Building a Metal Melting Furnace


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In my quest for interesting games I could build at home, I ran across a reference to a game similar to billiards or snooker, but played on a smaller table using sliding discs in place of balls. It looked like fun to build (and to play) so I set about building one, based on the free plans available at Wood Gears (thanks, Matthias!!!).

Here's what I came up with:

The playing field is cut from half of an old cherry-wood dining room table left over from the bus project (the other half is the kitchen table in the bus!). I engraved the scoring circles using my router with a homemade circle-cutting guide and a 30 degree engraving cutter ground from a hardened steel 1/4" dowel pin. The "ditch" where the discs land if they go off the board is some leftover oak I had sitting around, and the "rail" around the outside edge is made from some scraps of maple. The discs are slices of a hickory dowel with the edges chamfered by hand on the belt sander. Half of them are dunked in dark walnut stain, and the other half in "golden oak" stain, and all of them were sprayed with a couple of coats of polyurethane and then buffed smooth. The cherry and walnut are stained, and I tried staining the rail as well, but discovered to my chagrin that maple, while quite durable, doesn't absorb stain very well. I ended up putting a couple of coats of a "Bombay Mahogany" colored polyurethane and stain combination product on the rail.

After the polyurethane was completely dry, I buffed the playing surface with some "000" steel wool, then rubbed it down with paste wax and buffed it out with some old rags. It's very smooth, and the discs slide easily with just a flick of your finger. I'm pretty pleased with the way it turned out. We've been having a blast playing it. For more information on the game, check out Mister Crokinole.