Boxguy Admires Derrick's Masterpiece

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Project by Boxguy posted 12-20-2016 04:54 AM 3671 views 10 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Thanks for looking. Derrick and I are looking forward to any comments or questions you would care to take time to make. That is the really fun part of posting projects on this site. Derrick or I will respond to your comments, so check back for feedback.

Pictured: Derrick was commissioned to build this two-person, Chinese Checkers game box by a young couple who plays this game nearly every night. This is a link to the rules for playing Chinese Checkers. The board is enclosed in a bi-fold lidded (18×8 x 2 1/2) box. In this game box, Derrick used some really special woods that were in the shop and looking for the right project. The top is a rare piece of Marbled Etimoe veneer the inside veneer is Curly Koa The sides of the box are Red Oak and the blocks that hold the marbles in place and the corner splines are both Purpleheart. Notice there are two finger-lifts on each end to help open the lid.

Magnets There are four magnets to help keep the box solidly closed. The dowel holes are drilled through the lid and into the bottom rim, so everything lines up perfectly. The remaining top holes are filled in with a walnut dowel and then magnets and dowels are all glued in place with super glue.

Storage When you are not playing, the marbles are stored in the troughs at each end of the game and held in the trough with the Purpleheart blocks. That way the game is easily portable and the marbles don’t roll around inside.

Top The nearly seamless fit of the two parts of the top and ends was achieved by making the parting cut on the band saw.

Dimples The Marble dimples were cut with a special Marble Drilling Bit from Rockler. Derrick made his own plastic template for this project so he could use this bit effectively. Making the template involved using the drill press to make lots of precisely placed 5/8” holes for the special bit.

Summary: One night a week for the past 10 years, Derrick has been working with me in the shop. He has become a real craftsman. When he visits, he works independently on his projects while I work on mine.

In a project like this, there are lots and lots of things that can go wrong such as: the routing, the drilling, the dado cuts, the veneering, the corners, the splines, the fit of the hinges, the finish, the cutting off of the top, the overall design, the magnet installation, the finger lift shaping, just to name a few. Derrick navigated his way through all those operations to produce this masterpiece. He did everything right. This is a beautiful piece of work, and I wanted to share his abilities and this game idea with the Lumber Jock community.

Friends: I know many of you like the solitude of working alone in the shop, so do I. But having a friend or two join you once a week or so, really adds another dimension to the fun you can have in the shop. Derrick and I really enjoyed sharing ideas back and forth when he was planning this new project. I’ll bet many of you would like it too.

Keep boxing and keep posting.

-- Big Al in IN

24 comments so far

View DocSavage45's profile


9071 posts in 4294 days

#1 posted 12-20-2016 06:58 AM

Al. it has many of your features. Nicely done. I miss working with my friend who now spends most of his time looking after an ill spouse.

Merry Christmas!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile (online now)


24529 posts in 5127 days

#2 posted 12-20-2016 07:14 AM

Definitely a masterpiece!

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Mark Wilson's profile

Mark Wilson

2970 posts in 2515 days

#3 posted 12-20-2016 08:35 AM

Wonderful piece of work, Al. When will Derrick be starting his own Gallery here?

-- Mark

View Ken90712's profile


18113 posts in 4640 days

#4 posted 12-20-2016 08:52 AM

Beautiful work, Love the details.

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

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3719 days

#5 posted 12-20-2016 09:00 AM

Replies to Comments:

Doc, thanks for the comment. Sure, we share techniques because we share tools, but Derrick also has developed his own style.

I know about taking care of a spouse and am glad my wife is now on a path to better health. I have found that such care taking has its own rewards, and am glad that I have been able to help her. Merry Christmas to you and to all.

Toppa, thanks. I like the shoe rack you made. Women never have enough shoes, and men never have enough tools. I guess it evens out.

Mark, I have encouraged Derrick to post on this site, but so far it is not his thing. I just wanted to share this project with fellow Lumberlanders.

Ken, That is a good observation. You are right. It is the large and small details done well that set this work apart. Of course, splendid and rare woods also help.

-- Big Al in IN

View Tooch's profile


2018 posts in 3327 days

#6 posted 12-20-2016 10:56 AM

Al, that’s a great looking project and I’ll be you guys really enjoyed the time together. I can’t believe how well the hinges are aligned for a box with 2 different tops. Its not that I hate hinges, I just hate installing them.

What a great project, tell your friend congrats!

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View Cheapguy82's profile


83 posts in 1985 days

#7 posted 12-20-2016 11:58 AM

Very well done. Beautiful work!

-- Stephen - Georgia

View horky's profile


355 posts in 4382 days

#8 posted 12-20-2016 01:21 PM

a beautiful piece and a fun project. Thanks for sharing.

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4318 days

#9 posted 12-20-2016 01:29 PM

This is a beautiful piece, Al, and I love the wood. I also love the skill and craftsmanship that you put into all of your boxes.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Boxguy's profile


2905 posts in 3719 days

#10 posted 12-20-2016 02:02 PM

Replies to Comments:

Tooch, great observation. Derrick has mastered installing hinges. This box is a good example of that. It really is fun when Derrick and I work together. The best part now is those moments when we share ideas. I can ask “what do you think about….?” and together we can come up with a better plan.

Cheap, I too think Derrick did a great job on this. He got all the details right. I won’t have to tell him about your comment, he can read it on his phone today.

Charles, thanks. The photos don’t do the wood justice. The Marbled Etimoe and Curly Koa are some of nature’s most beautiful woods. Derrick and I marveled at its beauty when the finish hit this grain.

Horkey, Your “just plane boxes” posting made me smile. Nice job. For me, sharing ideas and projects is what Lumberland is all about. It has been fun to hear from woodworkers from around the country and around the world when I post a project on this site.

-- Big Al in IN

View rtbrmb's profile


907 posts in 3840 days

#11 posted 12-20-2016 02:24 PM

Excellent work-I really like all the details.

Thanks for posting.

Bill in MI

View Blackie_'s profile


4883 posts in 3964 days

#12 posted 12-20-2016 02:28 PM

Nice looking game set, very well done.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at

View observer100's profile


476 posts in 2562 days

#13 posted 12-20-2016 03:18 PM

Very nice looking project! I just looked up the game and read the rules!

-- Seeing is believing.

View david38's profile


3518 posts in 3795 days

#14 posted 12-20-2016 03:51 PM

it is a beautiful piece

View splintergroup's profile


6908 posts in 2674 days

#15 posted 12-20-2016 04:29 PM

A clever design, worthy of the special woods and time spent!

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