Jumbo Dice. +some insights

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Project by Elyasaf Shweka posted 07-30-2015 01:03 PM 2282 views 4 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A simple project with some insights.
Walnut and spruce, 45X45 mm.
Finish – 2 coats of rustin’s danish oil.

My parents got a new backgammon set, on the occasion of their 50th(!) anniversary. Since my dad’s vision is recently impairing, i wanted to make him a jumbo-size dice set, so he could see the dots without an effort.

The project is pretty much straight forward, and it took only a few hours from the first idea until I was holding the finished die in my hand:
solid walnut, planning, cutting and sanding, marking holes (paper template), drilling (5mm depth), gluing the dowels, cutting flush, trimming the edges, final sanding, oil finish.
I would prefer using a maple dowel instead of spruce, but its not available at the local stores here, and i figured that making a costume dowel would be too much effort with only a slight improvement (lighter color)

Does it work? well, I honestly don’t know. no one never tried. and this led me to some thoughts about my woodworking in general:

Truth is I wasn’t really expecting these to actually “work”. I believe that although improving and helping my dad’s vision is a noble thing, showing him that we constantly worry and care about him is important no less.
I am aware that the precision is not sufficient to get a real randomized result. In addition, since the cube is solid and not glued, every face is different (face grain, end grain, long grain), and every face also differ in weight, depending on the number of dowels that are inserted. Also, The dice won’t roll well due to the ratio between their size and the round edges. I guess that bigger radius would give better results.

Fact is that no one even consider to roll them. it looks too nice to throw. they would probably end up as a thingy to put on the coffe table, a conversation piece. I encountered the same “problem” with my cutting boards. Until now I made about 50 end grain cutting boards, half of them I sold and half I gave away as presents. As far as i know, there is not even one costumer that really uses it as a heavy duty cutting board. most put it to display, and the others that “dare” to try and actually cut on it, stop after the first cutting marks show up.

So, as a very practical guy, if practicalness is not what I am looking for in my wood working, what is? its been about 2 years since i started wood working in my own private workshop at home. i narrowed down to make only high-end solid-wood objects, small in size. I guess I am mainly looking for the “wow” effect. to hear someone say ‘wow’ when he first sees it. to make it look so tactile that touching the object is unavoidable.

during the last 2 years, i had many thoughts on why someone should pay 200$ on a cutting board, while you can get really nice ones at ikea for 1/10 of the price. i guess that the answer is somewhat related to that. the ability to get excited from an object that is not an electronic gadget. the warm feeling of the natural material, the texture, the bright lively colors, and so on.

Sorry that I got carried away. if you made it till here – thank you for your time :)

-- Only by the 4th time I realized how it was suppose to be done in the first place.

7 comments so far

View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2285 days

#1 posted 07-30-2015 01:06 PM

This set of jumbo dice is so nicely don. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View jfk4032's profile


348 posts in 1945 days

#2 posted 07-30-2015 01:16 PM

Nice job Elyasaf and what a nice and compassionate son you are. I feel the same way about my pieces as well, they’re made with love and care.

-- ---Joel; Central MD...rookie empter nester and getting back into woodworking!

View SPalm's profile


5249 posts in 3301 days

#3 posted 07-30-2015 07:50 PM

Nice job.

I agree with you on project that are made with the care that we make them. Most end up as nick nacks or wall hangings. It still makes me smile although.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View kiefer's profile


4873 posts in 2086 days

#4 posted 07-31-2015 04:36 AM

You got the right attitude !
If they actually work or not is secondary but they look nice and made with love and care .

I am sure your Father will appreciate them .


-- Kiefer

View majuvla's profile


8699 posts in 2286 days

#5 posted 07-31-2015 05:37 PM

Very clever way of doing them, they are very nice toys.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View rtbrmb's profile


457 posts in 1807 days

#6 posted 08-07-2015 12:44 AM

Thanks for sharing all the details on your dice project.

Bill in MI

View Roger's profile


19709 posts in 2223 days

#7 posted 08-27-2015 12:03 AM

Now that’s a nice pair…...........................o dice.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

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