Monday, March 9, 2009

Crokinole croked

For the past few months I've been working on a Crokinole board. If you're wondering "What on earth is Crokinole?", either click here or smile and nod. It's been a lot of fun to work with wood again and make something of such great value - a board like this sells for about $400. Here are a couple pictures of my progress:

This is the blueprint of the crokinole board on 1/2" birch plywood. These boards are huge - 26" round with a base that's 30". Shortly after this step I routed the edge, cut along that edge and sanded it down, applied a thin birch veneer around the edge and took plenty o' measurements. Here's what I was measuring:

Yeah. It's a freakin' 8-point star! I had to remove the veneered layer from the plywood and then cut 16 individual pieces of maple veneer (all custom-fit) and glue them into the holes. This, in retrospect, was not the smart way to go. I should have left the birch plywood and just veneered the entire surface. Moving on...

After 3 months of work, here was my board. I still had a lot of work to do (rubbing the finish out, completing the base, filling the center hole, adding posts, and adding rails), but this was just about the most beautiful thing I'd ever made.

Which brings me to tonight. I botched it. I botched it bad. I messed up on the polyurethane finish (which is actually quite easy to apply) and I couldn't correct it over the past week. I tried stripping and starting from scratch on the finish but...but... it just didn't work. The veneers were cracking and peeling, the stain was spreading and I knew it was gone.

Here it is being dumped unceremoniously into the garbage.

Down 3 months of work and at least $30 of materials, but not out. I was in a really foul mood for a while, but I'm better now. I'll make it again...someday. But first, I'm going to shift my attention to the second Crokinole board I was working on! It's a much simpler board this time, but I need to have the center 8" circle painted. Any artist out there want to paint on an unusual canvas?

Eulogies now being accepted in the comments area.


  1. I'm so sorry that your Crokinole board is dead. It's too sad. We may just have to make a trip out to see you guys sooner than I thought just so we can play Crokinole. Hope that the next one has better luck. If not at least make sure you give it a proper burial.

  2. That is really sad. It was so beautiful!

  3. Shelena, you're on for that game of croke. You buy the plane tickets, I'll provide the board.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I must resume playing taps and weeping silently.

  4. I've had many a project like that. Usually I'll love it then try to preserve it just the way you did, then end up throwing it away with a few choice words and a vow never to do it again. The next day I pick it back up and start over. It's the curse of any artist. It was very beautiful though and you have picutres to prove it!

  5. Looking for an artist still? The Spanton's daughter that just finished college is an illustrator...might be worth asking her about it?