Dice cups

A travel-size backgammon set purchased as a gift came without dice cups. I asked the game seller: “Do you sell dice cups which I can use with this set?” “No.” Following with what seemed to be a gaming-world snoot, he noted these are not needed: “I’ve never used dice cups to play backgammon. And look at how shallow the board is, no dice cup is going to fit into that.” He was pointing at half of the open set.

I thought about arguing the point about the depth of the space with the board closed but the look on his face told me that he would not accept this nor, perhaps, any known laws of physics.

Instead…challenge accepted. Bonus: a follow-up birthday gift.

Settled by the fire in Shepherdstown with the inside air temperature at 55° and a whisky perched nearby, I sketched a pair of dice cups. I had 2 criteria to meet: 1) I must use material on hand & 2) I must complete the project in less than a day.

A short detour to a video on turning lidded boxes provided the last hint to what might be a success — turn 2 cups which acted as lids for each other. I turned a quick mockup to reveal any kinks in the process and selected a piece of myrtle from a stash of turning blanks for the final. I was done with plenty of time to pack and catch my plane.

The fit of the cups is such that they separate with a satisfying pop. The thickness of the cup wall and the density of the wood yield a lovely tone with the shake of the dice.

Only one question remained: Did I close the flue?

The cups when joined are 4 ¾” (120mm) tall × 1 ½” (33mm) around. The hollow is 1″ (25mm) in diameter.

Dice cups

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