Mancala Boards

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Project by Maplenut posted 01-20-2010 10:26 PM 7182 views 11 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made eight mancala boards for Christmas presents this year. They’re made from white maple with the holes routered out, sanded and tough oil, with lots and lots of rubbing. Much better finish than trying to darken the colour with stain (who would try such a thing?...yep me).

11 comments so far

View RobS's profile


1334 posts in 4869 days

#1 posted 01-20-2010 10:38 PM

I like the odd shaped holes, was that by design or by result…Great gift ideas and a great game for kids of all sizes… Thanks for sharing.

-- Rob (A) Waxahachie,TX

View Loucarb's profile


2388 posts in 4008 days

#2 posted 01-20-2010 11:33 PM

Very nice boards.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3637 days

#3 posted 01-21-2010 12:21 AM

First of all, I really like the design and the workmanship of this piece. It is first rate.

Second, I have never heard of mancala and that forced me to google it. Very interesting.

You have provided me with a great piece of woodworking to view and you have introduced me to a game I never heard of before. Thank you.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Maplenut's profile


70 posts in 3614 days

#4 posted 01-21-2010 01:14 AM

Hey guys, glad you like the boards. I did the routering free hand, but I drew in pencile where I wanted the holes to be and kinda went funky from there (it took some practise, but I broke only one bit). The game itself is one of the oldest recorded, think even older than chess, although I’ve never googled that. My wife says it is and she’s usually right (smiling). It is a great game though.

View WistysWoodWorkingWonders's profile


12785 posts in 3720 days

#5 posted 01-21-2010 08:14 PM

very cool game… nice work on the freehand routering…

-- New Project = New Tool... it's just the way it is, don't fight it... :)

View clieb91's profile


3668 posts in 4498 days

#6 posted 01-22-2010 05:09 PM

Cool looking boards. I have only heard of the game and not taken the time (until just now) to look it up. Sounds like a very cool game and one Imay have to make in the near future to play with my daughter.
Thanks for posting.


-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

View Maplenut's profile


70 posts in 3614 days

#7 posted 01-22-2010 06:10 PM

The follow description was sent with the boards as gifts…my wife did the research and write up:

Krestova Mancala

Object of game: Capture the most beads in your Mancala until all the beads in cups are gone. The player with the most beads in his Mancala wins!
Set up:
Two players sit facing each other with the Mancala Board between them. The board is set up with a row of 6 cups (called houses) for each player and a larger cup to his right (called Mancala). Each player places 4 beads in each of his 6 cups (houses). Decide which player will move first by flipping a coin.
The first player picks up all the beads in any one of his 6 houses; then he starts to sow them by placing one stone in each house to the right (clockwise) around the board including his own Mancala, but not his opponent’s. He continues clockwise (into the opponent’s houses, as necessary) until there are no more beads in his hand. When the player has no more beads in his hand, his turn ends.
Should the player place his last bead in his Mancala he gets another turn.
If he places the last bead on his empty house, he gets all the beads in the opponent’s house directly in front of it.
All captured beads get placed in his Mancala.
The game continues until one player has no beads left to play, or all the beads are in the Mancalas.
Notes about the game:
Your board was made from Eastern White Maple and finished with Tung oil right here in beautiful Krestova!
You’ll find many variations of the game on the internet…it’s a very old game with the earliest records from before 1210 AD. The name ‘Mancala’ is actually the name of a whole family of games called sowing games due to the way the beads are ‘sown’ in the holes, and the fact that early games were played using seeds as markers instead of beads. The game and it’s variants started in Africa, and were carried throughout the world by immigrants, slaves, travelers, and finally ethnologists. This particular variation of the game is called Oware. Have fun, and Merry Christmas!!

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 4351 days

#8 posted 01-22-2010 10:16 PM

What a great gift idea and a really fun game. Nice job on the finish too!

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3678 days

#9 posted 01-27-2010 10:19 AM

great job you have done there
I have play this game the last 4 years with my daughter and we have had many hours of fun to gether
even thow the game is from the Egypt it seems to be qeit popular in Europe


View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4168 posts in 3419 days

#10 posted 11-01-2012 07:57 PM

A great gift item for this time of year.

Thank you to your Wife for the details


-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3429 days

#11 posted 01-21-2017 11:57 AM

These are so nice and will make wonderful gifts. You have really done a nice job on these.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

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