Making Go Boards

205 views
Skip to first unread message

Adam Miller

unread,
Feb 23, 1994, 3:25:02 PM2/23/94
to
Anyone have any suggestions? Being a poor college student, with access
to a carpentry studio, I'd prefer to make one than to spend large
amounts of valuable beer money. What I've come up with so far is using
a wood-burning tool . . .

How about stones?

Adam Miller

Dr. Reinhard Neder

unread,
Feb 28, 1994, 3:57:51 AM2/28/94
to
mil...@minerva.cis.yale.edu (Adam Miller) writes:

>How about stones?

>Adam Miller


The go board that I build myself was done the following way:
Since I did it back in Germany, please bear with me if some of the
technical terms seem strange.

I used two peaces of solid wood, oak or beech or some other realy hard
type of wood, each about 3/4 inch thick. These two
peaces were cut rotated at 90 degrees with respect to each other.
This was to ensure that the grain of the two peaces would be at right
angles to provide extra stability. A previous board I had made was made
from a single 3/4 inch slab of pine or fir and quickly got bent.
After glueing the slabs on top of each other, I covered them with a thin
veneer. At that time there were veneers available with glue attached to
them. All you had to do was iron them onto the base. I was lucky to get
the proper color.

I covered the board with a couple of thin layers of priming. Then I was
able to draw the lines with a black ink drafting pen. On a spare peace
try out how many layers you need to prevent the ink from running into the
grain. The pens are available
at all thicknesses, check a good paper supplier or the campus book store.
The whole board was then covered with a thin layer of clear satin(?).
definetly NOT a shiny finish.

As feet I used 1 1/2 inch wooden balls which are attached to the bottom
of the board by pegs. no Nails, after all were purists are'nt we (okay,
your allowed to crack a smile). Also, I wanted to be able to remove the
feet for transport. Glue a tiny peace of green (has to be green ...)
velvet to the feet to dampen the impact.

As far as the stones, I would think your best bet is to buy them. Any
other material than the solid plastic or slate (at booko bucks) doesn't
give the right sound. Plus making 361 plus stone on a vice (or lathe ?)
with the same thickness and diameter should prove to be tedious to say
the least. To have uneven stones would be quiet a distraction.

Good luck, if You have any further questions, feel free to ask.

Reinhard Neder

Dr. Reinhard Neder Institut fuer Kristallographie, LMU
Phone: (+49 89)2394 4314 Theresienstr. 41
Fax: (+49 89)2394 4334 D-80333 Muenchen, Germany
Email: ne...@yoda.kri.physik.uni-muenchen.de
--
Dr. Reinhard Neder Institut fuer Kristallographie, LMU
Phone: (+49 89)2394 4314 Theresienstr. 41
Fax: (+49 89)2394 4334 D-80333 Muenchen, Germany
Email: ne...@yoda.kri.physik.uni-muenchen.de

Dr. Reinhard Neder

unread,
Feb 28, 1994, 4:35:01 AM2/28/94
to
I just remembered that it was helpfull to carefully sand down the veneer
in between priming coats. This gives a smoother surface for the pens.
Beware though, its realy thin...

Reinhard

jden...@news.delphi.com

unread,
Feb 28, 1994, 9:00:47 PM2/28/94
to

>mil...@minerva.cis.yale.edu (Adam Miller) writes:

>>How about stones?

>>Adam Miller

>Reinhard Neder

My board is a little unconventional. Using a Piece of wood I put on
it a self stick felt sheet. Using Pencil to mark the lines. I bought
the felt at an art store for a couple of bucks I also bought my
stones there. The consisted of dowel plugs (they look like mushrooms)
When I got home I dabbed some paint on half of them to make the black stones.

I choseto write on the felt instead of the wood directly since it gave
the pieces a bit of a non-slip surface. I play Go with my son and the
borad gets kncked around a lot.

Good Luck!

Jay Denkberg
JDEN...@DELPHI.COM

Rudy Wortel

unread,
Mar 1, 1994, 10:34:34 AM3/1/94
to

>Anyone have any suggestions? Being a poor college student, with access
>to a carpentry studio, I'd prefer to make one than to spend large
>amounts of valuable beer money. What I've come up with so far is using
>a wood-burning tool . . .

i have made several boards and used thinned acrylic paint and a ruling
pen. i thinned some flat black artists acrylic paint with a little
water until i got something that would flow from the ruling pen
properly. Clean the pen often and make sure you have enough paint in
the pen for the entire line. The lines on my boards have remained in
good shape without any protective coating over them.

-rudy

Bruce Cheney

unread,
Mar 2, 1994, 2:42:22 PM3/2/94
to

So far, nobody responded to my question on Go equip for tournaments in the
thread on "Go Tournament - what are they like" , so I'll ask a similar
question here.
Go equipment appears to be very expensive. That's been stated as a
motivation to make your own board, hence this thread. I imagine if I
posted a similar subject in rec.games.chess I would find that no one
makes their own chess boards, except people who enjoy woodwork for its
own sake. That is, cost of available satisfactory equipment is not the
issue.
But with Go, it does appear to be the issue.
Doesn't someone (AGA ?) sell tournament quality equipment at reasonable
prices? If you know of someone who does, could you describe the
equipment, the prices, and a contact method?

Thanks
Bruce Cheney
bru...@tqs.com

Tim Casey

unread,
Mar 2, 1994, 8:07:29 PM3/2/94
to

>As far as the stones, I would think your best bet is to buy them. Any
>other material than the solid plastic or slate (at booko bucks) doesn't
>give the right sound. Plus making 361 plus stone on a vice (or lathe ?)
>with the same thickness and diameter should prove to be tedious to say
>the least. To have uneven stones would be quiet a distraction.

Some good Japanese stones are made, by hand, from shells. The person
marks the holes out, drills out the plugs, files down the stones.

Only a person can get it correct, on shell stones. Or so I am told.

tim

William Sharpe

unread,
Mar 3, 1994, 1:22:22 PM3/3/94
to
If you live near a Korean grocery store go in and see if they have any go
equipemnt. The game is called "ba-dook" in Korean. I got a cheap
folding board (with chinese chess board on other side), glass stones, and
plastic bowls for about 25 bucks. Give it a try

Bill

Anton Dovydaitis

unread,
Mar 3, 1994, 7:55:05 PM3/3/94
to
On the subject of inexpensive GO boards, Ishi Press sells a vinyl GO Mat,
regulation size, for $10.00. We sell a set, with the mat and glass stones
in cloth bags, all in a cardboard tube (with a nice samurai on it) for
$29.95. I plan on selling 10,000 of these through game stores this year.
An inexpensive wood board (1/3" laminate) goes for $18.95, and I can sell
seconds in quantity for $9.00 each. The most recent batch of 1/3" boards
is easily the best I've seen: I hope the next batch is as good.

ALSO: It would be a bad idea for the A.G.A. to sell GO equipment, and it
is generally a bad idea for GO clubs in general to sell equipment to their
members. The problem is that by competing with retail stores, the stores
will not refer new players to clubs, and a very good feedback loop is
broken. The U.S.C.F. sells all chess equipment, books, and computers to
its members at a significant discount. This is why you see very few
advanced books on chess in game stores, and almost never see any cooperative
ventures between chess clubs and game stores.

Of course, making your own board is fun, and the result is unique.

Support your local GO merchant when you can!

Anton Dovydaitis
Customer Support
Ishi Press International

Colin Bigam

unread,
Mar 5, 1994, 1:17:00 AM3/5/94
to
bru...@tekgen.bv.tek.com (Bruce Cheney) writes:

>Thanks
>Bruce Cheney
>bru...@tqs.com

Hmmm.. Time to get in on this thread.

I don't know what you would qualify as 'tournament quality,' but I can tell
you what our go club has. The boards are made of plywood, painted a
beigy-yellow colour, and with the lines drawn on in magic marker. They're
kind of nasty (aesthetically speaking), but they work well, are quick to
make, and cheap like borscht. The stones are bought from Ishi press, and
are $25/set for the cheapest ones. Note that this is their price straight
from the list, and they do offer discounts for more money spent. (e.g. 10%
off of $200-$299) The bowls are food storage containers, kind of like
tupperware, but made by someone else. They're something like a buck apiece,
so $2.00 a pair.

Now, costwise, what do we have? Say for 10 sets, a sheet of plywood ($25),
10 sets of stones ($225), bowls ($20), and paint and markers. (say $30)
There's ten sets of perfectly adequate equipment for $300, and a weekend's
worth of work. Not bad! Another alternative is that I see Ishi has their
cheapest wooden board selling for $17.95, if you really want. (1/3" thick,
folding) I also see that the stones for $25 come with bowls, so you can cut
that cost off up there. Hmmm... Makes me wonder if we got our stones in
bulk. (one of the clubs founders runs a go shop in the city)

Anyways, there's my best advice. They've lasted a great many years of
classes, games, and tournaments so far, and they're going to be used in our
UPCOMING ANNUAL WESTERN CANADA GO TOURNAMENT. (Shameless plug! mail me for
details :-)

***Important question***
Ishi also sells Go board oil. Should I use this on my 2/3" folding katsura
board? Is it necessary, optional, or strictly a bad idea? Opinions anyone?

Colin


-------------------------------------------------------------------------
********************** Protein Engineering Network of
* Colin Bigam * Centres of Excellence
* .sig stolen from *
* MISSION CONTROL *
********************** c...@procyon.biochem.ualberta.ca
-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Kevin Gowen

unread,
Mar 6, 1994, 11:14:20 AM3/6/94
to
In article <cgb.762848220@bellatrix> c...@iti.org (Colin Bigam) writes:
>
>***Important question***
>Ishi also sells Go board oil. Should I use this on my 2/3" folding katsura
>board? Is it necessary, optional, or strictly a bad idea? Opinions anyone?

Perhaps purists will react in horror at this, but I have been oiling up my
various boards (go, chess, and mancala) with standard, pedestrian Wesson
cooking oil(!) and it seems to work fine. If I'm causing some subtle damage
to the wood because I'm not using a more "proper" oil, I hope somebody more
experienced than I will step in and say a few words.

>Colin

-kevin
kgo...@cie.uoregon.edu

David Kassover

unread,
Mar 6, 1994, 2:17:33 PM3/6/94
to
I took the liberty of crossposting this to rec.woodworking, from
which we might obtain advice from a larger body of experience
than mine...

One does need, with most vegetable oils, to continue to maintain
the finish, to prevent its turning rancid or the oiled object
becoming encrusted with sludge.


--
David Kassover "Proper technique helps protect you against
RPI BSEE '77 MSCSE '81 sharp weapons and dull judges."
kass...@aule-tek.com F. Collins
kass...@ra.crd.ge.com

Colin Bigam

unread,
Mar 6, 1994, 4:04:48 PM3/6/94
to
ish...@iat.holonet.net (Anton Dovydaitis) writes:

>ALSO: It would be a bad idea for the A.G.A. to sell GO equipment, and it
>is generally a bad idea for GO clubs in general to sell equipment to their
>members. The problem is that by competing with retail stores, the stores
>will not refer new players to clubs, and a very good feedback loop is
>broken. The U.S.C.F. sells all chess equipment, books, and computers to
>its members at a significant discount. This is why you see very few
>advanced books on chess in game stores, and almost never see any cooperative
>ventures between chess clubs and game stores.

>Support your local GO merchant when you can!

>Anton Dovydaitis
>Customer Support
>Ishi Press International

I would just mention that around here, the only real go merchant is also
the guy in charge of our go club. One of the game stores has a single
mini-set, and that's it in the whole city! (That I've found...)

Colin

Kevin Gowen

unread,
Mar 6, 1994, 5:02:34 PM3/6/94
to
In article <CM9C9...@crdnns.crd.ge.com> kass...@aule-tek.com writes:
>I took the liberty of crossposting this to rec.woodworking, from
>which we might obtain advice from a larger body of experience
>than mine...
>
>In article <2lcvgs$l...@pith.uoregon.edu> kgo...@cie.uoregon.edu (Kevin Gowen) writes:
>>In article <cgb.762848220@bellatrix> c...@iti.org (Colin Bigam) writes:
>>>
>>>***Important question***
>>>Ishi also sells Go board oil. Should I use this on my 2/3" folding katsura
>>>board? Is it necessary, optional, or strictly a bad idea? Opinions anyone?
>>
>>Perhaps purists will react in horror at this, but I have been oiling up my
>>various boards (go, chess, and mancala) with standard, pedestrian Wesson
>>cooking oil(!) and it seems to work fine. If I'm causing some subtle damage
>>to the wood because I'm not using a more "proper" oil, I hope somebody more
>>experienced than I will step in and say a few words.
>
>One does need, with most vegetable oils, to continue to maintain
>the finish, to prevent its turning rancid or the oiled object
>becoming encrusted with sludge.

OK, so then this raises the question: what are the best oils to use to keep
your wood boards in good repair? I know nothing about the subject...

-kevin
kgo...@cie.uoregon.edu

Steve Miklos

unread,
Mar 6, 1994, 11:54:27 PM3/6/94
to
In article <2ldjtq$s...@pith.uoregon.edu>, kgo...@cie.uoregon.edu (Kevin
Gowen) wrote:

>
> OK, so then this raises the question: what are the best oils to use to keep
> your wood boards in good repair? I know nothing about the subject...
>
> -kevin
> kgo...@cie.uoregon.edu

Oil finishes give a sheen to wood, and some also protect it by polymerizing
in the surface of the wood and hardening. Pure oil finishes will not give a
high gloss; oil is often used as a base finish for a wax surface.

Several possibilities exist if you want to stick to using oil exclusively.
There are three basic categories of oils that are commonly used on wood:
vegetable oils other than nut oils, nut oils, and mineral oil. Oils from
animals (lard, bacon grease, etc. are not used because they will go rancid
on the wood. The same applies to vegetable oils other than nut oils, but
less so. These need to be "renewed" now and then, as someone else
mentioned, or they will go rancid -- either start smelling badly or
solidifying unattractively, or both. Frequent re-application of these oils
will prevent this. Mineral oil (the pharmaceutical kind) is sometimes used
on items that will have contact with food. Mineral oil does not "harden" as
the other oils do, so there is little protective value in it. However, it
is perfectly clear and imparts no color to the wood, merely the darkening
of some woods by virtue of wetting.

The nut oils, primarily tung oil, linseed oil, and walnut oil, don't get
rancid or cloud over with time. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.
Note that peanuts are not nuts, and therefore peanut oil is in the non-nut
vegetable oil category.


Walnut oil is used where contact with food is in prospect. Its protective
qualities are less than the others, so it's usually reserved for this
purpose. I haven't used this oil myself, but I understand it imparts a
darker color to the wood.

Linseed (flax seed) oil is a traditional finish in Western furniture,
having been supplanted for this purpose by varnishes and lacquers, which
for a harder, glossier surface. Its protective quality (i.e. the hardness
of the polymerized surface it forms on curing) is greater than that of
Walnut oil. It imparts a yellowish color to the wood. Use boiled linseed
oil, not raw. The raw oil is for paint thinner and for conditioning
leather. "Boiling" linseed oil also involves some magic other than just
boiling it for a while...buy the can that says "boiled".

Tung oil (also known as "china oil") gives the hardest polymerized surface
of the oils considered, and imparts a lighter yellowish cast than linseed
oil does. Many "Tung Oil Finishes" are available, though, and most of them
contain driers and resins, i.e. varnish, that will change the nature of the
surface quite radically. If you want an oil finish, be sure the can says
"Pure Tung Oil". However, if you want a little gloss (which I assume
wouldn't be very good on a Go board), pick a tung oil/varnish blend.
"Polymerized Pure Tung Oil" is Tung oil that's been partly cured so that it
takes less time to set up on your wood.

As to which is "the best" oil finish for a Go board, my answer would
be..."it depends" I like the mellowness of the linseed oil finish in some
circumstances; I think that for something you're going to be staring at for
long periods of time, like a Go board, you'd want a mellow, unassertive
finish. The Tung oil, while glossier, is more protective though, and
requires less maintenance and less attention during the finishing process.
With linseed oil, the rule of thumb (which has been given variously by
different authors) for applying a finish is "Once an hour for a day, once a
day for a week, once a week for a month, once a month for a year, and once
a year for the rest of your life". With Tung, you can skip everything
between "Once an hour for a day" and "Once a year".

I trust I've given 'way too much info on oil finishes for Go boards. I read
this query in rec.woodworking, and I'm not much of a Go player...but I feel
inspired to design and build a Go board now, just so I can finish it
with...um...lin...no, tu...no...

Steve

--
smi...@panix.com noslf...@aol.com Steve Miklos @ home

Bruce Cheney

unread,
Mar 7, 1994, 12:30:45 PM3/7/94
to
>ish...@iat.holonet.net (Anton Dovydaitis) writes:
>
>>ALSO: It would be a bad idea for the A.G.A. to sell GO equipment, and it
>>is generally a bad idea for GO clubs in general to sell equipment to their
>>members. The problem is that by competing with retail stores, the stores

I've been thinking more about this position, and still not sure I agree
with it. Is Nihon-Kin the sanctioning organization in Japan? (Analogous
to the AGA?) They sell a lot of GO stuff. The first floor of their
building in Tokyo has a sizable equipment shop. Obviously, GO is very
popular in Japan. If my assumption is correct about Nihon-Kin, this
would seem to be a dramatic counter example to Anton's assertion.

Bruce Cheney
bru...@tqs.com

Wilfred...@cs.cmu.edu

unread,
Mar 7, 1994, 8:51:34 PM3/7/94
to
Excerpts from netnews.rec.games.go: 5-Mar-94 Re: Making Go Boards Colin
Bi...@iti.org (2986)

> Ishi also sells Go board oil.

I bought the Ishi press go board oil and had a friend translate the
directions. It turns out to describe itself as oil for swords and is
made from some sort of flower (name began with "m", I think).

Jay Keller

unread,
Mar 8, 1994, 2:42:33 AM3/8/94
to
I've been using walnut oil for my last few turned bowls, in several woods.
I am very pleased with the effect. It does not seem to darken the wood too
much. I haven't waxed any yet, because I haven't decided if they'll be used
for food or not. I bought the walnut oil at he local health food store.
--
Jay Keller <bad...@netcom.com>
Sunnyvale, California
Reply all
Reply to author
Forward
0 new messages