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How can I make Backgammon pieces?

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Forum topic by Don posted 827 days ago 2233 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Don

488 posts in 1826 days


827 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question drill press

Hey fellow LJ’s….

Not 100% certain this topic belongs under this heading but it’s as good as any.

I am about to embark on a journey of making some backgammon boards and I would also like to make the pieces for them.

Question is, how to make the pieces?

What drill press attachment can I use to make perfect circles?

If you have made backgammon pieces in the past with success, could you share your wisdom with me please?

Thanks all…Don

-- -- Don in Ottawa, http://www.donebydon.ca


14 replies so far

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Tootles

668 posts in 1086 days


#1 posted 827 days ago

You do seem to be able to get plug cutters up to 1” plug diameter. Beyond that you may have to laminate a whole lot of wood together and turn them round on a lathe – lots of sanding required after cutting though.

Are you planning to round the edges? It occurs to me that a bead tumbler might work, thoough I’m not sure how consistent the edges would be on across all pieces.

I’m interested to see what other ideas come up, because every time I have considered this, I have just decided to buy a set. I can even point you to some web sites.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

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Don

488 posts in 1826 days


#2 posted 827 days ago

Unfortunately, I don’t have a lathe and have only taken beginner turning courses so that is out. Good idea (I think) but not in my bag of skills.

I have made checkers before by using a hole saw and backing off the drill bit but the result is a jagged edge because without the bit, the hole saw wanders a little…..

-- -- Don in Ottawa, http://www.donebydon.ca

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Trapshter

62 posts in 978 days


#3 posted 827 days ago

Turn them in the lath .then slice on the bandsaw .
Jm

-- Smile and wave boys just smile and wave

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ChrisF

8 posts in 859 days


#4 posted 827 days ago

I made a set, once, in the past. I went the somewhat easier route and bought dowel stock. I think it was 1 1/4”, which was a little big VS the squares so 1 1/8” would have been better. I then took an older 1” forstner bit and filed off the center brad point. I used that bit to drill out the center of the game pieces for a bit of a recess. Naturally they looked a little plain but for me, also with out a lathe, it was the best solution for me. I have heard of people using hole saws with out the drill bit in the center but have yet to see it done.

-- I'm not a complete idiot, some parts are missing.

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Tootles

668 posts in 1086 days


#5 posted 827 days ago

ChrisF, I smiled ruefully at you comment about the pieces being a bit big vs the square – been there, done that. What I learnt was to obtain the pieces before you make the backgammon board. In fact, the designs that I have done for a board are dimensioned in multiples of the piece diameter and the wood thickness.

Dowel is a good short cut, but then you have end-grain pieces.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

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ChrisK

1004 posts in 1666 days


#6 posted 827 days ago

You can have the pieces laser or water jet cut. They will not be end grain and they will be the size you want and they will be the same. Google laser cutters for your area.

-- Chris K

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DamnYankee

3226 posts in 1146 days


#7 posted 827 days ago

Recently had to solve a similar problem….

Use a hole cutter the size you want but remove the lead center bit. You can usually do this with an allan wrench. Chuck it into your DP. Make sure your stock is well secured, and you will get a very nice circle. Whe I did it I did not cut the circle all the way through my stock, jus most of the way. I then sliced the circles out of the stock by running the stock through the table saw on end.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

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helluvawreck

15260 posts in 1451 days


#8 posted 827 days ago

I’ve never done this but thinking about it I would laminate stock together then rip into square strips. You might need to rip them by using a sled because the longer they are the more fragile they will be. You could also use a 45 degree bevel router bit on the router table in conjunction with a sled and table saw and end up with strips that have a hexagonal cross section. These would be easier to turn. Then slice them on a band saw after they are turned and then sand them with a tumbler. You could build the tumbler and a small lathe. The lathe would not have to be large. I have looked into tumblers before and they are very simple and are suppose to be able to give a nice finish. You can find directions on how to build a tumbler and a small lathe on the internet. In a pinch you could rig up a drill press as a lathe. You would probably have to presand the faces before they went into the tumbler. And you could sand the circumference (which would end up being the sides) on the lathe before you slice them. I don’t have a lot of lathe experience and one question I have is whether or not these strips would be so fragile they might be dangerous to turn because the grain would be running cross ways. You could rig up a follower rest. However, in your laminating you could alternate the grain at 90 degree intervals and this should strengthen it significantly and I don’t think the appearance of the pieces would suffer significantly. Of course you could save a lot of time by using dowels but in my opinion the end grain would be on the faces and they would loose their beauty. They would also end up being fragile. Finally you could just save yourself a lot of trouble and just buy them. There are people who import finished pieces from China and if you bought them in quantities of a 100 or even 500 they would be very cheap I imagine. If you did this it might save you a whole lot of trouble because who knows what kinds of problems you might run into trying to make some quality pieces? However, if you like to experiment doing something that you’ve never done before this sounds like it would be a fun project and a nice challenge. I’m also assuming that you want to get set up to make a number of these boards.

helluvawreck

https://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- 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

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doughan

96 posts in 1175 days


#9 posted 827 days ago

“pieces from China “

BITE YOUR TONGUE!!!!!

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helluvawreck

15260 posts in 1451 days


#10 posted 827 days ago

What’s the difference in buying pieces from China than hardware from Lowes or Home Depot? It virtually all comes from China. I imagine that most toy wheels, knobs, etc. now come from China. I’m sure that the little wooden parts and even small boxes that you find in Hobby Lobby come from China. All kinds of things like a lot of corbals and other machined carved items come from China – even hand carved ones. At the Atlanta woodworking show we talked to a man who imported hand carved mantle pieces. If you ordered 5 at a time they would cost you $250 each. These were very nice mantles and would probably retail for at least $1250 ea. Next time your in Hobby Lobby check out the nice unfinished wooden brief cases that they sell for $19.95. I have 3 of these myself and I’m a woodworker. I don’t always have time to build everything and I use these to carry my carving tools to my brother’s cabin on the river. Hobby Lobby must pay about $10 for these and sell them for $20. In case you think that I think all of this is good I don’t but it sure is a fact of life that we all have to contend with that’s for sure.

helluvawreck

https://woodworkingexpo.wordpress.com

-- 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 ChrisK's profile

ChrisK

1004 posts in 1666 days


#11 posted 826 days ago

China should be were we buy the unskilled stuff from. We, Americans, need to build up our skilled labor base and help make sure jobs are there for them to work at.

GO USA!

-- Chris K

View Scot's profile

Scot

344 posts in 1980 days


#12 posted 826 days ago

Take the pilot bit out of a hole saw and use a drill press.

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

View Tootles's profile

Tootles

668 posts in 1086 days


#13 posted 809 days ago

Hey Don, have a look at this board. I’ve only just stumbled upon it but a lot looks familiar – including the advice to start with the pieces before all else.

Somebody did ask about the pieces, but no reply as yet. Perhaps send Gary a pm.

-- I may have lost my marbles, but I still have my love of woodworking

View Don's profile

Don

488 posts in 1826 days


#14 posted 809 days ago

I guess I should have followed up on here….

I purchased a 1 1/8” Dowel, Plug & Tenon cutter from Lee Valley and it seems to be doing the trick nicely. A little burn on the edges but other than that, I like it.

First attempt at the board this weekend failed miserably. I was off by about 1/2 degree between my mitre saw and the tablesaw jig which made a huge difference at the end.

Corrected the issue and will try again…..

-- -- Don in Ottawa, http://www.donebydon.ca

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