Pucket backgammon game serving tray #2: Making the pieces

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Blog entry by mafe posted 04-12-2021 11:20 PM 1300 reads 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Building the tray Part 2 of Pucket backgammon game serving tray series Part 3: painting the backgammon side »

Pucket backgammon game serving tray
making the pieces.

This time we will be working round and round and round…
Ok, let’s just go for it!

We are back in the shop, winter and snow, the project on the table.

I had these backgammon pieces in a drawer and were thinking that I should order some, for the games.
But honestly… They are boring and didn’t you say recycle MaFe?

Ok, we start at the lathe, with a piece of beech, recycled from a trashed wine rack.

This is how it looks, when I set the late up, for spinning a wee wood.

The parts for recycle.

Finding the centre.

Marking it.

Picking up some turning tools.

This is what we need.

First roughly into size.

A caliper to set final size.

This thingy is brilliant, once you have the size, it’s just to set it.
Cut for app every ten cm as guide.

With a gauge, I just connect them roughly.

To get this.

To finish it, I use this tool again, I don’t remember the name of.
That’s super easy.
Of course I could have made a dowel maker for it, but this was fast and I needed two sizes.

Sanding up to grit 600.

Job done.

Now I just need some more in the other size…

Rods sized and sanded on the lathe, ready for next phase.
I The camera is my trusted shop friend, it has taken almost all pictures on my blogs for the last ten years and live in the shop only, had to change the lens one, the old one was simply dusted completely to death.

A test cut.
But how on earth can I control the width and avoid tear out on a round piece, while doing it relatively safe…

Finding matching drill bit sizes.

I have an idea!
A hole in same diameter as the rod.

Adjusting the saws width.

Running the jig through.

Get it?

Trimming the jig, so the hole is flat with the table of the saw.

Now I can feed the rod into the jig and run it through the saw.
Easy peasy.

Check this video, to see it in action:

Gave it an ugly handle for safety.
Like this even the cut of got recycled.

Ok, no pause yet, there’s a long way to go still.

For the other size, I just repeated the process and even reused the jig.

Let’s go crazy, let’s get nuts…
Well I realized, that I had made around 150 pieces!
Two game boards, one for my daughter and one for me, 2×8 large size for the puckets, 2×30 for the backgammons and finally I made 30 backgammon pieces for my allotment, ohh yes and some extras for testing.
Dam I thought that making these would be piece of cake!

Ok back to it MaFe!
I came up with this idea, to speed it up a wee and for safety.
A round over bit on the router table, the fence at app half size and a stick with sandpaper glued to it, to spin the pieces, without having to get my fingers too close to the bit, after all one might loose focus doing 150 of these small round bastards two sides.

Just like this.
Wath this video, to see how it works:

After a few hours with some good music on the stereo and a wee pipe tobacco, this was what I ended up with.

Not too bad, I’m quite pleased.

Time to close up the shop for the day.
I can go home dreaming of a board game now.

Next up was trying some dyes, as I wanted the wood to stand out.
Think these are fine, so I just have to decide.

Well first I have to give them all a light sanding.

After an hour I really had it, just around quarter of the way.
No more hand sanding!!!

Time to think something up.
As you can see, I used an invisible drill bit, to make a fed holes in some plywood.

Added a bolt.

Threw it on the drill and put some tack it in the hollow part of the jig.

A piece goes in.

Spin baby spin!

Soon I was done.
This was really worth it.
The sanding also became better, than the one I could make by hand.

Time for a cover up.

Dye to die for.
Starting out black, like my humor.

Me like.

Trying again to cut corners, by throwing the pieces into a back, with the dye.

Then a light massage and a little time.

Seems to be working.

It worked, but looks a wee strange…

After drying, they were left to soak in some Danish oil, for twenty minutes.

Suck it up baby.

Extra oil is wiped off.

The natural colour became almost caramel, sexy.

This project seems to never stop, we are on day three of these pieces now.
Polish with brown stick, then wax.

That’s a difference.

Happy I am.

Again it takes forever, two sides, all the way around and then 150 of them.

Backgammon pieces.

Pucket pieces.

Ok, it was worth it, you can’t buy this.

And with fire in the wood stove, I say good bye for now.

Hope it can be to some inspiration, try not to fall into pieces.

Best thoughts,


-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

16 comments so far

View splintergroup's profile


5141 posts in 2309 days

#1 posted 04-12-2021 11:28 PM


Nice step-by-step. I learned some keepers for making round pucks!

View mtnwild's profile (online now)


4047 posts in 4614 days

#2 posted 04-13-2021 12:03 AM

That is really cool! A lot of work…very interesting and efficient technic…

Great stove!

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7479 posts in 1669 days

#3 posted 04-13-2021 12:39 AM

Nice tricks to make so many disks, Mads!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


7076 posts in 1907 days

#4 posted 04-13-2021 12:40 AM

... A lot of work…very interesting and efficient technic…
- mtnwild

As mtn’ said, a lot of work.. now I know why I’m glad I never learnt to play backgammon.

Had mixed reaction in soaking bulk number of pieces in a tub of oil… i still had to wipe the bloody pieces individually!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View mel52's profile


2064 posts in 1351 days

#5 posted 04-13-2021 01:41 AM

Looks like a very time taking project. Excellent job. Mel

-- MEL, Kansas

View doubleDD's profile


10375 posts in 3130 days

#6 posted 04-13-2021 02:32 AM

Great ideas with the cutting and sanding jigs. I did all sanding by hand, I think my fingers are still sore. LOL.
Both board games are coming along nicely.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View mtnwild's profile (online now)


4047 posts in 4614 days

#7 posted 04-13-2021 02:59 AM

I met a fellow years ago that made backgammon games and always wondered how he got all the pieces so uniform. That really made the game so much nicer to have uniform pieces.

Love it when the time taken, takes a back seat to doing it right.

Very cool…

-- mtnwild (Jack), It's not what you see, it's how you see it.

View waho6o9's profile


9019 posts in 3663 days

#8 posted 04-13-2021 03:59 AM

Beautiful work thanks for the great pictorial.

View LittleBlackDuck's profile


7076 posts in 1907 days

#9 posted 04-13-2021 04:04 AM

..... That really made the game so much nicer to have uniform pieces….
- mtnwild

That’s why I liked chess... all pieces were the same. Then some bugger informed me I was playing checkers... damn his eyes, I thought I was a Fisher without a pole.!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26214 posts in 4192 days

#10 posted 04-13-2021 12:18 PM

Great detailed manufacturing methods, my friend!! You sure put a lot of thought into the way you work!! Nice thinking…...............Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View Bobsboxes's profile


1667 posts in 3750 days

#11 posted 04-13-2021 12:54 PM

Lots of detail, great blog.

-- Bob in Montana. Kindness is the Language the blind can see and deaf can hear. - Mark Twain

View bch's profile


303 posts in 3776 days

#12 posted 04-13-2021 12:55 PM

Wow, the polish really changed things! That was the winning touch on an interesting and beautiful project. Nice job.

-- --bch

View Doug's profile


1247 posts in 3848 days

#13 posted 04-13-2021 08:21 PM

I see you made good use of your knee vise. Ingenious way to hold the pieces for sanding. Nice work. Take care.

-- Doug

View mafe's profile


13189 posts in 4176 days

#14 posted 04-13-2021 09:34 PM

Hi there,
Whoooouuu I post so much I can hardly keep up with the comments and you know I take a pride in this, as I always get so happy when reading your words and thoughts, thank you.

splintergroup, If you learned something new, it was all worth making the blog, so thanks big time, it’s at the end what this is all about, besides the friendships we grow here.
mtnwild, Yups a LOT of work… I were quite surprised, expected it to take a day or so, laughs. Smiles thanks. And yes I also think to make it right is worth the extra effort and they feel lovely in the hand and have just the right weight and sound, so both I and my daughter love them.
Dave Polaschek, Boredom is the father of invention… Smiles thanks.
LittleBlackDuck, Laughs yes and I even learned my daughter to play, so it was even worse. Yups had to wipe them all off after, but I gave them time in the oil, to soak. Thanks. And thanks for the laugh in your second comment.
mel52, Ohhh yea, this project took forever, but I promise you it was well worth it, you will see this, when the last part of this blog is posted. Thanks.
doubleDD, I can imagine your fingers, it was like a never ending story, until I made up a jig. Thanks a lot.
waho6o9, Thank you big time.
Jim Jakosh, Dear Jim, you know me by now, it takes one to see one, smiles, half the joy for me is to figure out ways, I find most of the joy in the process. Funny, my daughter said almost that today – ‘Father you are so sweet. How can you handle all those feelings at once, and then in a project. I will never get to understand.’ It touched me deep and also had me realize a few things.
Bobsboxes, Thank you, the devil is in those. Smiles.
bch, I were just like that, after the dye they were almost ugly, so I felt almost sad for a while, but after polish I had a big smile and my fingers worn.
Doug, Big laugh, yes that might be a new Christopher Swartz trend, the knee wise, invented in the stone age and now you can follow a workshop and buy the plans for how to use it. Thank you dear Doug.

Thank you all for the comments and even you who did not comment, I have plenty of joy for you all after reading these,

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View lew's profile


13361 posts in 4842 days

#15 posted 04-16-2021 07:33 PM


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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