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From The *Somewhat Twisted* Mind Of Dulux-Oz

DC 12 Craft Check - Part 1

Rating: 5 votes, 4.20 average.
Reading Doug's post on dice inspired me to write about a nice Christmas gift I gave each of my players a few years back.

At the time we were a face-to-face group, and as so often happens in such a setting our gaming table was often overflowing with paper, pencils, rule books, minatures, dice, snacks, drinks... you name it - and I have an old "Board Room" Conference Table as my gaming table, and it was still overflowing! Suffice it to say, dice would go everywhere when we rolled them - on the floor, into chip-packets, under books: everywhere!

'We need something better' I said to myself, because even house rules like 'the dice must remain on the table' weren't working too well.

So with Christmas approaching I subtly asked each of my players their favourite colour - "Hey, Johno, what's your favourite colour?!" was a typical way of doing so.

Armed with this vital information I then proceeded with my plan - the construction of a set of Dice Trays!

If you've never seen a dice tray its basically a flat wooden tray about a foot (300mm) square with a lip around the edge. Fancier ones are covered in felt (hence the favourite colour question) and have an inner "channel" to hold dice out of the way. Thus you end up with a convenient, personal surface upon which to roll your dice that makes it very easy for such rules as 'If its not in the tray it doesn't count'. The picture below shows one of the trays that I made - as you can see, it gets a LOT of use.

Attachment 14263

The whole thing cost me about $10 and 2 nights of construction time, mainly to allow the glue to dry properly. All of the materials I got from my local Bunnings (a hardware chain) and the felt I picked up from Spotlight (a haberdashery chain). I was making six trays, so it was easier to make them as a production-line-style system as opposed to completing each one before starting the next. Because I used small F-Clamps to hold things together while the glue dried and I only had enough clamps to do 3 trays at a time (each one takes 4-7 clamps if you do it properly) I did the trays in batches of three over 4 nights.

Each tray was a 3mm 3-ply "tile" and the outer lip was 12mm skirting-strip stacked two layers high; this comes in 1200mm lengths which is just enough to go around one layer of one tray's edge. As each tray's lip is two strips high (why is explained below) you need two 1200mm lengths for each tray. The inner die channel is also made from the same 12mm skirting-strips, so a third 1200mm length will do two trays - or a total of five lengths for every two trays. Apart from the felt (which we'll get to in a moment) you'll need a bottle of white wood-glue, seven F- or G-Clamps for each tray you want to make at the same time, a rule or measuring tape, a marking pencil, plenty of rags or paper towels to mop up excess glue, a pair of really sharp scissors (dressmakers scissors if you can get them), a box of dressmaker pins, and a cross-cut saw. You'll also find a box of "bulldog clips" handy as well (ask at an office supply store or a newsagent).

The hardest part of this project is getting the felt to sit properly - because the edge of the felt is secured between the two layers of the tray's lip (one of the reasons the lip is two layers high) and thus has to go down into the tray, then across the tray, up and over the die channel strip into the die channel, and then finally up the opposite side of the tray's lip into and between the two layers of lip, the felt has a very convoluted shape. Yes, you could have the felt as a number of separate pieces, but after a while the felt tends to lift if you do it like that. By having the felt as a single piece cut to match all the "up and down bits" it makes for a much better and longer lasting design. Each tray starts with a square piece of felt 350mm across.

Next episode I'll outline the construction method and provide the felt template so you can build you own Dice Tray(s) - assuming people are interested, that is.

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Updated September 17th, 2016 at 02:47 by dulux-oz



  1. LordEntrails's Avatar
    I'm still waiting to learn how you got the felt to fit from a single piece
  2. dulux-oz's Avatar
    I didn't realise anyone was interested - I'll post Part 2 ASAP

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