Liar's Dice Boxes (Woodworking)

Liar's dice is a fun social bluffing game. The dice are rolled in the main compartment and dice that a player doesn't want changing are 'secured' in the upper tray. 

The full rules are here for anyone interested.

I've been playing this game for a long time, but the box I have hasn't aged well. The edges and hinge were sharp and some warping of the wood made it hard to get the dice out of the upper tray. I wanted to expand my woodworking skills by making my own. 

I'd been holding on to a 2" thick piece of red oak for nearly a decade so that was a good place to start! The plans I drew my inspiration from are here, but I did remake them in SketchUp 2017 and adjust slightly (twice)

So I used my table saw to cut the boards into usable widths. I tried to get them about 1/2" thick for the majority of them, and two thin pieces of 1/4" as well. I've not really worked with hard wood before, so this is the first time I ever blew a fuse using my table saw. No big deal, only happened once and maybe I was pushing the wood through too quickly. I ended up with enough wood to make 3 boxes. I wasn't really sure how much wood I'd end up with until I was done, so 3 is a good number!

To get everything even thickness, I used a thickness planer. I've never used one before, so I ended up with my boards quite a bit thinner than I'd planned for, so I needed to update my plans to account for that. The boards ended up about 1/16" of an inch thinner than planned; so nothing major. The box sides would be 7/16" and the thin pieces were 3/16".

Once the boards were planed, I made a simple jig to make the box sides and lids all equal in size.

I found "setup" from one tool to the next, and calibrating everything took the most time, so making multiple boxes is the way to go since the actual cuts and such is pretty quick.

I forgot to take a photo, but there are tons of good videos on youtube for making a box joint jig. It was way simpler than I thought. Takes some time (lots of cuts) but it's pretty easy with the jig. I followed this video; he has lots of great stuff for the weekend warrior.

I then used my table saw to cut some dados in the sides, back and the divider to house the 3/16" panels. Lots of clamps and glue later and we have boxes!

Once they were glued up, I used a 1/4" router to cut slots in the bottom, and chiseled out the corners. I cut the same into the base, so it would slide in and make a strong joint. The next photo shows the hidden compartment made by the divider. I filled it with fish bowl beads? What this does is increase the noise the box makes when shaken, to mask the sound of dice rolling (or not, when in the upper tray). 

I glued the base on and then spent a LONG time sanding to make the box joints flush and the base fit. Each of these techniques (the box joints, the base being put in with rabbets) are new to me, so I needed to hide the learning curve with a sander haha. 

Once everything was sanded flat using 60 grit on my orbital and 80 grit on my bench belt sander, I used a 1/4" router bit to round all of the edges over so it feels better to hold while playing. 

Once I was happy with everything, I moved on to mortising? the hinges. I used a blade to score the shape of the hinges and then a chisel to scrape enough wood out for the hinges to fit. I wanted them mostly hidden and I think given the thin dimension of the wood, I couldn't just attach them to the outside of the box anyway (at least not without special ordering some hinges).

After making sure those fit, I used a drill press to drill pilot holes. I went slightly larger than the recommended pilot hole on account of it being hardwood (when I did a test it was hard to screw in) and it seems to have been ok. I didn't want the brass screws stripping otherwise. I can always add some glue later if they get loose. 

One major problem I diagnosed, after the fact, was my drill bit was chipped, so the holes all veered off and the hinges aren't on flush now. I'm hoping it won't put too much strain on the hinge or something. On the plus side, it does give them a bit of 'friction' so that the lid won't fall open. You can see in the picture it just stays in the position it was opened to. Again, not sure if that's going to be a long term problem but at this stage it seems to be a good thing. I added felt with spray on adhesive to the main compartment to mute some of the dice rolling sound. The upper tray is 1/8" larger in each direction than the dice so they rattle a lot but won't change facing. This further adds noise (in addition to the hidden beads) to hinder any skilled listener from knowing how many dice are being 'saved'.