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 Post subject: Boards from USA craftsmen
Post #1 Posted: Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:08 am 
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I’ve owned (and sold or given away) several exquisite table go boards over the decades: hiba, kaya, purpleheart, spruce, agathis, and maple. I’ve been trying to find a new, high quality board and discovered that most of the old sources for good equipment have either dried up completely or, in the case of Kuroki, for instance, prices and shipping have inflated to a point where they no longer can be rationalized by my desire. So, if I’m going to spend some money, I’d like to support an onshore woodworker. I have come across only one craftsman who is making go boards. Do you know of others?

(link will die eventually): [url]https://www.etsy.com/listing/558689949/full-size-19x19-maple-goban?ref=rv_more-1-8
[/url]

Woodson Woodcraft is in Seattle. He’s used glued up maple, a CNC router to engrave his lines, and filled the lines with black epoxy. If you look carefully at one of the glued joint closeups, he doesn’t quite have this process perfected yet. I don’t have a problem with such imperfections, they are what give any handmade artifact its distinction.

I’d like to locate or contact some other woodworkers who would know a go board from a cutting board. Your suggestions would be appreciated.

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 Post subject: Re: Boards from USA craftsmen
Post #2 Posted: Sat Aug 10, 2019 9:17 pm 
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Steve Pell in Bellingham WA is experimenting with different board designs, often using yellow cedar. He has about 5 different boards on loan to the Seattle Go Center for testing. Here is an older post with a photo:
https://www.seattlego.org/2018/05/17/we-are-testing-a-new-go-board/


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 Post subject: Re: Boards from USA craftsmen
Post #3 Posted: Sun Aug 11, 2019 6:46 am 
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Tanana wrote:
Steve Pell in Bellingham WA is experimenting with different board designs, often using yellow cedar. He has about 5 different boards on loan to the Seattle Go Center for testing. Here is an older post with a photo:
https://www.seattlego.org/2018/05/17/we-are-testing-a-new-go-board/


Thank you!

Dramatically massive board and an interesting play on carved goke. His prices seems low for the work he is putting into the fabrication so I hope Steve sells several sets.

2019.08.11: I’ve sent Steve a note asking how he is applying the grid.

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 Post subject: Re: Boards from USA craftsmen
Post #4 Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 8:31 am 
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Steve is using CNC equipment, so once he gets a design he likes, he should be able to do an edition of boards, and get some economies of scale.

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 Post subject: Re: Boards from USA craftsmen
Post #5 Posted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:09 am 
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Tanana wrote:
Steve is using CNC equipment, so once he gets a design he likes, he should be able to do an edition of boards, and get some economies of scale.


Only if he sells them. Which I hope he does. But I have not seen indications anywhere that he has been successful in moving his fine products. I wish there was some way that his boards and interesting bowls could be promoted to a wider audience. The AGA’s vendor site, for instance, has not been updated in several years and the prices for many of the products from Japanese suppliers have increased tremendously, putting even a modest go set out of the reach of budding enthusiasts.

Domestic mass production of go equipment could now be competitive with those prices. At the higher end, skilled craftsmen and artists like Steve can take the traditional designs and create their own aesthetic.

There remains a huge and largely unserved market for complete, high quality go sets in the US$200-500 range. The options for sub-$300, quality table boards is extremely limited these days. I don’t think Steve’s shop would want to get into that market although he could buy a pallet of 1-1/2” or 2” glued-up maple cutting boards from the John Boos Company at wholesale, trim them to size, CNC and fill the grids, and sell them for $200-300, plus, of course, shipping a 20# chunk of solid wood. I’d have bought one! (Instead, I have the John Boos superbly crafted maple cutting board but have not found a way to apply the grids that satisfies my requirement for precision.)

https://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO-3437514/
https://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO- ... ing+Boards
https://www.surlatable.com/product/PRO- ... ing+Boards

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 Post subject: Re: Boards from USA craftsmen
Post #6 Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:32 pm 
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Tanana wrote:
Steve Pell in Bellingham WA […] Seattle Go Center for testing. Here is an older post with a photo:
https://www.seattlego.org/2018/05/17/we-are-testing-a-new-go-board/
Whoa, beautiful board :o

bogiesan wrote:
[…] I wish there was some way that his boards and interesting bowls could be promoted to a wider audience. […]
Just have him post them in that FB group “Go (Baduk, Weiqi) Players on FB” and in r/baduk, should easily take off from there.

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 Post subject: Re: Boards from USA craftsmen
Post #7 Posted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 2:16 pm 
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Bonobo wrote:
Just have him post them in that FB group “Go (Baduk, Weiqi) Players on FB” and in r/baduk, should easily take off from there.


I received Steve’s permission for me to submit his business’s link to the folks at AGA who may one day update their decrepit equipment vendors’ resource pages. I could suggest the Facebook and Reddit groups to him.

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 Post subject: Re: Boards from USA craftsmen
Post #8 Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 5:49 am 
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In the picture on the Seattle Go Center page it seems the board is on a table that is too high. A thick board like his on a dining (or confrence or desk) height table is, in my opinion, difficult to use. The angle of viewing the surface when sitting in a normal chair is too small. Best use of a thick board like that on a table top would be to use a low table, such as a coffee table, or use a taller chair than normal. In Japan, in the go kaisho (go salons), the approx. two inch thick boards are used on tables where the top is about 55 cm above the floor. These tables are so low that I can barely fit my knees under the table.

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 Post subject: Re: Boards from USA craftsmen
Post #9 Posted: Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:16 am 
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Gowan, you might wish to contact the artist, Steve Pell, at his furniture company’s site, where you can see his full-sized boards, bowls, and stands, and inform him of your concerns. From my correspondence with him, I infer that he plays. Note that he has several boards in use at the Seattle Center, only one of which, quite thick at 6-7cm, was pictured.

https://www.pellicandesigninc.com/product/go-game/

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 Post subject: Re: Boards from USA craftsmen
Post #10 Posted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:13 am 
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Quote:
I infer that he plays. Note that he has several boards in use at the Seattle Center, only one of which, quite thick at 6-7cm, was pictured.


Steve Pell is a beginner - we have been giving him lessons at the Seattle Go Center. His boards vary from 4cm to 8cm. In response to previous comments, I agree that our tables at the Go Center are a bit too high. We have cushions to help make up the difference for shorter people. Interestingly, one of our most popular boards on the playing tables is a thick 9cm kaya board from Japan, so it seems that the elevation is not a problem for many players. Out standard table boards are 5 cm.

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 Post subject: Re: Boards from USA craftsmen
Post #11 Posted: Thu Aug 22, 2019 9:26 am 
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Tanana wrote:
Quote:
I infer that he plays. Note that he has several boards in use at the Seattle Center, only one of which, quite thick at 6-7cm, was pictured.


Steve Pell is a beginner - we have been giving him lessons at the Seattle Go Center. His boards vary from 4cm to 8cm. In response to previous comments, I agree that our tables at the Go Center are a bit too high. We have cushions to help make up the difference for shorter people. Interestingly, one of our most popular boards on the playing tables is a thick 9cm kaya board from Japan, so it seems that the elevation is not a problem for many players. Out standard table boards are 5 cm.


Groovy, thanks for the clarifications. We were all beginners at some point but not many of us have a furniture studio to play with. Do say hello to Steve and encourage his experimentation with bowls and boards. We need a western aesthetic if fine Asian go equipment is going to become more difficult to acquire. Besides, three thousand years of traditional design could be long enough, yes?

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