Maple Shut the Box Game

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Project by JudsonTN posted 05-18-2014 03:10 AM 1856 views 3 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I finally made something that I have been wanting to do for years but life just got in the way. A few years ago, my family took a trip to Williamsburg, VA and at one of the tavern/restaurants they bring out games to play while you eat. We played shut the box for the first time and loved it. I knew that I wanted to make one one day, but I knew that it would be tough with my circular saw and a hammer (total extent of my woodworking tools at the time).

Fast forward a few years and now I have a nice little shop set up and it was time to make the game.

Since it was really straight forward, I just designed it as I went along and the family loves it so mission accomplished.

It is made out of some beautiful maple with a mdf bottom covered in black velvet. I made the dice and used my daughters wood burner for the dots. I cut the tiles out and used a coat hanger for the hinge to pivot on. The numbers are some of my wife’s scrapbooking numbers. I finished it with Watco Danish oil and a top coat of General Finished Arm-R-Seal.

This is now on my list to make for some family members Christmas gifts.

Thanks for looking…Judson A few extra notes of things I should have included the first time

Traditionally, the game was only 1-9 and then some variants went up to 10 or 12. I decided to go ahead and make 12 tiles, because we just go ahead and shut 10-12 when we want to play the 1-9 version.
The version we like to play the best is using all 12 tiles. The goal it close all the tiles and “Shut the Box” We roll two dice and we can either lay down the total of the two dice on one tile or we can lay down each dice as a tile. Example, If we rolled a 5 on one die and a 2 on the other. We could either lay down the 7 or we could lay down the 5 and the 2. You have to roll both dice until you have shut 7-12 and then you can opt to just roll one. When you can’t lay down any more tiles, your turn is over and you add up the face value of the tiles still up and that is your score. Lowest score wins.

The box is 12×12 x 3 and is about 7/8” wide. The dice are made of maple as well.

-- “The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.” Teddy Roosevelt

3 comments so far

View Ken90712's profile


17867 posts in 3956 days

#1 posted 05-18-2014 02:20 PM

Great Job, I played this at a friends house in Vegas and loved it. It had a tray in the back behind the numbers for the dollar bills as they bet a dollar per person per game. I was hooked!!! What dimension ’s did you use? I’m sure you and your family will get alot of use out of it….

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View Boxguy's profile


2876 posts in 3034 days

#2 posted 05-18-2014 07:39 PM

Judson, fun game and nice straight forward design. The extra brace in the middle should make the flipping numbers work well and provide needed support. Since you made your own die, ambitious idea, did you consider making them larger for the deeper rolling area? I know how the game is played, but your readers might enjoy a brief statement of the rules or a link for that. Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

View JudsonTN's profile


23 posts in 2547 days

#3 posted 05-18-2014 09:00 PM

Thanks Ken. Yes, it is a very addicting game! I have not seen one with the tray but that sounds interesting. The dimensions are 12” x 12” x 3”. It is about 7/8” thick. I wanted it nice and sturdy.

Good idea Al. Below is a link to the rules on this simple game.
You are correct. The wire was flexing too much so I cut a little block to stabilize the wire and keep it from moving so much. I had bought some small brass washers to go in between each block but the first time I put it together to test it, I forgot about them and the flip up and down so well, I left them out.
I have a set of wooden dice from one of those “classic” parcheesi games and just made these a little larger. I tested mine against them and they came up just as random so I was happy. I did not round the corners because I did not want to skew the roll by having taken too much off one corner.

Wiki on Shut the Box game rules and variants

-- “The only man who never makes mistakes is the man who never does anything.” Teddy Roosevelt

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