Forum Archive : Equipment

Board design

From:   Michael Poche
Date:   2 December 1998
Subject:   Backgammon Board

Anyone have experience making backgammmon boards?  I'm guessing walnut
and maple for contrast and some sort of taper jig or sled to cut the
triangles. Any tips or plans would be greatly appreciated!


Craig Patchett  writes:

You can find backgammon table/board plans in Popular Woodworking #34,
p 28 and in FWW #33, p 66. Back issues can be ordered from and or
you could check eBay or the local library.


Robert Hyerle  writes:

I made one of these some 20 years ago.  Here are some data points:

1.  I used walnut and maple for the "points", oak for the background.
    I was told that the oak would darken and not the maple, hence I'd
    get good contrast.  The board was finished with Watco (clear) oil.

    Turned out that the maple darkened and not the oak.  Also the
    grain in the oak is a little too busy for background.

2.  I make patterns out of plexiglass for the points and for the six
    sided background pieces.  I then traced onto the wood, cut almost
    to size, then fit each piece one-by-one using a disk sander to
    approach (but not pass!) the perfect shape/size.  A long process,
    but surprizingly controlable and the result was a perfect fit.

    As I remember the Fine Woodworking article, they ended up with
    more pieces than I did--more glue joints and a less attractive
    grain pattern.  But, it did seem easier to build.

3.  Then each half of the board was glued up: 12 points and 6
    background pieces per half.  Had a few scarry moments here as the
    pieces were not thick enough--clamping tended to cause buckling
    and the points to slide out.  Think about some sort of frame to
    glue up in.

4.  Then, through a planner and a bit of edge triming.  Then built the
    bar and boarders around the two board halves.  I used a plywood
    backing under everything except the outer frame (but you would be
    better off just using thicker pieces (see above comments on
    glue-up).  The bar and frame are walnut.

5.  Before you start, find the markers that you want.  After the board
    is built, you are constrained in what sizes you can use.
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