I decided to try and make a decently inexpensive Dice Tower over the weekend. I got the idea from Evan Derrick on Board Game Geek. The thread can be found here.
To start out I cut out the basic shape of the base. I originally lined up the Jenga block over it to get the shape I wanted. I decided against using the Scrabble board like in the original post because I thought the 1/4″ Poplar would be a bit more durable. Plus it was $4.00 for a 4 foot long section at Home Depot. this step would be a lot easier if I had a miter or table saw. As it is the hand saw I had worked after sawing for a couple of minutes.
Next I used Gorilla Glue brand Wood Glue to glue groups of three blocks together as shown. These will become the walls of the tower itself. I decided to use Gorilla Glue because it was less expensive than Elmer’s Wood Glue and had a faster drying time. You can hold the pieces by hand and they will be sufficiently stuck within a couple of minutes. I used a couple of C-Clamps to do the holding but within 5 minutes they were ready to go on to the next batch of blocks.
I then started gluing the blocks to the base board. I used the Newspaper so as to not get glue on my Mother in law’s table
Skip forward a bit (Because I forgot to take more pictures) and I added a bit of black foam to the bottom of the tower. I decided to do this because I have heard what plain wooden dice towers sound like and they can be freaking loud. I wanted to be able to play with this and not wake the neighbors when I have to roll a large amount of dice. And as anyone who plays a Rogue in D&D knows we usually roll a lot of dice.
After taking several measurements and contemplating for a few minutes on the best angle for the ramps I quickly sketched out the dimensions on the board. This was the same board that I cut the base out of. Keep in mind it is 1/4″ inch thick.
Here is the finished ramp. I added more black foam. Now I am starting to realize that the foam is a real pain to bend. I couldn’t use clamps to hold it onto the board because it would leave indentations in the foam so I had to hold the foam for about 10-15 minutes until it set and then another 10 minutes under a book for each ramp.
Sorry the close up is crap but the light was fading and I couldn’t get a good shot.
In his guide Evan said to cut the remaining Jenga pieces in half and use them to hold up the ramps. For the bottom ramp I cut it just large enough that I didn’t have to use anything. It wedged in there very tightly so I didn’t have the problem he did where he had to use extra pieces. With it being the bottom ramps there really is nowhere for it to go and the constant pounding of dice won’t help it move at all. At this point I started building the tower by gluing and clamping four of the groups of blocks together and stacking the walls together until I had this…
Again, I forgot to take pictures of the ramp building process. Basically, just like the bottom ramp, I cut them large enough so they would be pretty tight inside. Then I cut a Jenga block in half and glued it up against the ramp on the bottom. Holding that in place with the clamps I glued the ramps onto the block I just clamped. They were tight enough that I didn’t have to clamp them to the blocks. Plus if I did clamp them the marks would have shown on the foam. Then all I had to do was glue the three separate tower pieces together
This is what happens when you get over zealous and tighten the clamp too much. It is too deep to sand out so I just call it a character building blemish. Just remember that Jenga pieces are made of relatively soft wood so they will crush like this if you use too much pressure. It would be best to use a block or something between the clamp and the wood but my clamps were too small to do that.
This is the finished dice tower. I love the size of it. Everyone once in awhile the dice will get stuck on the inside of the bottom ramps because of the lip created by turning the one piece to make it square. It doesn’t do it enough to bother me.
I decided again using the Scrabble pieces altogether because I knew that with how rough I am with my gaming accessories they would all end up coming off anyway. I am very pleased with how this turned out though. I did learn a few lessons while make this…
1. Get the right tools. I will be buying some better, bigger, and softer clamps if I decide to ever try this again. it was a real pain trying to put the tower together because I had to hold the pieces together instead of clamping them since my clamp was too small. I will also get a better saw to give my shoulder a rest.
2. Use a different kind of foam. While I like the way this turned out the foam bugs me. You can see just about any kind of blemish on it because of how thick it is. I might try using a different kind next time.
3. Use a dedicated workspace. I shuffled the pieces around a lot because I did not have a work table of my own. Thankfully, my father in-law allowed me use of his tools and work bench and my mother in-law let me use her kitchen table so I could watch TV while working. Even so I kept getting frustrated because I would forget pieces of the tower and have to go back home to grab them or some such problem. So, next time I will start and end it in one spot.
So, this was my little project. It took me about half a weekend to finish it with a bunch of breaks in between for hanging out with friends and family. It was a lot of fun and i can’t wait to make another one. I may try and paint the next one I make. I have a can of the stone textured paint that I think might look really nice on it.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I would love to hear if anyone else has tried one of these before and succeeded. Heck let me know if you failed and maybe I can try and help out.