I am part of a large group that gathers every weekend to play card, board, and role playing games.
Since I acquired my x-carve last May, I’ve noticed a lot of Kickstarter and Facebook posts for laser cut and milled boxes for dice, minis, cards and a few other gaming accessories. These have inspired me to try my hand at making some Christmas gifts this year.
After a lot of prototyping, I’ve finally settled on a design that fits perfectly with decks of collectible cards. These are my early prototypes:
And this is the final design prototype, made with scrap pine and composite decking, colored with dry erase markers. (The dry erase markers were what was within reach at the time, and it worked surprisingly well as a stain).
I like a challenge, so I decided to do v-carve inlays in the final boxes. I ordered a large variety of intarsia-style domestic and exotic hardwood from http://www.ocoochhardwoods.com/ which showed up recently. These are 2-foot long boards, 4" wide, 3/4" thick. They sent me a lot of 5" stock in place of 4" - no complaints!
Yesterday I started on the first box. I ran in to some issues with the fine detail and a 90-degree bit, so I’ve ordered a 30-degree and 60-degree bits before tackling the next inlay. I filled the gap with west systems resin mixed with sawdust from the inlay, but I didn’t have enough dust mixed in to make the filler look like wood. I still think it looks decent for a first time v-carve inlay.
Material selection: Purpleheart for the base, yellowheart for the inlay.
After the inlay was glued in place I separated the pieces on my tablesaw and sanded it flat. You can see the gaps and unfilled groves where the 90-degree bit just couldn’t maintain the detail. (Notice one of my kittens photobombing in the upper right…)
The cutout and subsequent sanding came out well, given that somehow my cutout path was missing tabs (!!!).
Unfortunately, due to the missing tabs I have some tear-out on the corners of each half that I am going to need to deal with… I’m not quite sure if I am going to try to patch this with some shavings or round off the edges. I allowed enough extra material in the thickness dimension that I can take off up to an extra .1 and still hit the minimum dimensions I need.
Now that this first one is done, I have 12 more of these boxes to design and cut out. Each inlay or sculpt will be unique, and the wood will be matched to the recipient’s tastes. I should be ready to start finishing these by the end of November. I plan on a resin finish buffed to a high gloss with brown tripoli compound.