DIY convertible storage goban

Does anyone else feel this way?
What would you say if I could produce more models like this with semi-custom options (wood color; grid ink color/ laser engraved; board thickness/height; sealed chamber or storage lid; etc.)?

The price would probably be between $400 and $500 before shipping, to bridge the gap from cheaper mass-production gobans to very expensive solid floor gobans.

I think this could be a viable side business for me in the presence of sufficient demand.


I don’t know, I’m not sure you could get that much money for one. But I only speak for myself.


Thank you I value the input.
Now, if all boards were made to the same specs I could produce units more efficiently and reduce the final price. Would $250-350 be more appealing in that case?

EDIT: I hope it doesn’t seem like I started this thread just to hock my wares. I built this board for the pure enjoyment of it, and to have something nice to study and play on.

Since the positive response has been so encouraging, I now wonder if it’s possible to make this kind of board available to other people as a less expensive alternative to traditional floor gobans from Asia.


I can’t really be a sounding board as I’m not in the USA, so I don’t know exactly about the value of a dollar as relates to the cost of living in (different parts of) America. You’d be better off asking Americans.

I think it is definitely a good design, though: it looks appealing and it’s space-efficient if you have books, bowls, chess clocks etc. to store.


As i dont have this kind of money to spend on a go table (not even a storage go table :slightly_smiling_face:) i can only hypothesize. If i was actually planning a purchase id definitely consider your work.


That looks fantastic. The grid is clean, I like the color, that’s really sweet. I live in Germany and I’m completely broke so even if I wanted one I couldn’t pay that… but here’s an idea.

I looked at current prices for goban on our most prolific webshop and this is the thing. They sell decent boards with tiny feet for around $90. They sell tables (11cm, plus feet I think) for about $1000. Having the cheapest Go table from Kurokogoishiten sent to me would cost about $850. And there’s Nothing in between. Now I don’t know how many hours you spent on this, but your price seems fair enough. I don’t know about the US market, but this is what I would do:

Contact the AGA, ask for a stand at the next big tournament (if it’s feasible for you to go) and display the table there. Maybe produce another 2-3 to have some variety. Say that you take orders, how long it will take etc. Perhaps you have a semi-local Go-club you could get friendly with. I think there’s a niche in the market for you, depends on if you’re willing to be adventurous. :slight_smile:


Unfortunately not only do I not live in the USA but my wife would be a real challenge to convince. :rage:

I believe that your price range is very competitive and I hope that you get sufficient buyers to go forward with this. Good luck – and maybe I will eventually also become a customer. :wink::grin:

– Musash1


It might be a good idea to approach vendors and ask them whether they’d be interested in selling your excellent Goban.

In Germany: (that’s quite probably the store @smurph mentioned, the new Web shop of Hebsacker Verlag)
In the Netherlands:

For the US you’ll probably get better pointers from others here.

And if you’d want to find out how many people might be interested you should definitely post this whole story also in …

This way you’d probably reach over ten thousand people world wide.
Ideally you’d also create a Web site of our own only for this project … pictures and all. I’m sure you’d get 50-100 orders quite fast. Wish I could afford one :smiley:


Thanks so much. I think I’m going to move ahead then and create a few more prototypes before offering these as a finished product. Maybe I’ll make a handful of 9×9 boards to test out different finishes and grid inlays too (turquoise, anyone?)

With my current board I’m in the final stages of sealing the wood but this part takes patience. Just a little work and a lot of waiting. I’ll be sure to post more pictures though as soon as it’s done and back in the house.


It’s a beautiful piece, Skurj.

I live in America and can share an opinion.

I think, despite its high quality and value, this storage goban would not “fly off the shelf” to go playing Americans. Why? Americans generally do not play on the floor, so they would almost never sit on pillows next to it to play. Sure, the board itself could be removed to play on it alone, atop a table, but we have plenty of options for quality tabletop boards (Yellow Mountain Imports, etc.) that come in well below the suggested price of this piece. American’s generally have to travel to coffee shops to play opponents because there are so few Go players in the USA; this board does not lend itself to that purpose. American’s are becoming more and more “cocooned” in general, rarely answering the doorbell, rarely speaking to neighbors, so inviting anyone other than immediate family to their homes to play Go is unlikely, making the need for a quality home board less. Americans live in larger homes, relative to the rest of the world, and storage solutions for Go pieces and boards is seldom a problem as Americans buy plenty of IKEA storage shelves for every corner of their house; Americans that cannot afford a “large” home, those who live in apartments, generally will not be able to afford an expensive piece like this one, let alone have the floor space to give up to it or be willing to set wet drink glasses and hot microwave dinners on top of it to “dual purpose” their already limited space. Americans are into disposable and inexpensive…$5000 wide screen television sets rest on $100, imitation walnut cabinets made of compressed sawdust…and buying heirloom quality items to pass on to generations is not something Americans typically consider these days. Those that do have the money and want an heirloom board typically seek an authentic Japanese goban, vintage over new.

These are generalizations, and anyone of them could be picked apart and debated; please don’t. I’m just proffering a perspective for our skilled artisan, Skurj, to consider as he asked for opinions. Thank you.


Thank you for taking the time to explain your reasoning. You’re definitely right that even Americans with plenty of money tend to buy semi-disposable crap. It makes me sick.

Maybe there is a market for domestically handcrafted Gobans in the US, and maybe there isn’t. Maybe in a few years we will see the popularity surge in this country, creating a ripe market where formerly there was none. Or maybe the best future markets will be foreign.

Some of your comments also have me thinking that really classy 9×9 boards might sell better, and the big boards will get sidelined. Or maybe I’ll just end up with a handful of fancy boards to give away. The only way or know for sure is to try a few different things on a small scale to see where (and if) the demand is sufficient to justify scaling up production.

The good news is that I’ve already got the skills and tools to make everything, and I don’t need the goban income to survive. I can start and stop production whenever I want. So I have very little to lose just by trying. :grin:


Today is the big day. My new goban gets to come back inside the house now that all the finish is dry. I used an oil-based polyurethane to seal it up.

Personally I find the polyurethane to be offensive (basically cause the poly is a thin plastic coating on top of my beautiful wood) and I generally prefer a wiping varnish that penetrates but leaves the surface feeling like real wood.
The reason I went with polyurethane is because it offers superior protection from moisture and abrasion, and it’s simple to apply. I believe the extra protection is warranted since the grid is printed directly on the board surface, rather than engraved or “tattooed” with an inky sword like the Asian boards. The pine and birch are relatively soft as well and prone to dings and dents if left untreated. This thing is going to live primarily on the floor, which also happens to be the domain of my 3-year-old nephew. So…yeah. The extra protection from polyurethane is good.

In floor configuration the surface height is 13 1/8", or slightly less than the height of an average ottoman. It’s low enough for comfortable play while sitting seiza-style, but high enough to be playable even while seated on the couch with board on the floor in front of me. Since the surface finish is so durable I can also use it as a footstool. :laughing:

I imagine it will see the most use standing on its own between two lounge chairs, but it’s nice to have the versatility just in case.

And finally, here are a couple shots on the table. I don’t know why I like recreating this exact board position so much but it pleases me.

So I guess that’s it for now. I’m not sure when exactly I’ll be making more since I have a lot of work mapped out for the next few months. If anyone has questions about the design and construction though please feel free to ask. I’d be happy to help anyone who wants to make their own.



Just wondering if you still up for the idea of selling convertible storage goban. I can pay 250 plus s&h. Thank You,

Juan P


Seems like a fine price to me for such quality work. I might be interested.


To all who have expressed interest in purchasing additional copies of this board:

While I am humbly grateful for the requests, I am not currently in a position to fulfill any orders. In recent months, the magnitude of my carpentry and woodworking business has grown almost beyond what I can manage.
Due to the significant demand for my time and skill, I can no longer offer custom work on such a small scale. However, I have not abandoned the idea entirely. Just keep an eye on the forums and feel free to PM me with any questions you may have.



Congrats, this is AWESOME! Raise your hourly rates NOW :slight_smile:


@trohde My partner and I actually stopped working for hourly wages and mostly bid jobs now for material and total labor cost. Usually this works in our favor. Here’s a picture of our most recent project, a coffered ceiling built from poplar and stained pine.


Whatever – if the workload gets too much to manage you need to raise your prices, so somebody who understands more of money & business than I do once told me :smiley:


Indeed! There’s a bit more to that in our situation, but the principle is solid.


That or hire more staff shrug

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