I just finished my first Goban and I'm very pleased with the result. I
learned a few things along the way and thought I would describe my
process to everyone so that you might not run into the same issues I
did at the time..
I laminated three pieces of quarter-sawn 8/4 Basswood together, the
result was a board measured just about 17"x18"x1.75". With the
laminated board, I sanded all sides down to about 180 grit. On the
face and sides, I continued to sand down to 400 grit. At this point, I
was ready to figure out how to put the lines down and to apply a
finish on top of the lines to protect them from wear.
Here's where I made some mistakes and learned a few things:
1. I applied a coat of wax on the board then applied the lines, this
worked well but I could not apply another coat ontop of the lines
without smearing them. In my case, it was because the wax was paste
and had some sort of solvents which ate into the ink.
2. I didn't want to trash this wood, since it's my first shot at a
board anyway.. so I decided to sand off the lines and finish. This was
ugly, and I don't know how else to do it, but I got out some paint
stripper and the ink ended up smearing all over the board.. after a
bit of elbow grease and sweat, I got the board totally sanded down and
looking clean. (I vow to do everything in my power to avoid having to
sand off an existing finish in the future)
Once I got the board cleaned and back to a point where I could start
over, I had to sand the whole thing with all grits from about 100 to
400.. Basswood is really soft wood so this didn't take more than about
30 or 40 minutes. At this point, I'm back to where I need to put on a
base coat and then apply the lines, a protective coat, and a finish
coat. I was considering tung oil, but decided to leave that for my
next project, so I used polyurethane.
Here's how I finished the board and got really great results for my
first shot at it:
1. After having the face and sides sanded down to 400 grit, clean the
board with a damp cloth to pick up any dust and residue. Let this dry,
it's important that there's no moisture which might react with the
2. I applied a thin layer of polyurethane (clear, water based, satin
finish) to the face of the board to prevent the lines from bleeding
into the grain of the wood. Paint this on, or spray it on, following
the grain of the wood.
3. After the base coat of polyurethane dries, lightly sand it with 400
grit to smooth the face. At this point, I used a mechanical pencil to
draw the corners and a mark at each line of a standard grid (get exact
measurements at Senseis). It's important to have marks for the lines
on all 4 sides of the board so you can line them up with the straight
edge and get squared and uniform lines.
4. Time to draw the lines! I'm using a Koh-I-Noor Rapidograph
technical pen, using a 3.5 point (1mm) and black india ink (ultradraw,
quick drying, waterproof). Using an 18" metal straightedge (non-slip,
with cork on the bottom which lifts the ruler off of the board to
prevent the ink from smearing from the ruler), I drew the vertical and
horizontal border lines and let them dry for a few minutes. I then
proceeded to draw all of the horizontal lines and then all of the
vertical lines. After the first set of lines is dry (only took me a
minute or two to dry), I then went back over spots where the ink was
thin and not a rich black 1mm line.
5. After the lines are complete, I masked off the sides with tape and
sprayed a layer of polyurethane (same water based, clear, satin
finish) over the lines. I found it to be important using spray
polyurethane because the brushed on coat would smear the lines on my
test pieces. Remove the masking tape immediately so the board can dry
without the tape on it.
6. I let the final coat of polyurethane dry over night. The next
morning, I then very lightly sanded the final coat with 400 grit to
take off any spots that may have dried a little rough.
7. The final step was to put a finishing coat on the board, I'm using
standard SC Johnson paste wax. Put a very light coat of wax on the
board, rubbing with the grain of the wood and on the sides and ends of
the board. It's cold this time of year so it took 20 minutes or more
for the wax to nearly dry. After the wax was almost entirely dry it's
time to put some elbow grease into it.. I was using a soft piece of
lint-free cotton and buffed the top and sides of the board until the
lines and wood grain looked nice and clear.
8. As a finishing touch, I applied a couple thin cork adhesive pads on
the bottom corners.
This morning I replayed a pro game on the board, and tested the sound
of an Ing stone being whacked down hard and it sounds nice. I thought
the polyurethane might make the sound a bit higher pitched like a
board made of particle wood, but I can definitely tell there's some
'depth' to the sound and the stones slid right into place.
Board #1 done, lots of learning and a few glitches along the way..
After the holiday season I'm going to start work on #2. I took some
pictures of the process and will post them as an article on my blog at
www.revgum.com once I have them processed, scanned, and uploaded.
Hopefully this will help someone who might like to make their own