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Subject: The Agricola Chest rss

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Richard Dewsbery
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I was dead envious when I saw someone's wooden Puerto Rico box a few years ago. I thought about buying a Catanbox, but I'm not really a huge fan of Settlers. And the box that Carcassonne:The City comes in is perfectly functional, but lacking a certain sparkle. Agricola deserves something at least as good.

And then my copy arrived, having been sat on by someone who works at the Royal Mail (silly name for a companythat now seems to "pride" itself on "competing" with the likes of DHL and UPS - ho hum).

So I had the desire, I had the excuse, but could I pull it off?

Given that I do carpentry on average once every ten years, for a few hours at most, and have done nothing even remotely adventurous since woodwork classes at school 25 years ago, the answer ought to be "no". But I scrounged a few tools anyway (mostly ancient hand tools - though it turned out that my purchase of a palm sander a couple of years ago was an inspired move; *remembering* I had the sander somewhere in the garage was even more important), got out the cheap Chinese folding workbench (oh, how I longed for a proper woodworking bench, a vise and some good sash clamps), and started to plan.

I knew what I wanted - a box deep enough for the boards, cards, player pieces and a tray for all the resources. I sketched things out, ran off to the sawmill and bought some wood. Then, when I realised what a pain it was to try and rebate grooves by hand for the sliding lids, I changed my plans and went back for more wood. And ordered different hinges, and some better clasps, and more varnish, and ended up spending more money than I want to think about. But I digress.

The counter tray was the first part finished - and it was the experience with the varnish that lead me to use a completely different product for the rest of the box. I am now completely converted to water-based varnishes (not least because they don't make a sticky mess, dry much faster, and don't smell - so the other half won't complain *much* if stuff is left drying in the dining room). I also decided that the main box would have to have a hinged lid. But I was happy enough with the counter tray (once I'd tuned the grooves so that the lid would actually slide).

Then it was the box itself. A few more errors on the way (like too much filler on parts where sanding the excess filler off was going to be impossible; oh, and hinges are the very devil to get right, and certainly should not be approached in a slap-dash manner; still, we live and learn). But overall, I'm pretty happy with the end result (85% satisfied, I'd say; if I did it again, I know that I could tidy up the inside dividers, and the hinges would be perfect next time, but I'm not spending all that time again so the point is moot).

Pictures. First, the chest:


Open, showing the boards on top:


The counter tray underneath:


The bottom of the chest, with dividers for the various decks (I'll label these at some point) and the playing pieces. I've also shoehorned Race For The Galaxy in, too, but that's because we're off out tomorrow and I want to take both games with me in just the one box; I've made the card section intentionally larger than it needs to be to allow space for any expansion decks.


The counter tray:


And the counter tray fully open:


Apart from a few bits of rectification work, it's done. I need to grind off a bit of the hinge edges that might damage the counter tray if not filed flush with the lip of the lid, which will prompt some revarnishing too, but I'll call it finished for now. I'll sew some drawstring bags in the players' colours for the playing pieces, and I want to add pictures to the family member discs. I've thought about putting some graphics on the chest, but I'd likely just stuff it up if I tried anything too fancy with a paintbrush or pyro iron. I'm still debating whether the box needs a carry handle (it's quite heavy), or brass corners (I don't want those nice joints getting knocked about), but those are things for another day (if ever).
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Todd Pytel
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Very nicely done. When will you be accepting commissions?
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Richard Dewsbery
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Oh, when you consider the sort of hourly rate that I'm normally charged at, times the number of hours I spent on this thing, less 50% because I know what needs doing when and by how much now, you'd still be looking at a *very* expensive box; you'd certainly be able to pay a *proper* cabinet maker to do a better job for far less. No, I'm afraid that this was a purely personal pimping project. I can't do Fimo farmers, but I can do a pretty handy box.
 
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Ingo Keiner
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Quote:
No, I'm afraid that this was a purely personal pimping project.

Two notes:
- Maybe you just need some more pre-orders?
- Does it really come with animeeples?


ok, lets come to a serious thought... Great Work!.
I am thinking for myself to do something similar...
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Melissa
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Oh, that is beautiful.
 
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Boon Kai Keefe Pang
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Looks Great!! Marvellous Job! Please Richard Dewsbery, PIMP my AGRICOLA!!
 
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Mik Svellov
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With a little luck we will see a wooden box in Essen - either this year or next. Just as we have seen with popular games, like the Settlers board game, Settlers card game and Carcassonne.

Otherwise I might have to make some changes to my Cuba box...
 
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Hanno Girke
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Great Dane wrote:
With a little luck we will see a wooden box in Essen - either this year or next.


If Richard brings his, yes. ninja

So, woodworkers to the front: If anyone has a way to make nice wooden boxes, I'll be happy to give a license.
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Professor of Pain
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Nice work! I particularly like the counter tray!
 
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Julian Steindorfer
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Great job!
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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Several people who have seen the Chest "in the flesh" have remarked at how grand it looks, and how they could never make anything as good. Well, I'm not too sure about he former, but I know that the latter is untrue.

The whole box has been made with pretty rudimentary woodworking skills, little more than careful (but simple) planning annd measuring, taking time over everything (it's no coincidence that the bits that I'm least happy with are the bits that were rushed), and two important tools (OK, you need more than just two tools, but two particular tools helped me to make the box as good as it is).

The special tools were firstly a fine-toothed saw (a really good English tenon saw is apparently quite expensive; "proper" wood workers apparently often use a fine-toothed Japanese saw; I "cheated" and used an Exacto razor saw - it's not really for this sort of thing, but cuts so finely I was able to get the box joints pretty tight). Secondly I used an electric detail sander (after remembering that I had one) - by sanding all the bits beforehand, then after gluing and assembly, and between varnish coats, the box looks and feels silky smooth. The sander was invaluable in turning fairly mediocre joints into really good-looking ones.

I got a few bits really wrong, though. Firstly the counter box was rushed, so the groove that the lid slides in took some fine-tuning (anyone with half a brain would borrow a router to cut the groove; I used a Stanley combination plane which is older than I am, and could probably fetch enough on Ebay to pay for a proper router). In rushing the counter box I didn't do a great job with the varnish (I used an oil-based satin varnish, and it went on a bot thick in places; at some point I'll fetch it all off and start again with the water-based matt varnish that I used on the chest itself). The hinges on the chest are out of alingnment by about half a mil - good enough for Government work, but not good enough by my standards (can't be fixed, though; I wish that I'd found a suitable size of piano hinge that would have made the whole business easier). And I went a bit mad with wood filler on some of the internal dividers, in a couple of places where I can't get the sander in to sand off the excess. Ho hum, at least it's (mostly) out of sight. I'd do better next time, only I'm rather hoping to avoid there being a next time as this thing took far too long to make. Oh, and it's *heavy*. Carrying Agricola round in a box like this can double as an effective weapon if you put the whole shebang in a canvas bag and swing it at somebody.
 
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Jennifer Schlickbernd
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Richard, you must realize that some of us (not naming any names here certainly ) can't even hammer a nail without hitting our hands. So what you've done is pretty special and I really don't think that most if not many people could make a box for their Agricola game that looks as good as yours. Thanks much for suggestions on how to do it though, still appreciated.
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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I hit my thumb/fingers at least 4 times hammering the top & bottom onto the chest. The risk of a bit of physical pain shouldn't stop anyone from having a go - just remember to use sharp nails, a small hammer, and iddy-bitty taps to minimise the risk of doing any real damage
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Chris Shaffer
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The images seem to have disappeared
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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Every time I try to post an image directly to BGG, some PITA geekmodder rejects it - so much so that I've given up trying to post *any* content to BGG that requires a geekmod's approval.

It looks like my Free Image Hosting account has vanished (again; there's another site that's more trouble than it's worth). If I CBA, I'll upload the pics to Picasa.
 
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Mik Svellov
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Richard, you can upload pictures into your own personal Gallery here on BGG.
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Richard Dewsbery
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I'll see what I can do. The work involved was quadrupled, though, thanks to a virus trashing my HDD a fortnight ago. So although I have the original images somewhere, the downsized jpegs no longer exist anywhere on my system, and neither does an image editing program until I get around to reinstalling it.
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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Actually, it turns out that I *don't* have the images stored anywhere. They were on that free image hosting page, they were on my old HDD, they weren't on my backup HDD, and they weren't uploaded to BGG thanks to moronic geek modding making it a pointless exercise.

But yes, Mik, I'll use my personal gallery in future. I'm guessing that the geekmods don't have a say in that.
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J. Brinks
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RDewsbery wrote:
Actually, it turns out that I *don't* have the images stored anywhere. They were on that free image hosting page, they were on my old HDD, they weren't on my backup HDD, and they weren't uploaded to BGG thanks to moronic geek modding making it a pointless exercise.

But yes, Mik, I'll use my personal gallery in future. I'm guessing that the geekmods don't have a say in that.


You are going to take more photos and put them up right? We're waiting
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Richard Dewsbery
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Wait no more. Job's done. Whether it was worth the wait is another matter. And frankly I did a very poor job of organizing the lighting (ie I didn't bother waiting for good light or using a good location; I just snapped away in my living room).
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Mik Svellov
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Still looks very nice!
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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You might have noticed that I *started* to sticker my resources, but never managed to finish the job as it's possibly the most tedious task I've attempted this year.
 
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Mik Svellov
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- but stickers are completely unnecessary now that we have the complete deluxe token set!
 
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Richard Dewsbery
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sticks fingers in his ears I'm not listening!
 
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Mik Svellov
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AH!
But how will you stop that inner voice I have now implanted in your head?
 
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