I got back into creating things lately with creation of my own version of Scrabble Travel. When I showed it to my friend, he told me that the next boardgame I should do should be shogi - japanese chess. He is a fan of this game and he had a birthday 2 weeks ago, so I knew what I want to give him. It took me much longer than I expected to create this shogi set, but I really enjoy the final result of my work.
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Step 1: Materials and Tools
Materials for board and pieces:
- piece of wood - in my case it was a 30cm x 30cm square
- 40 wedge-shaped wood pieces
Materials for pouch:
- old gloves (mittens)
- leather strap
- small wood saw
- handler (optional)
- wood burning tool - I don't have one, so I used a soldering iron
- needle and thread
Step 2: Burning the Board
As you can read in Wikipedia article about shogi, boards are mainly rectangles - square boards are not very common. However, I decided to make a square board with 3cm x 3cm square fields. If you cannot just trust your hand with drawing straight lines (just like me), draw the lines with pencil first, and later follow those lines with the burning tool. As you can see, the effect is still far from being perfect, but I like some of those hand-made unique mistakes in my creations.
Step 3: Cutting the Pieces
To cut the shape of the pieces I recommend drawing the shape on a piece of cardboard and cutting it out for later use on all pieces. You can just draw around this cardboard "model" each time.
If you don't have electric jigsaw, just like me, you can use some handler to hold the wood in one place while cutting with a small wood saw (I started with a knife from my SwissTool, but it took too long). The handler makes the job so much easier that I can't get it why I did anything before buying it.
Step 4: Burning the Signs
There are two types of signs used in shogi sets - normal ones and abbreviations. I decided to use abbreviations, as it already took me long time to arrange everything and I have never tried to write kanji before. You can check both at Wikipedia article - I have printed the table with those in bigger size to look at them while drawing/burning on the wood.
At first, I thought about creating templates for pieces that have the same sign, but after first try I decided to simply draw each sign without any template and later burn it. After drawing and burning each sign at least one time, I decided to go one step further and simply burn the shapes without previously drawing them. Of course effects are not perfect, as it was my first time with kanji at all, but some more practice may bring better results next time.
Most of pieces can be promoted, as you can see in the table with kanji signs - the promoted signs should be burnt on the back of the piece, so you can simply turn it during the game to show that you decided to promote this one.
If you want you can also burn something special on one "army" to make it easier to separate them, but it's not needed, as the pieces have this special shape that allows you to difference them by their orientation during the game. I decided to burn a top of one army's pieces to allow fast separating while setting up the game.
Step 5: Sewing the Pouch
Last thing you need is a pouch to hold your pieces while not playing. I love repurposing, so I used a pair of old leather gloves (or more precisely - mittens) to create this one. I created a pouch from mittens some time ago, that used only "front" parts from both. This time I was sure that this will not make enough space for all pieces, so I took front parts and halves of inner parts and put them together. It is closed by tightening two leather straps.