The Wargaming Woodworker: a review
by midwestwargaming · Published · Updated
Thanks to 3D printers, laser-cutting machines and skilled craftsmen, we, the consumers, have access to a ton of custom gaming accessories. Whether you want a custom tray to carry your X-Wing tokens, custom swamp bases for your Malifax figures or custom playmats for Warmachine, there is a product on the web for you, somewhere. We are living in the industrial revolution of gaming.
Since there is no Yelp for all these gaming-accessory-developers I decided I would start reviewing the companies that make these accessories on my blog.
My first review will be about The Wargaming Woodworker.
Over a year ago, my brother gave me a custom dice tray by The Wargaming Woodworker.
This rectangle dice tray is made from black walnut. The box uses birch dowels instead of spines to to reinforce all the joinery. The lid is magnetized with 1/4″ rare earth magnets and decorated with a painted Minions symbol. The measurements are 12 ½ x 9 x 2 ½.
Aesthetically, this box is gorgeous. The black leather padding was cut with careful measurements and laid on even layer of glue because there isn’t a single bump. I really appreciate the leather lining because unlike felt which can feel scratchy to the touch this padding is smooth as an Italian wallet. When I brought this dice box with me to Warmachine Weekend there were at least four different strangers who stopped at my table to admire my box.
It doesn’t take a master carpenter to see that this box is sturdy. I’ve had this box for over a year and in that time I have bumped it, banged it and smacked it like it owed me money. I have also filled the interior with metal rings and sharp-edged dice that have clanked and clammered on numerous trips but there are still no signs of damage. One of the reasons the interior hasn’t been scuffed up is because its real leather. Unlike bonded leather (which is just leather dust and glue) or felt, this thing can take a beating without leaving residue behind. Another reason this box hasn’t shown any signs of wear, such as creaking or loose joints, is because of the birch dowels. Birch is one of the strongest hardwoods out there which makes it an excellent choice for support. Also, dowel joints are stronger than a regular glue joint, which is significant because a proper glue joint is stronger than a joint with just screws. Basically, this box is held together the best way possible and it will last a lifetime.
One feature I absolutely love is the inclusion of rare earth magnets to keep the lid shut. I store items in my box all the time and it is great to know the lid isn’t just going to pop off. Another great feature of function of this tray is the lid is designed to snuggly fit in the grooves on the bottom. This extra detail may not seem important but if the bottom were flat the box would be more likely to slide and that could cause scratching to the lid.
One feature that isn’t so great is the size. I use this dice-tray primarily for Warmachine/Hordes which is played on a 4×4 table with terrain. It can be difficult to find a spot on the table for the box to fit that isn’t getting in the way of models or terrain. I find that isn’t a big issue for casual games, but when you are sandwiched between players at a tournament, it can be cumbersome. However, if your gaming table is large enough to have space beyond the 4×4 mat then it isn’t an issue.
What is an issue is dice visibility. A standard size for dice is 16mm. Unless you are standing and within arms’ reach of this dice-box you will not be able to see any dice that roll against the side. The walls are too deep that they obscure line of sight. I do my best to place this box as close to my opponent as possible but even that doesn’t prevent them from having to repeatedly crane their neck just to see what I’ve rolled. I like using my dice-tray because it was a gift and its gorgeous but after two locals complained to me about my tray I purchased larger dice in an effort to increase visibility. The new dice are 25mm.
Unfortunately, even these larger dice can still be obscured by the depths of these walls. I dare not go any bigger though because at some point the dice will be too large to roll sufficiently for proper randomness. Also, I’m concerned about anything that large bouncing out of the tray by accident because it would devastate models.
Customer service is like insurance: You hope you never have to use it, but when you do need it you hope that it will be there for you. The Wargaming Woodworker wasn’t quite there for me.
I approached The Wargaming Woodworker about my dice-visibility problem on January 3rd (two months ago) and, to his credit, he was quick to reply.
I informed him about my locals and their negative comments towards my box and he offered a solution.
I was very happy about this proposed solution and would gladly pay $30 for another quality product. I told him how big my dice were and he promptly responded:
Considering how quick and courteous his responses were, I wasn’t bothered by a little waiting. So far, The Wargaming Woodworker has been solution-oriented and helpful so I could be patient. I waited a couple weeks and when I noticed he had posted some photos of a new project on his Facebook page I got excited and messaged him. Unfortunately, that project wasn’t my new tray.
Bummer.. No big deal though, I could wait another two or three weeks. I messaged him again in early February to check-in.
At this point, I’ll be honest, I was upset. I didn’t think he was lying because the weather in the North East was bad and sometimes machines do break but I felt like I wasn’t a priority. I told myself that so long as he could finish my new tray as soon as he came back from traveling that I would be satisfied…
Sadly, that message I received on February 11th, (almost a month ago) is the
last message I’ve received from The Wargaming Woodworker.
The Wargaming Woodworker read my review and contacted me. He apologized, admitted he made a mistake and asked if he could make things right. I just wanted the tray completed and he delivered as promised.
The Wargaming Woodworker creates a quality product with a simple, but still attractive design. There are wooden trays out there that have more beauty to them but I doubt there are any that are built as sturdy. My original tray was not the most functional but to be fair, it was one of the earliest models of dice-tray he designed. The second tray he sent has worked out beautifully and it is easy to sneak into a bag. The shorter walls on the dice tray has greatly improved functionality. Where I did find fault with The Wargaming Woodworker was with the customer service. However, he rectified the situation as soon as he was aware of his mistake, and to his credit he took responsibility. It is difficult for someone to admit they made a mistake, especially a company, so I respect The Wargaming Woodworker and I look forward to seeing this company grow.
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