D. Cooper Stevenson
September 8, 2013 9

[Nearly] Finished Go Board

By in Recreation

The challenge: to create a Go board that has the look and feel of a traditional board that may be built with readily available materials.

First, I scouted the Internet for ideas and armed myself with the board’s dimensions.

My design called for two pieces of of 3/4″ MDF. I chose MDF over HDF as the material most closely matches the specific density of Kaya. I confess this may not make much difference given the veneer overlay.

I cut, glued, sanded, and clamped the MDF together with high-grade wood glue. I rounded out the base of the project with a sheet of quality veneer.

The most challenging part of this project was figuring out how to route the grooves. By this I mean that with a project like this you only get one shot to get it right. You can see from the photos that my Dremel mounted to a routing attachment proved successful.









I have plans to craft a mini-goban; something that you may play comfortably on a table but have a sound nearly identical to the traditional piece. This, perhaps, even to the point of using glue used in the manufacturer of pianos and violins.

9 Responses to “[Nearly] Finished Go Board”

  1. Ben says:

    That’s incredible! Looks fantastic!

  2. Hi Ben,

    I’ll do a write-up of the process for making the board if you’d like material for your site!

    Very Best,


  3. Matt says:

    Hi Cooper,

    I really love your post, nice work! I’m interested in making something similar, and I would like to know what size dremel bit you used, and how deep you routed the grooves. Thanks for posting this great idea! It looks fantastic, and I bet you will be able to get the sound you want.


    • Hi Matt!

      Thank you! Well, the closest to the “official” 1mm thickness is a 3/64″ bit (1.191mm).

      Here you go:


      I started on a piece of practice wood to get the hang of the mechanics–I took maybe 20 minutes until I felt confident enough to route on the Go board.

      While I needed to be very careful (keep your hands at the _base_ of the dremel routing attachment and keep pressure downward on both sides) I was surprised at how fluid the operation turned out to be.

      Just go slowly and make sure your router is firmly agains the steel square (a heavy, solid square helps a lot), it’ll be alright.

      Thanks again for the great comments!

  4. Brandon says:

    Absolutely gorgeous! I may eventually get enough intestinal fortitude to try this approach.

  5. Jose Conseco says:

    Fantastic. What as the lines painted with, and how did you do it?

    • Hi Jose,

      An epoxy inlay technique is the most durable way to paint the lines I know of to date. If you inlay the epoxy slightly above the grooves you can create the “bump” effect that you often see with professional gobans.

      Alternatively, you can leave a slight groove using less epoxy or simply make your lines flush with the board. Here is a link outlining the epoxy inlay process:


      Here is a link to a maple goban using the technique with flush lines:


      Hope this helps!

      Very Best,


  6. Adam says:

    I’m thinking of making a Go board in the future and I really like the contrast of the cut grooves to the rest of the board in these photos so I’m planning to leave them as is and not do an epoxy inlay as you suggest.

    Would there be any downside to leaving the groves exposed or would it be best to fill them in or at least put a polyurethane coat over the whole board?

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