I've always wanted to work with walnut and I finally got a chance. I'm lucky enough to have a Home Depot near me that sells walnut boards, so I figured spending about $3 for a foot of it wouldn't be too bad. I wasn't sure what I wanted to make at first, but I decided on dice because I would use the existing dimensions to make cubes.
NOTE: Please remember to always use common sense and use power tools correctly to avoid injuries.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
Saw that can cut/rip long ways (table saw, band saw, jig saw, scroll saw, etc.)
Sand paper (I used 120 and 220 grit)
Rotary tool with burr bit
Finishing oil/urethane (I used Danish oil)
1"x2"x12" piece of walnut
This project didn't require too many tools. Using a table saw made it faster to rip the board, but by no means, is it absolutely necessary.
Step 2: Determine the Size of the Dice
Like I mentioned above, I used the existing thickness of the board to determine the size of the faces. This board measured approximately 19 mm (3/4") in thickness, so I measured 19 mm away from one of the sides and drew a line longways.
Step 3: Cut the Wood
Now that I had drawn a line that was 19 mm (3/4") away from the side, I used it to set the correct distance between the fence and the blade. After ripping the board longways, I ended up with a piece that was 304 mm x 19 mm x 19 mm (3/4"x3/4"x12").
I set up a stop block against the fence so that when I used the miter gauge, I would end up with equal size cubes.
Step 4: Sanding the Dice to Square the Faces
Of course, I didn't get perfect cubes. As you can see from the pictures, the cubed measured 19.17mm x 19.03mm x 19.63mm. In order to get the sides to be equal, I sanded each face with 120 grit sand paper to get as close as possible to 19mm.
Make sure you sand on a flat surface and put equal pressure on the cube so the opposite faces are as parallel as possible.
Step 5: Positioning the Dimples
I didn't have any dice with me, so I searched online the position of the numbers on a die. As you can see from the first picture in this step, I used a ruler to draw two lines from one corner to the opposite corner. Where the lines intersected is the center point of that face (side). That's where I drew a dot for the snake eye. The same technique could be used to draw the five dots for the 5-side. I mostly used the ruler as a guide, but eyeballed where I drew the dots for the dimples on the line. The key is to make it as symmetrical as possible.
Step 6: Drilling the Dimples
Once I finished drawing the dots, I inserted the burr bit that came with my Dremel brand rotary tool set. It was the perfect shape to create the concave dome-shaped dimple. You can go as deep as you like, but because the tip is pretty spherical, I aimed at only going half deep. This part was really neat, especially seeing the dust vibrate down the face of the dice. It almost looked like slow motion!
Step 7: Sanding Again
Because I had already sanded the dice previously with 120 grit, this time I just used 220 grit to smooth out the faces after using the burr bit. Like before, sand on a flat surface and use even pressure to keep the faces flat.
I decided I didn't want sharp edges, so I sanded all 12 edges of each die until they were slightly round. I personally think this make them look and feel better.
Step 8: They're Almost Finished!
I applied some danish oil to bring out the color of the wood. Man, that made them pop!
Step 9: Let's Recap
Don't you just love seeing a project evolve? These four pictures show a strip of wood transformed into cubes, to raw dice, to a beautiful pair of finished dice. :-)
Step 10: Roll the Dice and Give It a Shot!
This was a relatively easy project to complete. If you do decide to make them, experiment with different woods, inlays, painting the dimples, etc. I'd like to see a pic when you make them!
I'll be giving this pair of dice away to a random YouTube subscriber that leaves a comment in the comment section of this video's YouTube page!
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