Buying a new GO board, I would need your help!

Dear all!

I am in a middle of a hard decision. I got a cheaper 50mm Chinese made Shinkaya board.
I got a few weeks ago a set of Keyaki bowls and a set of Slate and Shell stones so now I will have good stones and bowls.

I want to buy a nicer GO board which I would use everyday, for study GO and play face to face matches a few times a week, at home.

My budget is about 200-300 euros (25-35 thousand Yen) for this purchase.

For me this time the most important aspect of this purchase would be, good quality wood which was well crafted and cared and the lines were done well.

I like the yellowish, reddish colours. I would like for the board to be lighter and not dark, so I can look at it for hours.

**I would like listen to your advice and what you suggest for me. **
I don’t want to rush this purchase, but to buy the best board I can get for my money.

I looked at many stores in Japan and in Korea and I want to buy from a high quality craftsman. I have a deep respect for quality, craftsmanship, wood grain, smell, sound.
But I am still a University student, so I don’t want to spend too much money. I better become a strong player first.

If you have any suggestions, advice, maybe where to buy or what? I could even consider buying used, but in that case I would like again good quality for the price. So I don’t want the thickest board and bad craftsmanship, instead I would better like a more thin, but done professionally board.


For that price you can get some 5cm table board in a correct wood and nice drawing of lines. I wouldn’t go thinner for the board.


Do you have any suggestions, maybe?

Not really. I bought mine at the yunzi factory (Kunming-China) it’s near where I live too.
Better buy a board fitting your stones (Japanese) because you know for size China>Japan> Korea.
Everything fit on a Chinese board but you may prefer have the exact size. A matter of prize too of course, Chinese stuff being much cheaper.

I’m sorry to intrude, but stones are different size in each country? Is this a traditional thing, is there a reason behind it? Is there an instance of pros clumsily flying uncomfortable stones here and there?

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That’s traditional sizes, board and stones. Had a friend who bought 3 nice korean boards (but had to leave 2atvthe airport because too heavy) and then had problem to find stones he could play with. I have myself different boards and stones.

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And the boards are not square. The length is longer than the width. Since players sit on the side and view the board from an angle, not from above. It makes the grid looked more square if they are in fact not square.

Japanese boards and Korean ones (only slightly smaller) are mostly uniform in their standardized sizes, but Chinese boards have a larger standard size (and closer to square), also have many different sizes and different sized stones. Usually, small and medium-sized stones are closer to Japanese stones but larger-sized stones would definitely not fit a standard Japanese board. And the black stones are also larger than the white stones so they would look the same visually.


These kind of things I know to look out for, for me the more important is if you could give me some help with the questions I am having.

Ι am a bit confused since you have some very nice and expensive boards in your choices, but also folding boards?

Anyway, for my taste, I’d go with the miwagobanten board. It just looks so much nicer than anything else. Now, if you do not mind used equipment, have a look at this shop:

For the same money, this looks awesome: 14cm Floor Board - Katsura - Free International Shipping - #77104 – badukclub


Wouldn’t it be possible for this amount of money to have it custom made exactly to your wishes?

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This does seem a bit cheap for a custom order, considering how expensive the “ready made” stuff usually are. If there is a shop that accepts custom orders for the price-range I’d be very interested to hear of it :slight_smile:

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Do you know any craftsman or shop where this would be possible?

yeah, this Katsura goban does look interesting, I don’t know how good it is, as there are no other pictures of it.

That is a challenge. In Nijmegen (the Netherlands) I know a craftsman who I think could do it. Don’t know about his prices and if it is possible for 300 euros.
Problem: transportation costs could be enormous.
I am sure that there are craftsmen anywhere.
But you have to know exactly what you want.

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I do not think transportation should be expensive. I ship board games all the time through Post and it is not that expensive, so that would not be a problem I think. Can you tell me more about this craftsman, has he done GO boards before? (you can pm me also)

Also wood wise, I could then choose from many different wood types, it would very nice.

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Goban tends to age up and grow darker over time but also depends on how the maintenance is done. There are wax and oil that can be used to make them looked nicer and keep them in good condition.

I also don’t recommend folding boards unless you really have the need to carry them around and play anywhere instead of in a fixed setting. A thicker board usually makes the sound has a deep nice “texture” when you place a stone, and with feet to have space below for the snap echo. Although at your price range, it doesn’t matter. Boards are generally steady, even if they are not real kaya, like the new kaya wood from the Miwagobanten link, but it is certainly not as dense, sturdy, and bouncy. And the smell of the wood at this price range certainly wasn’t an important factor. Overall, if you just need to practice, not something that you want to pass on for generations, and only cares for the looks and texture, there is nothing wrong with a new kaya wood board.

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I see. No, my intentions are I would like to buy a good quality board with nice lining, that I can use every day to study on and paying games several times a week face to face. I thought of a folding board when I travel or go to a Club, so a no hinge would be nice, but only for that reason.

Do you have anything specific shop or craftsman you would recommend? From Japan, it is more possible to buy very good quality Hiba or Shinkaya but less thick ones. But those would be I think done the best. Japanese craftsman don’t really recommend 6brothers, but I heard good things about them and they are the largest manufacturers of GO stuff.

I expect to see him this afternoon.
As far as I know he has never done go boards before.
I have seen some of his works and I am impressed. He is a perfectionist.
I will ask for his contact info.
To be continued.

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Yes, but the folding board I only consider for travelling or club use.

The choice would be maybe a high quality japanese Hiba 3cm vs a 6cm Shinkaya for example. (but I already got a 5cm chinese shinkaya which I don’t like as much, but I could use that at clubs). So I would only need to think about the study board I want to study with and everyday use.

You better buy 2 boards then. A nice board is heavy and a pain to move. Besides having 2 boards may prove useful sometimes…