Introduction: DIY Wooden Game Board

About: Hi, I am Ashley. I am a geek and woodworker. I am author of the DIY and woodworking blog, Handmade with Ashley. I also have a YouTube channel where I share video tutorials. I have always been into crafts. My …

Today I'm sharing how to make a wooden game board for The Duke from Catalyst Game Labs. The Duke is a 2 player abstract strategy game. In some ways, it is similar to chess. It's one of my favorite 2-player strategy games. (If you’re a fellow tabletop gamer, check out my board game Instagram account <3).

For more details about The Duke visit the official website for the game where you can find the rules and files for a Print & Play version of the game. (Unfortunately, at the time of writing this tutorial the physical copy of The Duke is out of print.)

The game board for The Duke is similar to a chess board. It uses a 6×6 grid instead of the 8×8 grid in chess.

Tools and Supplies

I used the following tools and supplies to create the wooden game board:



I used walnut and maple scraps for the game board.

Step 1: Mill the Walnut and Maple Boards

The Duke’s game board pieces are 1.5″ x 1.5″. The game’s grid is 6 columns by 6 rows. If you want to make a game board chess, increase the row and column count by 2.

Mill the walnut and maple boards to 3/4″ thickness. Rip the boards into 1 5/8″ wide strips. I wanted the game board squares to have an extra 1/8″ breathing room for the game board pieces.

Cut the walnut and maple strips to 10″. The extra length is to account for blade kerf at a latter step.

Step 2: Glue the Walnut and Maple Strips Together

Glue alternate strips of the walnut and maple pieces together. Wait for the glue to dry before continuing onto the next step.

Step 3: Cross Cut the Walnut and Maple Board, and Glue It Together a Second Time

Remove excess dried glue. I ran the board through a light pass of planer to make quick work of this.

Square up one edge of the walnut and maple board. Crosscut the board into 1 5/8″ pieces.

Rearrange the new crosscut pieces to create a checkered pattern. Glue together the new arrangement. Allow the glue to dry before continuing onto the next step.

Step 4: Decorate the Edge of the Game Board With Trim and a Router Profile

Cut a piece of walnut or maple to size for the game board’s trim.

I attached the trim with 45 degree miters. I made use of maple and walnut scraps. The maple I milled to a thin strip before gluing it to a piece of walnut. Once the glue was dried I cut the trim to the size of my game board.

To dress up the appearance of the board, router around edge of the board with a router equipped with a 1/4″ round over router bit.

Step 5: Apply a Finish and Enjoy!

Sand to prep the surface of the game board for the final finish. I sanded up the 220 grit, raised the grain with a damp rag, and did one final sanding with 220 grit.

I applied 3 coats of Watco’s Danish oil followed by a coat of Daddy Van’s Beeswax polish. (It was something I noticed on my finishing shelf and decided to put it to use.)

I am really happy with how the game board turned out! If I ever get around to making a version 2.0, I’d love to create a wooden box to for game component storage.

Thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed the Instructable. :)