Thursday, 17 June 2010

Handmade Dice

As part of my on-going 40mm Typhon or Greek 'Sword and Sandal' Project I decided that I wanted some old fashioned - ancient looking dice. At the Games Expo show earlier this month there were thousands of different dice styles, colours and numbers but nothing like I wanted. I know I'm picky!

I decided that I would try to reproduce a set of Roman style D6 using either some left over Resin (from a Greek temple aquarium decoration) or a resin letter rack in the shape of a purse that I picked up from a charity ship for 99p.

This is the first D6, finished and given a wash of dark brown acrylic paint to pick out the imperfections and dots. The Dice is a nominal 18mm square.

In this photo you see the three dice 'blanks' and the finished D6. The blanks were cut from the resin oversize with a metal hacksaw, then sanded on different grade papers to smooth the sides and 'square' them.

The finished dice has had it edges curved and softened, as it was impossible to get a good role with the 'hard' edges.

I will work on the remaining 'blanks' later this week. I am very pleased with the look and feel of my homemade dice, there is something very satisfying in making your own dice, possibly the most personalised and tactile part of the hobby.

For those who want to know - they role well, with fives and sixes coming up regularly, I feel lucky!

Below I have copied a recent message from Roger Willcox, that was posted on the Alternative Armies Notables Pages earlier this month.

Dice rolling
Having small, artistic, hands (a good excuse to avoid any form of hard manual labour. Did they ask Chopin, Van Dyke or Shelley to dig the garden, put up shelves, or clean the car? I think not!) I tend to prefer to roll two d6, however there is a strange sensual delight in the rolloing of three or even four.
I find it advisable to use a dice box if more than three dice are to be rolled. This simple device not only saves the wrist from excess wear but also produces a pleasant sound as the dice are shaken. I favour a cylindrical, leather, box which makes a soft, cheerful rattle as it is being used. This simple device cusions the impact as the cup is brought, open end down, upon the board. A true master of the art may, by pausing for a a few seconds before lifting the cup, add a sense of drama and tension to the act.
I stongly advise dice rollers to perform a few symple excercises to minimise injury to the wrist, palm, thumb and fingers which might result from repeated dice use.
1. Make a loose fist with both hands and then rapidly flex the fingers and thumbs into a span. repeat this three or four times.
2. Place the palms of both hands together as if in prayer, interlock the fingers and then bring the hans downwards until elbows and palms are level. Do NOT push further than this point as this may result in damage the joints which would become detrimental to one`s rolling action.
3. Take two or three marbles in each hand and roll them around in your palms using your fingers and thumbs. Chinese metal Zen excercise balls may be employed by more experienced rollers. These contain small chimes which produce a calming effect which is beneficial.
4. Take a sponge ball, about the size of a tennis ball, and squeeze. Hold for a second then release. Repeat this four or five times. "Stress" balls are recommended for advanced rollers.
5. Make sure the fingernails are trimmed, but not too closely. A manicure is advised for professional rollers.
7. Moisturise, moisturise, moisturise! The hands must be supple. A little "Dog oil" available from herbalist stores should be applied to the joints daily.
8. Breath slowly and deaply for one minute before rolling.
9. Regular meditation, preferrably under the guidance of a two hundred year old Tibetan guru, is an essential.
10. Avoid ALL heavy manual tasks such as gardening, D.I.Y. cooking and cleaning which might damage the delicate precision instruments which are your hands. REMEMBER, you are an "artiste" not a mere human!
So, there you have it. If performed regularly these excercises will turn mere dice rolling from just an action into an art form!
Happy rolling,
Gilles Crookedeal, (Grand Master of the Tumbling Cubes of Chance).



Rob Alderman said...

Haha! Those are excellent tony. I'm sure it is nice having a set made my yourself. These will definately look the part.
I love what Roger wrote there. Hilarious stuff. I sometimes wish we could compile all of his ramblings into a book of 'Albionite Common Sense'.


Tony said...

Hi Rob,

With reference to Our Roger, I totally agree.


Chris said...

Hey just a question. How did you get perfect squares of resin? Also what is that black one?

Tony said...

To Chris,

I sand the dice square, cut a cube of resin that is larger than you need and carefully sand each side until the edges are flat and square. It is not difficult if you take your time.

The black cube was from a black resin ornament - I'm sure it was a mole (animal).

I hope that this helps.