Building on the Base
Grab the base blank that you made earlier. Use the core (or, if you wish, the core template) to trace its shape onto the base blank. Use the band saw to cut the base to shape, but stay outside of the lines by a strong 1/16″ and set it aside with the core.
It’s now time to move on to the playing surface. If you made a template for this piece, grab it and the blank you cut earlier and go through the same shaping process you did with the core. (But don’t drill the peg holes yet; just make the outside shape.) If you did not make a template, you have a bit more layout to do, but it shouldn’t take long. Once the piece is shaped, grab the drilling jig you ordered and the self-centering drill bit and head over to the drill press. (What’s that? You didn’t order the drilling jig and bit? What are you, crazy? Let me strongly affirm, here and now, that you should not try to make this project without the jig … sorry. It is simply too hard to get all those holes placed properly without it. There are 260 or so holes to drill — that’s a lot of alignment!)
Again, reach for the double-sided tape and secure the drilling jig to the playing surface. Chuck the bit in the drill press and start drilling. But go slow! Even with the jig as a guide, I found that I had to take my time and be very deliberate about this process. It was also useful to free any tiny wood chips that clog the centering sleeve on the drill bit.
When that was done, I bored the pivot hinge hole on the back of the playing surface and the magnet washer hole and set it aside. Grabbing the core one more time, I chucked a 3/4″ cove-cutting bit into a handheld router and shaped the finger opening on the edge of the card recess as shown in the photo, center right. Then I glued the base onto the core and let the glue cure. Once the glue was dry, I used the pattern-routing bit to trim the base to perfectly match the core.
You are almost done. Changing out the pattern-routing bit in the router table for a large chamfer bit in the router table, I shaped the top edge of the core so that the inside of the chamfered profile matched the size of the playing surface. With that cut completed, lower the chamfer bit and shape the top edge of the playing surface with a slight bevel. Now it’s time for sanding. Work up through the grits to at least 180, but I recommend 220-grit. With this done, take a moment to secure the magnet and washer in their holes with five-minute epoxy.
For finish on this project, I used a natural Watco oil. Try not to get too much into the peg holes — even though that is hard to avoid. Three coats of oil and a rubdown with some paste wax, and you’ll have a proper finish on your gameboard.
The last thing you need to do is assemble the two pieces by driving the pivot hinge into the core and tapping the playing surface down onto the hinge. You’ll notice that the magnet pulls the two pieces into alignment when you get them close to the right spot. Nifty, huh?
Now all you need to do is find a partner and a deck of cards, and you’ll have yourself a game going in no time! Fifteen for two, anyone?