My son is making an ancient Egyptian game for social studies. The game
board is 3x10, with squares recessed below the surface.
Any "right" way to make the grid better then just gluing up a bunch of
The mutton bars on newer construction windows comes to mind.Half lap
joints at the intersections all fit together to make a "skeletal"
panel.Glue it all up and you may be able to lift it out to clean the
Tom in KY, with a WAG?
Well, since HE is supposed to be making it, I think it would depend on
his skill level with tools, and how much of this will actually be HIS
You could easily make a half lap grid that Tom is talking about by
simply offsetting a group of square cut rods determined by the size of
the inset squares.
You could cut the laps in the grid with a router table, a table saw
with dado blade, or even a router and suitable straight edge. Glue
the pieces together with a dot of glue in each joint, square it up with
a framing square, and let it sit.
If you were wise enough to cut all the pieces a little long, you can
now take it over to the table saw and size it perfectly.
If he is a young lad, his teachers and classmates may find it hard to
believe he has those abilities, but hey.... how long have Dads been
building the little pinewood derby cars "along" with their sons?
I did a chessboard once with bark for the dark squares, so I had to do
something like this to cover the edges and make up for different
1) Cut the T shape into the frame pieces from wider boards with the
last step being to cut the T loose from the board if you'd like to
still have fingers at the end of the project.
2) I think it's easier to cut long pieces for one direction and short
pieces to fit between rather than trying to half lap long pieces in
both directions. Since you can glue it all in it's not worth the
3) If I had it to do over again I would have made the T's longer and
cut grooves in the sub base for them to insert into for alignment
purposes. However my bark squares were cut freehand on the band saw
so they weren't exactly square, you won't have this problem.
The half laps wouldn't be bad to cut on a radial arm saw with a dado
blade. You could even use a block clamped to the fence to keep your
cuts all the same. The block only as wide as the dado and set up off of
the table so that it fits in the last dado cut. That way you could cut
dado's in long peices and then size them up as you go from there. A box
joint jig for a table saw also comes to mind. If you built a custom
plate to fit on your table saw's mitergauge, then you could cut the
half laps on your table saw and they would all come out the same length
and your squares all symetrical. As Robert said, then square it all up
and let the glue cure then size it up on TS.
Tom in KY, man, this ain't no big thing, you would have figured it out!
You have not said how old the boy is ?
I would buy (or machine) some timber for the frame pieces and assemble
the long runs end to end with the cross pieces simply cut and butt
joint. Glue it to the underlying board.
Well within the capability of even a very young person with a little
exacto saw and mitre box.
Otherwise I might be tempted to make a template for one recess and
route them in solid stock.
Another option if they do not need to be square is to use a hole saw
and drill through a thin sheet.
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