Quarto is a game that I’ve played for many years. It’s a fun and simple strategy game that gets more complicated as you learn it more and more. The pieces are simple and really clean looking so I’ve always thought about making my own. Several years ago a good friend, who I play a lot of table top games with, was getting married and I thought at the time that it’d be a great gift to give the newlywed couple so I put it on my todo list. Well, they’ve been married for seven years and I finally just got around to making it for them.
It’s a very simple build that can be done in lots of different ways. The shapes of the board and pieces are pretty non-specific so you can really create it in any way and it still plays the same.
I decided to recreate the store bought version that I had with nicer woods. I wanted it to be a piece that would live on display rather than in a game closet.
Here’s how I did it!
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- Easel file for game board
- SawStop cabinet saw
- Dewalt compact router
- Orbital Sander
- Shop Fox Push Blocks
- Grizzly G0555LANV Bandsaw
- Grizzly Drill Press (WAAAAY overpriced (3x) on Amazon, buy from Grizzly directly.)
- Shop Fox Hanging Air Filter
- 2HP Dust Collector with 1 Micron bag
- X-Carve (CNC)
- Formby’s Tung Oil Finish
I used a CNC to cut the game board. I laid it out in Easel and that file is available here.
I engraved the outlines with a couple of shallow passes including the outside border of the board.
I cut the full depth of that outer diameter on the bandsaw simply because it’s faster.
I sanded the outer edge to the engraved line on the disc sander.
Using a round over bit in my router table, I curved the top and bottom outer edges.
I smoothed it all out and removed any burn marks with an orbital sander.
The board was finished off with two coats of Tung Oil Finish with a light sanding in between.
If you don’t have a CNC all you really need is a 4×4 grid for the game board. Alternatively, I cut a 8″ sq piece of wood then lowered the blade and set the fence to 2″. I made four cuts rotating the piece 90˚ each time.
I set the fence at 4″ then made two more passes, turning it 90˚ for the second pass.
I used two contrasting woods for the game pieces, teak and maple. Any woods, or different stains would work.
I cut two 1″x1″ strips of each type of wood about 18″ long.
Using the round over bit again, I rounded one piece of each type of wood by running the pieces through the bit on each corner.
A lathe would help you get perfect cylinders, but as long as they are rounded, it will work for the game.
I figured out the length of the two types of pieces that I needed. I ended up with 2″ and 3.5″ but it doesn’t really matter.
I set a stop block on my cross cut sled and cut four pieces of each type of wood. Two where squared off, two were rounded.
Moving my stop block, I cut the same number of pieces to the longer piece length.
Here are the final lengths and types.
I found the approximate center on one piece of each type (total of eight pieces).
Using a 3/4″ forstner bit, I drilled down a bit into the top of each of these eight pieces. I used a depth stop on the drill press to keep the depth uniform.
Here are the final array of different pieces.
I used a belt sander to remove any burn marks, smooth the round pieces and square off the squared pieces.
Finally, each piece got the same finish as the game board.
The Tung oil finish really brings out the grain in all types of wood. It might be my favorite finish.
Here’s the game all complete!!