Carrom board is a game played in Indian subcontinent, which is similar to pool (instead of balls, there are carroms and instead of stick, there is a striker that you flick by hand). More information in the youtube video below.
I had scrap wood (from hardwood project) and decided to build one. It is a simple enough game for kids and if you are looking to have some quality fun family time, give it a shot.
The design is not build to official specifications and I will point that out throughout the instructions where I deviated from the official specs to best of my knowledge.
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Step 1: Supplies You Need
- Hardwood (2.5"x0.75"x34" - 4 pieces)
- 0.25" plywood (34"x34" - 1 piece)
- Wood Glue
- Sharpie for artwork
- shop tools (drill, table saw, hole saw, straight edge etc.)
- Stain & Polyurethane clear coat
I had leftover Brazilian cherry hardwood floor pieces (3.75" x 0.75") and used those for this project. Only item I had to buy was the 0.25" plywood (~$10 from homedepot; I had them cut to size).
Step 2: Outer Frame
- Cut the four hardwood pieces to exact length 34". Used miter saw for this step.
- Trim wood from both sides (tongue and groove) so the width is 2.5". Hardwood pieces typically have grooves underneath. Make sure the groove does not align with the inner edge ( in otherwords, the inner edge thought be full 3/4" thickness).
- remove material from ends as shown in the images for the lap joints (2.5"x0.375"). I used table saw with sled to make those cuts. Spend some extra time to make sure the cut depth on your table saw is exact (During cuts, I noticed my saw blade would go down slightly due to vibrations, so I had to keep an eye and readjust as necessary to get the correct cut depth). My dewalt does not take a the dado blade, so I did multiple blade passes on with a hardstop on the sled to get the precise width of the lap joint.
- Apply the glue and join all four pieces to make the frame. I used ratchet strap on the perimeter first and then clamped all four corners. Let it cure for minimum 12 hours (ideally 24 hours).
Step 3: Prepare the Plywood and Apply Stain
- Cut the plywood to 34"x34" square. I had homedepot cut that to size.
- Drill 1.75" holes for the corner pockets. playing area is 29"x29" and these holes should be inside of that square and tangent to the square edges.I used hole saw for this operation. To prevent plywood fiber splintering, drill from the playing side and start slowly. Putting a sacrificial plywood piece on top and then drilling the hole may reduce splintering.
- Sand one side of the plywood with 220 grid sand paper.
- Sand frame with coarse sand paper and work upto 220 grit paper. I did not spend too much time on this sanding hardwood with hand is painfully slow :(.
- Apply stain to the plywood (I only did to one side), and the frame. 3 coats looked good in my case.
Step 4: Board Artwork
After stain is dried, it is time to create the artwork. I drew with pencil first and followed by black and colored sharpies. This may not be per the official specs.
- Draw a 29" x 29" square (playing area), equally spaced from the edges.
- Draw another square 4" inwards from the first square (21"x21").
- Draw a third square 1" inward from the second square (19"x19").
- Mark the center of the squares.
- Draw diagonal lines from one end of the first square to the other end.
- Draw small circles (red color in the images) at the 4 corners of smallest square (19"x19"). I used inside circle of the CD as a template.
- Draw two 1" circles tangent to the small circle and to the two lines. I was looking for something to create that circle and found old zip drives that had 1" hole and used that for template. Draw 6 more 1" circles on other three corners.
- Draw 1" circle in the middle.
- I created a simple geometric artwork in the center, feel free to copy that or draw something pleasing that fit your taste.
- Similarly, I created compass needle type artwork at the four corners towards the holes.
- Trace the pencil marks with sharpie as shown in the pictures and erase the remaining pencil marks with a good quality eraser. Clean the eraser residue (I used paper towel likely soaked in water to clean that and let it dry).
Step 5: Clear Coat & Gluing
- Apply clear coat on the plywood to get better finish on the playing surface. I did 3 coats of polyurethane with 220 grit sanding in between the coats. I did not do any clear coat on the frame pieces because the finish on those was already decent.
- Let the pieces dry for minimum 4 hours before proceeding with the next step.
- Apply the glue on the plywood (be careful to not apply too much glue that could squish out in the playing area. I kept the glue ~1" away from the interior playing surface. If the glue does squish out in the playing area, make sure to clean it right away with wet paper towel.
- Align the outer frame on the plywood board and clamp it to get a good bond. I used weights in some areas where I was not able to clamp.
- Let it dry 24 hours and the board is ready.
Step 6: Coins & Play
- After the board is ready, you will need coins and a striker to play the game. Search ebay for "Carrom Coins" and "Carrom Striker", and purchase those. For $10-$20, you should be able to get a decent quality coins and strikers (some coin set includes striker).
Watch the video in the first post and have a good family time.
A few things, which I am aware are not to official specifications.
- Thickness of the frame is less than official size (19mm). in my case, the frame was 0.75" thick, so it is fairly close.
- Thickness of the plywood is less than 8mm (1/4" in my case).
- Official board has internal rounds at the four corners.
- And others I am not aware of.
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