Picture of Wood Burned Settlers of Catan Board
I recently decided to make my own Settlers board with the following goals:
- More durable than cardstock
- Prettier than anything I could buy
- Easy to use in low-light venues
- Total cost under $60

I ended up making board from basswood, burning in the artwork and finishing it with acrylic paint and shellac. It took somewhere between 20 and 30 hrs of labor to complete and is incredibly durable, functional and snazzy. If you just make the tiles and purchase game pieces, you should be able to finish in 10-15 hrs.

There are many ways to improve on this design if you have a higher budget and more time. If I were to do it again, I might opt to stain the tiles or use different hardwoods before shallcking or varnishing to provide some more contrast. The colors I chose for the game pieces aren't the best in low light.; shellecked white and yellow, and blue and green are hard to distinguish in low, yellow light. More comments later, but first here's what I used:

Supply list:
- 3 3 1/2" X 1/4" X ~4' basswood pieces (hexes, ports, longest road and largest army tokens)
- 3 5/8" X 3/8" X 3" square dowels (roads)
- 84 1" wooden coins (pips, settlements, cities)
- Shellack (Amber; 2lb cut if you're mixing from flakes)
- Wood burning pencil
- Pencil
- Paintbrush (one for detail, one for large areas)
- Ruler
- Table, Mitre or band saw
- 30/60/90 triangle guide or protractor
- Art work
- Sandpaper

For a complete game:
-2 sets of Settlers of Catan Replacement cards (need 2 sets to play with 5 or 6 people)
-2 6-sided Dice

mefca3 years ago
MAN! you beat me to it! ha, i was just working out the details in my head for a woodburned settlers board and then I saw yours. Excellent craftsman ship sir. I especially like how deep the burns go in the wood. It makes it very vibrant.
KneXtreme3 years ago
Very nice! Did you enter it in the shopbot or toy contest???
benjib0t (author)  KneXtreme3 years ago
Thanks! I've submitted it to the toy contest, but haven't heard back yet.
You can enter it into, I believe, up to three contests!
reedz3 years ago
This is gorgeous...

   I've always wanted to make 3d printed/laser cut acrylic version that was able to handle a high amount of stress. This however, gives a much more rustic and handmade appeal.

   Will you be doing anything to surround the borders? In the stock game it comes with the ocean pieces to tie everything together, so it doesn't separate as you play.

   Also, have you considered sending pictures to Mayfair? I'm sure they would appreciate this sort of handiwork.

Game on.
benjib0t (author)  reedz3 years ago
I don't plan to make any border pieces, mostly for lack of tools. These pieces do stay together better than the cardstock ones; if I do anything, I might make a non-slip coated board.

I haven't really thought about sending it to Mayfair... but maybe I will!
totoro337 months ago

So i you said you made:

"-Hexes: 5x Brick, 5x Sheep, 5x Wood, 4x Wheat, 4x Ore, 2x Desert"

but that only adds up to 26 hexes, in one of your pictures you have 30. could you specify how many of each you actually made? because i thought it was 30 for the expansion and 19 for the regular board.

I hope you reply! your board is beautiful!

benjib0t (author)  totoro337 months ago

Ah whoops. counting is hard :/ I meant 6x brick, 6x sheep 6x wood, 5x wheat 5x ore and 2x desert. Thanks!

totoro33 benjib0t7 months ago

thank you!! also how did you stencil your desings for the hexes onto each of them? also could you post pictures of the stencils you used?

benjib0t (author)  totoro337 months ago
Sorry but ive dont have any stencils to share. I freehanded all the art. Drawing the tiles is part of the fun!
totoro33 benjib0t6 months ago

Hi again, could you explain the ports again, I had a hard time understanding how many you made. you said you made

"Ports: 5x 3 for 1, 2 for 1 of all resources"

I your picture you had 12 ports, but you only accounted for 10, because you have: 5x, 3 for 1 ports (which is 5 ports) and then 2 for 1 of all resources (which is another 5). where are the last 2?

totoro33 totoro336 months ago

and im talking about the expansion version not the regular version just to clarify

totoro33 totoro336 months ago

sorry i keep bombarding you with messages! I noticed that you had 12 ports, but the expansion has 11 (from what i counted from this picture: http://boardgameextras.info/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/basic-with-extention-board.jpg)

totoro337 months ago

So i you said you made:

"-Hexes: 5x Brick, 5x Sheep, 5x Wood, 4x Wheat, 4x Ore, 2x Desert"

but that only adds up to 26 hexes, in one of your pictures you have 30. could you specify how many of each you actually made? because i thought it was 30 for the expansion and 19 for the regular board.

I hope you reply! your board is beautiful!

Ellie108329 months ago

This is AWESOME! I love Catan and I can't believe how cool this idea is!

Hawkeye_bkj2 years ago
I have been thinking about making one of these lately and thought of a different way of cutting out the hex pieces. Rather than cutting individual pieces, I was thinking of ripping a hex shaped piece of wood then cutting coins out of it, then you are sure to make every piece the same... though you have to have access to larger pieces of wood to do this and depending on what type of wood you want to make it out of, might be rather costly... fortunately for me, I know a guy with his own mill who is more than willing to cut me custom sized wood for dirt cheap.
bsumner12 years ago
This is nice, What do you think about making a hole in the center of each tile to put the number coin into? I am thinking a half thickness tile and a second one laminated to the bottom of it. The top tile with a hole cut in the center and the bottom one without so there is a recess.
Another thought would be to put a layer of felt on the bottoms so that it is less likely to move while playing, would further reduce the need for a border piece.
highjacked3 years ago
Has anyone tried this with oak or birch plyboard? I can't find any shops that sell basswood in that size, or wider, near my area.
KneXtreme3 years ago
Congrats on winning first prize :) Cheers!
depotdevoid3 years ago
Very nice! At first glance, I thought, "Oh, another laser cut project I'll never be able to duplicate." On closer examination, I realized you'd done it all by hand! I'm very impressed!

I've been thinking about replacing my cardboard settler's hexes with something hand made, if I do this may just be the thing!
benjib0t (author)  depotdevoid3 years ago
Thanks! I was actually quite sick of oogling laser cut versions when I set out ot make this one. It ended up being a bit of work, but was really fun and the little imperfections give it a really pleasant aesthetic.

If you try it out, do let me know, I want to see what you come up with :)
Obst Pause3 years ago
Cool version you made there!
What did you do about the resource cards?
I started my own settlers copy years ago, too, but sadly never finished it. But thanks to your efforts I am considering a restart. Due to the lack of money i used thick cardboard(~40 mm), cut that and used a lot of thinned alkyd varnish to make it waterproof. 
Thanks again for sharing yours!
Stephica3 years ago
Beautiful, I love it!
zrelaxts3 years ago
skiedra3 years ago
Now that took some time and patience. :) . Well done!
phalanx4473 years ago
This is beautiful. It has such a great feel to it. Nice work!