round and $50/sq ft is just plain against my principles to begin with. I left the store with my tail tucked between my legs and moved on to another tile store.
Queue Adams Tile in Marion, Iowa. They had some stone mosaics that I thought would work, but only had the light color in stock. The salesman called their local distributor who had the darker color and said they’d send one over with the next shipment. We cut a deal and shook on $15 total for the two sq feet, although when it came in he said they were trying to clear out what little they had left of it and gave it to me for free. This is where I shamelessly plug their excellent customer service and tell everyone that if they’re in the market for tile, I’d suggest giving them a chance to be your supplier as well.
Not much to piecing together the playing surface. I used craft contact cement to put down the stone tiles after ripping them all off the backer matting. The only ‘woodworking’ was to rip a plywood square 20” x 20”. To get things started, I found the center and used a large drafting square to mark the ”+” on the board. I laid out the tiles on each side of both lines, eyeballing the spacing. I should have stopped and taken a picture here, but I was on a roll and Queen’s “Don’t stop me now” was practically my anthem.
After getting down the double-row ”+” on the board, I took a combination square, set the depth to the edge of the tiles from the edge of the board, and drew in the alignment marks to fill in the corners. This went pretty fast and what I ended up with resembles a chess board. I won’t grout it until after I get the box built and have this mounted.
Now it’s on to the box, which after much agonizing about what to do, I think I have a plan for.