Shaping: How a Die is Born

Ancient Kauri Polyhedral Set

Discerning gamers appreciate the handcrafted brilliance of Artisan Dice. This brilliance is achieved through the unique hand-polishing process applied to every Druid’s, Alchemist’s, Necromancer’s and Elemental die.

 

Mpingo on the millDruid’s Dice begin life at the CNC mill. Rough dice shapes are carved from a single piece of wood, called a ‘billet’. The rough dice shapes are then separated by a specially calibrated band saw. Hours of practice, a keen eye and a craftsman’s touch are of vital importance, as the dice are cut entirely freehand in three dimensions. A misstep here could mean the loss of the entire set.

Separating PolyhedralsAfter the dice are separated, the polishing process begins. The first stage of shaping starts with removing all tool marks and bringing the die down to its final shape.  Every die is then polished to a minimum of 800 grit. Depending on the wood or material, sanding can continue to as high as 2000 grit. Some exotic materials require an even finer honing of their final luster, which is done in a multi-stage process on a buffing wheel.

fluffy polishing a dieA finished die has each face shaped by hand at this point, much as a jeweler would facet a fine diamond. Our craftsmen — The Minions, as loyal Artisan Dice fans call them — shape each facet of every die we make, freehand. This craftsman’s touch is a necessity due to the nature of wood. Over time, our craftsmen develop a feel for each individual wood species: which are prone to burning, which have oils that clog the disc sander and even which woods are so soft that a moment’s inattention will grind away the entire face of a die.  This skill is not taught; rather, it is honed over years of artisan craftsmanship. Craftsmanship cannot be coded into a CNC machine. It’s not something everyone can learn. Those who can earn their place at Artisan Dice.