Pucket backgammon game serving tray #4: Assembly, wood nails, glue and endgrain planing.

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Blog entry by mafe posted 04-14-2021 12:50 PM 1237 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: painting the backgammon side Part 4 of Pucket backgammon game serving tray series Part 5: sewing... »

Pucket backgammon game serving tray

Yes we are over the parts, painting, pieces and can finally put it all together, seems close to be done, even there’s a long way yet.

This will be a talk about end grain, finger joints, wood nails and more.

Today we might start with a game of backgammon, but looking at the corners makes me realize I need some more work.

Pucket then?
MaFe just get started, no excuses!

Time for glue up.
White indoor glue.

A good squeeze out from every area, witness, tight joints and well spread glue.

I add Japanese wood nails, to make the game board indestructible, also just because I find them sexy and it brings me joy, using clamps to make sure it’s tight.

Pegged from top and bottom, this is where you check square and warp, before the glue dry.
We can never have too many clamps, yet I hate to spend money on these, except the Japanese once, they add beauty to the working, the silver once you see here are such.

Once the glue is dry, the wood nails can loose their heads…

Trim flush, with a ultra sharp chisel, using a skewed cut, not a straight blow with a hammer, think of the chisel as how you would cut into a branch with a knife..

The test pieces are also glued up and get a little drawer bottom also.

Glue on every surface, that will get contact.

The scrap box…
I will give my daughter this one, so she can store the pieces in it, when she use the board game as a tray.


Time to to correct the mistakes I made on purpose…
From same wood as the sides, strips are cut and then cut into small pieces.

Yeps, we need to close the ends.
I choose this method, because I’m lazy and I find this fix quick and easy.
But yes, you could choose a router and stopped groove instead, then you needed no corrections.

That’s all there is to it.

Ok and a saw cut…

Also had to fix a broken off corner, I kind of love these little fixes.

It will blend in later.

The small box gets a sanding, to flush the finger joints, you can see this gives a matt dusty surface, remember this when you look at the planed end later.

Back at the workbench.

One of my favourite moments.
Low angle plane, handling the end grain as a butter knife in butter.

This is how I approach planing end grain, on corner joints. Low angle plane, held skewed, repetitive straight hit with power behind, once you are at level with the object, long gentle strokes, where you slow let the plane loose contact with the surface, before you reach the other end.

Here a short video of endgrain planing, to get the fingers flush with the tray sides:

Notice I use my shop stool as a dead man, this was where I decided I needed finally to build one, laugh.

That’s good in my book.
You can see the tiny difference at the side, where I made the rabbet close up, I enjoy this little hidden story.

Marking up for the dividers.
Jim that awl is sexy! Thanks.

Again to avoid mistakes, I make a template, to transfer the placement.


Ready for assembly.

Japanese wood nails, notice I use some cork on the clamps, since this Mahogany like wood is fragile.

A wee tobacco and then one more.

Glue on all touching sides, perhaps a wee generous here…

Nailed it.

Remember to flush…

Adding pressure with a clamp.

One of the warped a wee, so the bottom would not stick to the divider.
So I had to make an alternative clamp. Inspired by boat builders and instrument makers, this was what I could do in a hurry.
It worked and took the warp out of the tray also, so I was really pleased, when I came back next day and unclamped it.

One of the game boards had a wee knot that had fallen out, so a tiny repair was needed. As always I try to keep the story with in the piece, so I just clean up the hole and make a tiny inly, made of same wood as the top (just split the top of a wee plywood cut off).


Bang it in place with a piece of wood between, so no marks are left on the surface.

Repaired but still there, just as I like it.
Please notice how the two knot heads, are looking at the repair and something outside the picture.

To make sure the bottom never gets loose, wood nails are added, this because it’s going to be used as a serving tray also, so there might get heavy weight into it from other side at times.
The tape is to make sure I don’t go too deep.

Trimmed flush and for me it just added beauty to the backgammon side.

Hope it can be to some inspiration, or even a wee learning something new, or different.

Best thoughts,


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

5 comments so far

View Dave Polaschek's profile

Dave Polaschek

7479 posts in 1669 days

#1 posted 04-14-2021 01:52 PM

All the small details that make the difference between a purely functional, but perhaps not pretty piece, and nicely finished treasure for the ages. Thanks for showing all the little steps, Mads!

-- Dave - Santa Fe

View James E McIntyre's profile

James E McIntyre

1271 posts in 2379 days

#2 posted 04-14-2021 04:11 PM

A lot of fine craftsmanship is going on here. I agree with glue squeeze out. You know the joint is well covered and the Japanese nails add strength.

I hope your ceiling press doesn’t intrude upon the neighbors. (;-)

-- James E McIntyre

View doubleDD's profile


10375 posts in 3130 days

#3 posted 04-15-2021 02:53 AM

Your ways of working and ideas are intriguing. What I like the best is the tape for a depth stop on the drill bits. I have 2 sets of stops and instead use tape all the time. Time to sell those stops.

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

View mafe's profile


13189 posts in 4176 days

#4 posted 04-15-2021 08:33 PM

Hi there,

Dave P, yes the devil is in the detail and it was such fun to figure all this out. Thank you.
James, Big smile thank you. I have really come to love these Japanese wood nails, I like the hole idea of wood holding wood, they are quick to use and the small dots, gives personality. Laughs, the neighbors have a kitchen upstairs, perhaps their stack of pancakes, seemed bigger for a day…
DoubleDD, That tape stop is a winner, I use that all the time, it leaves no marks and even dust off. But not on aggressive drill bits, they just run trough eating the tape. I’ll use a stop later in the build.

Thank you guys, I really do love that you take the time,

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

View lew's profile


13361 posts in 4842 days

#5 posted 04-16-2021 07:42 PM

Really like that vertical “pipe” clamp ides.

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

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