Introduction: Exotic Wood Goban
Build a nice goban with a resonating chamber.
Before jumping in to this project, I suggest reading up a little on board dimensions.
Step 1: Select Your Wood
I chose Purple Heart for the frame and Birdseye Maple for the playing surface. Its all personal preference, but a lighter color playing surface is more traditional.
Step 2: Rough Cut the Frame
The pieces of Purple Heart I got were about twice the thickness I wanted for the frame, so I ripped them on the tablesaw.
Step 3: Plane the Frame
Get them down to thickness using the planer.
Step 4: Cut the Sides of the Frame to Length
Using the tablesaw, cross cut the frame pieces to length. Then set up the saw to do dados. You want to dado the top edge of all the pieces to accomodate the top of the board, I suggest that the top be around 3/8" so that it will actually resonate. I made my top too thick (around 1/2" and it isn't very harmonic.) You also want to dado the bottoms for a piece of 1/8" plywood. Finally you want to dado both ends of two sides of the frame to have it all fit together nicely.
Step 5: Fit and Measure the Frame, Glue Up the Top
Fit all the frame pieces together to get the dimensions of your top and bottom pieces. (just doing the math to figure it out may leave you with gaps between the top and frame.) I bought a plank of Birdseye Maple for my top, so it had to be cut to length and glued together in order to get the square shape. I used biscuit joints for the top, in hopes that it would be stronger and resist warpage better.
Step 6: Cut the Top to Size
Once the glue has dried on the top, use the frame measurements and cut the top to size. Its better to cut it big, then slowly work it down to the perfect fit.
Step 7: Glue the Frame and Top Together
The more clamps the better!
Step 8: Fit the Bottom
Fit the bottom the same way as the top. Then glue it on. You can also use a staple gun if you are impatient like me.
Once the bottom is on and fastened, find the center of it by drawing a line from corner to corner. This is where you will cut the resonating hole like an acoustic guitar.
Step 9: The Hole
Using a compass, draw the diameter of hole you want to cut, then use a drill to start the hole. Break out your reciprocating saw and go to work. You can clean up the edges with the spindle from a spindle sander later.
Step 10: The Grid
Now its time to make the playing surface playable. Start by sanding down the top of the board as smooth as you care to.
An interesting fact about gobans is that the grid is not acutally squares, but rectangles. They are "optical squares" so that when sitting at a goban looking down on it they look like squares due to perspective. I suggest reading about it here before you start marking up the board. I found it invaluable to make a full size version of my grid on a piece of butcher paper before going for it on the board itself.
Once the final dimentions are figured out, transfer them to the board. I chose to make my grid using a veneer trim saw, which is the perfect width to make the scores. The alternative is to use a permanent marker and not score the grid. I kept my lines strait by using a T-square and a clamp on the other end.
Step 11: Finishing Touches
For decoration I added some brass plugs to the corners on two sides. The technical term is a "pinned rabbit joint" Besides decoration, it helps to tell which way to orient the board when playing. To add the plugs, just find a drill bit that is the same diameter as your brass rod, drill the hole and plug it up.
The board should be sanded nice and smooth, removing all spliters etc.
Next step is to choose a finish. I went with a mineral oil finish to bring out the colors of the woods I chose. I decided not to lacquer it, because I want it to breathe.
The final step is to add rubber feet to the corners of the board. This elevates it so that the acoustics work. You can pick these up at a hardware store.
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