These instructions are for a traditional Chinese Suanpan style abacus with a 5+2 bead configuration, but you could easily adapt them to a Japanase Soroban style with a 4+1 bead configuration.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
- Wood veneer
You'll need five pieces approximately 1.5" wide by 8" long. The wood I used is bubinga from Rockler.
- Wood glue
I used Titebond III wood glue.
- Seed beads - size 8/0 (approximately 2.5mm diameter)
- Head pins - 21 gauge silver, 2" long
- Aluminum sheet cut from a soda can
- Baking parchment
- Clear gloss polyurethane wood finish
- 2x4 lumber - 3" long
- 2 hose clamps (minimum 2" diameter)
- Screwdriver (to tighten the hose clamps)
- Coping saw
- Sandpaper, assorted grits
- Metal ruler
- X-Acto knife
- Wire cutters
- Small brush to spread glue
- Pin vise and a bit the same diameter as your head pins
- Power drill and a bit wide enough for your coping saw blade to pass through