Thursday, 20 October 2011

Reversible Goban (games board)

Two of the family have recently got addicted to the oriental game of Go. So of course we needed something to play on (internet play works fine, but it isn't very sociable). We found instructions for making the board itself on bamsoftware, and made two - one each. Quite by accident I found that the bits of MDF left over were just enough to make this rather nice Go-ban. It looks the part, and is just the right height to play sitting on the floor, or to put coffee mugs on when there's no game in progress.

The board slots neatly into the top, so I made some 9x9 practice boards on the reverse side - but you could also do chess boards and I guess all sorts of other things.

It is made mostly from MDF (except the legs and feet) and, so long as the place you get the MDF from will do some cutting for you, you won't need a table saw or anything complicated - I made do with an ordinary jigsaw, a sander, a drill and a screwdriver - and six cotton reels and two clamps. All the measuring and lining-up is just done using the bits of MDF themselves. I got the furniture bun feet from Amazon for about £4 for all four.

How to do it

I've made a PDF of the instructions that you can download **HERE** so you don't get sawdust in your computer.

More pictures

The carcass without the board slotted in

Detail of the corner construction (see the felt pad that the board rests on)

After a bit of filling and varnishing (might have looked better if I didn't use stained varnish)

Mine looks a bit like it has been made from the timbers of a sunken ship. The instructions include all the bits of sanding/finishing that I missed out in my haste to make it! So yours will look even better.

About Go

If you haven't come across Go before, it is a fascinating game. It has a few very simple rules that lead to a real tussle between strategy and tactics every time you play. A good place to get a feel of the game is the KGS tutorial and for a starter book I'd suggest Neil Moffat's book.

You'll need some stones to play with. We use these and these from Yellow Mountain in the UK costing £3-£10 ish.


  1. Great post. Thank you.
    I've read the PDF and I think a little more detail and illustrations would be great for people that is not so good working with wood.

  2. Thanks for sharing. Directed here from the search results for wood 9x9 goban.

  3. wowh.. it's great. I want to try make it too with ceramics.

  4. Great idea, but you might want to add a base to it--that way you have a place to store your stone bowls, and maybe a 13 x 13 board, inside while you're not using them.

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