A friend wanted a custom made domino set. At first, I was leery of using wenge because it is so brittle, but with a lot of patience, sharp tools, and plenty of painter’s tape, I pulled it off. The lid and base frames are connected with box joints with the top and bottoms glued on. I added a small cocobolo lid catch by mortising into the lid. As for the dominoes, I cheated a bit by using a template from Rockler. I fabricated the wenge plugs by making a template of 5/8 holes into MDF, then routing the holes into solid wenge. After that, all I had to do was pop them out of the wenge and bevel each one to fit snug in the curly maple. I routed a dividing groove with a 1/16″ bit and filled it with walnut Famowood. Since wenge is so pricey, I planed the piece I used for the hole plugs down to fabricate the box. I added a curly maple inlay of a chicken foot to the lid per customer’s request. The finish on the box is 6 coats of poly/oil wipe and 5 coats of semi-gloss spray lacquer for the dominoes.
Overall, I’m very proud of the piece…apart from a little filler around the box joints, it’s pretty flawless. The whole project would have been much easier if I’d taken Marc’s advice and used walnut instead of wenge, but where’s the fun in that?