Monday, September 30, 2013

The Making of a Dice Tray

I was asked to post some pics of my attempts at making a dice tray, so here they are with some quick comments. But first, why use a dice tray or what good is one? Well, both Marty and I use it to pass the dice around the table for games like Elder Signs, King of Tokyo, and Zombie Dice. I use my small hexagon as a way to contain my dice during our RPG sessions. They also keep the dice on the table for those zealous rollers that you might have in your gaming group.

I started off with an octagon, tried the hexagon, and went back to octagon. An octagon requires a miter cut of 22.5 degrees, and that is a challenge to find that .5 degrees on the table. That is why I tried the hexagon, but I didn't like how the dice reacted when they hit the sides. From the picture below, you can see the various sizes and heights that I have attempted. I also tried numerous stains and I think the Golden Oak has been my favorite so far.

I have tried numerous ways to attach the bottom with rabbet cuts and groove cuts. I was using rabbet cuts at first, but when I inherited the Shopsmith Mark V, grooves become very easy to do with a dado blade. The picture below shows the cut, but unfortunately it is hard to see. (Also, when you type in Google rabbit cuts, you get a whole different set of webpages and you learn Zombie survival tactics). Now that I got the process down, I will start upgrading the wood so they sides are much nicer and will require less sanding.

As already stated, the right tools are a key and the strap clamp that you see below helps me get the pieces in place and then I can either glue them with the base board in place, or I will then put a rubber band around the trays to get everything in place, glue (Titebond is the stuff) and then air nail the whole project. I use a heavy foam template for marking the thin plywood veneer to cut out for the base (white board marked 1)

The finish product is below, but this did not stain as well as I wanted. I found some Rustoleum Stains marked way down at Lowes and while they looked good going on, they didn't cover very well. Not sure what happened there. The base is covered in a foam piece to help deaden the dice and then the fabric so it feels good on your fingers when you pick up the dice. I will use any material to cover the base because when I am at Walmart, I go through the scrap fabrics and pick up cheap leftover pieces. Overall, the inside dimension of the tray is 9 inches and that seems to be a good working size.

Well, that is about all there is to the making of the dice tray and I will say that a table saw really has made a huge difference since I started playing with this. I am going to start on the towers next and I promised a friend a Warmachine carrying tray which is going to be done next weekend I hope. I will post pictures of those projects as well.

I hope to have a bunch made by MACE and sell them at the show so I can upgrade some equipment for doing the podcast and of course pick up a few new games so we can get the reviews out to you guys.

Good luck if you decide to make a tray.