Category Archives: Making

Reaper Bones – Satheras, Elf Warlock

I have been working on this figure for weeks, on and off. But I decided I needed to finish it so I could actually use it in my friend’s Dungeon World game. This is really the first figure I’ve painted to completion, and the first of our Bones Vampire reward level miniatures that I’ve painted.

Satheras, Elf Warlock, front

Satheras, Elf Warlock, front

Satheras, Elf Warlock, back

Satheras, Elf Warlock, back

I was attempting to get an inner glow on the crystal, but I think I need to work on my blending. I also trimmed the pointy elf hood to make it less, well, pointy. I think that worked well. And I’m really happy with the shading on the robes.

Although it has some issues, I’m quite happy with it. I have reigned-in my perfectionism and actually called something finished. This is actually a big deal for me.

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#RPGaDAY DIY edition: Build your own gaming table

Thanks to Autocratik for this series of RPG discussion prompts. And to my friend Tyler for his inspiring responses on his blog, Held Action. And for prodding me into reviving my own blog.

I’m going off-script today with my own topic: build your own game table. It isn’t often that I get to talk about gaming and woodworking in the same breath. I made this table because I needed a big surface that was lower than a normal table, but a higher than a coffee table. I also needed something inexpensive. Here’s my solution.

This table can easily be knocked down and stored when not in use. It’s built from one 4×8 foot sheet of plywood and a couple 2x4s. I built this to be comfortable for folks sitting on a couch or easy chair. You can adjust the dimensions to suit your needs.

Legs and table top cut from single sheet of plywood.

Legs and table top cut from single sheet of plywood.

I picked a sheet of plywood with a good side and a patched side. I had the home center make the cut to separate the legs from the table top, and then had them cut the top to width. The rest of the cuts I made with a jigsaw.

Two-by-fours fit into vertical notch in legs.

Two-by-fours fit into vertical notch in legs.

I used a simple edge-lap joint; grooves on each side of the 2×4 that lock into a vertical notch in the plywood leg piece.

The legs and braces assembled.

The legs and braces assembled.

Here are the legs and braces assembled. It’s surprisingly sturdy.

Table height was select to work well from low chairs or couch.

Table height was select to work well from low chairs or couch.

This photo shows the height of my table, which is 24″ (half the width of the plywood). It’s low enough that people in easy chairs or on a sofa can see the table easily.

Some useful accessories: elastic tie downs, acrylic sheet or gaming mat.

Some useful accessories: elastic tie downs, acrylic sheet or gaming mat.

I used some elastic tie downs to keep the table top from sliding around too much. More recently, I picked up a sheet of acrylic, under which I can place maps or grid paper. I have a preference for wet-erase markers, and they work nicely on the acrylic.

I also picked up a couple large pieces of craft felt to cover the table, which was a nice surface until the cats got to it. I didn’t put any finish on the table, but I’m considering adding some paint (to cover the food stains).

We’re back, and in HD

Well, with HD. We moved into a new house over a year ago, and we opted not to get a cable TV subscription. But the HD antenna I got at the Shack wasn’t pulling in strong signal. Which is sad, because I almost have line of sight to the antennas on top of Mount Mansfield.

HD-antenna-01I decided to build one of the DIY antennas, following the instructions Make magazine has online.

I skipped the stand, and just hung the antenna. I even got to use my new Dremel tool to strip the coating off the coat hangers. So far, it seems to be working much better than the retail one.

Wiz-War progress

We’ve been casting lots of Wiz-War pieces over the past weeks. I finally got some masonite to use as a base for the game board segments, to which we would glue the floor and spacer tiles.

wizwar-board1-01

I cut a square of masonite to size. Then we spread a generous layer of Tacky Glue and laid the tiles and spacers down.

wizwar-board1-02

Tacky Glue is thicker than typical white (PVA) glues, and it sets up quickly. So we worked in sections.

wizwar-board1-03

After all the pieces were set, we put another square of masonite and  some encyclopedias on top to help it dry flat.

wizwar-board1-04

We’ve now glued-up two boards, and have enough pieces cast for half of the third. We need to get casting again, and start working on painting the boards and wall pieces. Then there are the cards, minis, and assorted accessories…

Making WizWar

When we attended the Carnage gaming conference in November, NatureBoy and I played a game called WizWar, and had a great time. The game itself is out of print, but rules and materials can be downloaded and used to make your own game set. Of course, having played on a beautiful three-dimensional game board, we didn’t want to play on a flat cardboard set.

For Solstice, NatureBoy and I got two silicone rubber molds ( #88 and #285 ) from Hirst Arts, and 25 pounds of a dental plaster casting stone called Merlin’s Magic from a supplier in Massachusetts.

Following the instructions on the Hirst Arts site (here and here), we’ve started creating the pieces necessary for the WizWar board.

wizwar-firstcast-01

Here are the two molds, and some Merlin’s Magic getting mixed on top of the mixing board.

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Summer reflections 2: Picnic Table

I built a picnic table during my vacation in August. I hadn’t built anything this involved in quite a while, probably not since the chicken coop over ten years ago. It seemed like this ought to be a pretty straight-forward project, and I spent time looking at plans online until I found a set that I liked.

Then it was off to the local hardware store for lumber and fasteners. I decided to make the legs out of pressure-treated lumber, but the rest is regular 2x framing material.

First step was to cut the lumber to dimension. I did find a couple errors on the plans as I went, though:

  • Part B, cross stretcher that supports the seats, needs to be 60" long (as indicated in the elevation), not 84".
  • Part D, seat members, need to be 84" (same as table top), not 11-1/4".

Luckily, I was very careful to measure twice, and double-check the diagrams, before cutting.

Materials, nicely stacked.

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Crafting in the blood

My Beloved Wife’s blog persona is “CraftyMommaVT” and it fits her perfectly. Part of her internship early this summer involved creating a tool for the Skilled Nursing Facility where she was working. She thought through how to make it really useful, worked really hard and carefully, and the final result is beautiful.

She does a better job than I can in describing the project, but the top offers some fine motor challenges, the bottom a standing checkers game, and all of it encourages patients to stand for longer periods of time to build strength and endurance.

standing activity board

The crafty trait apparently is genetic, and Nature Boy exercises his creative energies routinely. Recently, he decided that he needed to add some diversity to his boffer weapon arsenal. See the boffer war hammer he put together? Let me tell you; it packs quite a wallop! We have more raw materials, too, so I anticipate more fun with foam, CPVC, and lots of duct tape.

foam, CPVC, and lots of duct tape