Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Contemporary Goban Design from Board Game Go

During the course of my search for a regular-sized go board, it was thrice suggested to me that I consider the contemporary designs from Board Game Go. I'll admit to some initial resistance on my part to the idea of buying a non-traditional design, but they've grown a little more appealing since it was pointed out to me that they had boards and tables that were constructed from or with maple. I must also note that their prices seem reasonable.

Everyone has their aesthetic preferences when it comes to woods and I've long had mine for cedar, redwood, cherry and maple. Board Game Go carries three types of maple products:
  • A maple veneer table board
  • A solid maple table board (made from five pieces of maple)
  • A solid maple floor board
The two images below show the surface of the solid maple table board and the side profile of the solid maple floor board. The boards themselves are finished with no colored stains to let the natural color and grain of this hardwood come through.

Maple grain detail of the table board

Side profile of the maple floor board.
The darker parts are made of pine.


As lovely as the look of unstained maple is, I'm biased towards a warmer look for the playing surface in part to provide greater contrast to both the black and white stones. I wish that it were instead finished in a nice Golden Pecan, Colonial Maple, Ipswich Pine or Natural finish as these correspond to Minwax's wood stain color chart.


In an email exchange, Carol Dufour, who makes these boards, quoted $25 extra to have the maple playing surface (on the floor board) stained with my preferred color. The lower portion (main body and legs) would, of course, remain a Dark Auburn Brown. I'm assuming the quote is in addition to the prices on their main website. Not a bad deal for customization!

It's at times like this that I wish I had taken a little more time to learn some of the what-I-had-back-then-found-boring lessons from my parents. If I had acquired just a quarter of the woodworking skills that my father has, I might have already gone about making a floor goban in either a Shaker, Mission or California Craftsman style.

Come to think of it, given the minimalism that is the natural style of a Go board, a Shaker floor goban would seem to be appropriate.

Board Game Go also sells their wares through their eBay store.

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