Making a Mancala Board

Mancala Board

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It’s nearly the holiday season and we thought you might want an idea for a great gift to make for the ones you love. Well, here’s the chance to develop your skills with a gouge and make a mancala board game to play with your family over the holidays.


  1. James Savage on 21 November 2014 at 5:48 pm

    I’ve not heard of Mancala before, i’ll have to look that one up. My late Grandad’s old cribbage board that he made many moons ago comes out most Christmas times but this sounds like a fun thing to make and play with my family.

  2. bobeaston on 21 November 2014 at 6:34 pm

    Lots of fun, and interesting techniques that we don’t use every day. Thanks!

    Now it would be a real good thing if the video editor could crank up the audio. It’s quite a bit lower than normal.

    • Philip Adams on 24 November 2014 at 9:08 pm

      Will have a look at it and see what I can do. Thank you for pointing it out.

  3. garyprott on 21 November 2014 at 6:55 pm

    Awwaa James. The cribbage board. My father and I had our difference’s but when we played it was just two equals going at it. I’m 66 now and really miss those days. So many good memory’s. Thanks to you as always Paul for showing how to make a mancala board.

  4. Eddy Flynn on 21 November 2014 at 7:10 pm

    thanks for this bonus video, and a very happy christmas to all at woodworking masterclasses, this looks like a fun project to make and to play ,thanks

  5. Mihai on 21 November 2014 at 7:21 pm

    Making a Mancala board. That makes three people happy : the woodworker, the one who receives this gift and the one who watches this video.
    Thank you , P.S. for the gift

  6. James Savage on 21 November 2014 at 7:22 pm

    Great video, thanks Paul and team. I’m sorry for posting twice ( I posted first time before watching) but my four year old son watched this with me and has told me that we can make one tomorrow. When I said to him that we don’t have a gouge he said “Don’t worry Daddy, we can get one from the gouge shop.”
    Keep up the great work, thanks for all the hard work you put in, it really shows and is really appreciated.
    Kind regards

  7. António on 21 November 2014 at 7:36 pm

    Thanks Santa “Paul” Claus.

  8. Matt Hess on 21 November 2014 at 8:07 pm

    Getting an unexpected video is like a Christmas present in itself! Thanks Paul and team for another wonderful gift idea.

  9. STEVE MASSIE on 21 November 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Paul and Crew thank you for yet another swell Gift. I have not heard of this board / game before and will look up as it looks like fun to make and a fun game. Our Grandkids especially the soon to be 8 year loves to play checkers and games now so I can see a future for this one.

    On a side note we have been having fun making and painting the Stars.

    Merry Christmas to you and your Family as well Paul. And to the Woodworking Master Classes Crew


  10. Dave Parks on 22 November 2014 at 12:32 am

    Wonderful video. Love the Christmas hats.Thanks so much for all you write and do.

  11. Bob Groh on 22 November 2014 at 1:49 am

    Great fun. As always, I am encouraged to try my own projects in ‘simple’ fashion using pretty much all hand tools, e.g. I needed some little pieces of wood (about 1/4″ square and 1″ long) to hold a glass panel in place in a small clock I am building. So I grabbed a piece of pine, made some cuts with a handsaw and – pow!! I had my pieces of wood. No fuss, no muss, no power tools!

    Just one question – what type of wood were you using? Seemed like cherry or the like.

  12. Derek Long on 22 November 2014 at 8:41 am

    Thanks for the video and Merry Christmas, Paul!

    This might be a good project to use card table hinges so the leaves of the board lay flat open and closed. Lee Valley has smallish brass ones.,41241,41261

  13. Praki Prakash on 22 November 2014 at 3:34 pm

    Great video. Sound volume terribly low.

  14. Kirk Zabolio on 22 November 2014 at 5:45 pm

    Thanks Paul for the video. Looks like fun, first making the board and then playing the game. I’ll be in the market for a 1″ gouge my largest is 3/4.

  15. adrian on 25 November 2014 at 12:31 am

    Great fun gift idea, and one excellent exercise in carving around, in, and across the grain.
    This exercise is equal in growing our skills as was making the Christmas Stars from last year.
    Thank you and your staff so much for bringing us another great Christmas treat.
    Merry Christmas.

  16. Paul Fowler on 2 December 2014 at 12:21 am


    Thanks for the video enjoyed. I don’t have but few gouges, what is correlation to the size of gouge to the
    Size of the pockets? Or Can l use say a 5/8″ gouge to do the 2″ dia. Pockets?

  17. Paul Fowler on 2 December 2014 at 12:24 am

    Apologies, typed wrong key!

  18. Carlos J. Collazo on 3 December 2014 at 6:07 pm

    Thank you, Paul and team!

  19. Rob Navratil on 20 January 2015 at 4:06 pm

    And the boy can sing too! Is there a limit to his talents?
    Great little project, definitely making one for my Dad, he’d love it.
    Thanks Paul.

    The camera angle over the right shoulder made we wonder if you’d considered a view looking straight down from above at all? I understand it might be tricky, could be interesting to see though. Can’t fault the videos though, really great, looking forward to seeing what you have lined up for 2015

    • Philip Adams on 27 January 2015 at 3:53 pm

      We have experimented with a top view and where talking about using it just the other day for certain videos. Will see how it goes!

  20. Bryan Webber on 9 September 2015 at 5:13 pm

    you can also cross cut through the middle center line of the board and its even more compact. This will aslo keep the 2 end dumping stations fully intact. I prefer this method over ripping through the center of the board.

    Thank you for this project Mr. Sellers. One can also make it authentic and dont fully smooth out the individual stations too much as the original mancala boards were all pretty rough.

    • Carl P on 11 December 2015 at 12:26 pm

      Fantastic idea, it just so happens I have a piece that’s not long enough, but twice as thick – I can now claim I wanted it bookmatched all along!



  21. Roger on 19 December 2015 at 9:23 am

    I bought a set of chisels from Aldi on Pauls recommendation, wonderful basic tools and great value. So then I found a set of carving chisels and gouges at Lidl, also very cheap.
    Now I have a project to test them on, obviously the biggest is really the one to use for this.

    Thanks for the idea and stimulus I need.

  22. Don Donaldson on 1 January 2016 at 3:26 pm

    I have a piece of cherry with Mancala written on it, now that my wife gave me a #7 Hirsch for Christmas. Giving someone a hand made gift is both rewarding and fulfilling. Paul, you provide excellent direction and instruction which inspires confidence that is sincerely appreciated. I am working through the Artisan DVD video series and it is packed with great techniques and opportunities to learn. Thanks for sharing your craftsmanship and knowledge!

  23. Angelo Marques on 15 April 2016 at 5:35 pm

    I’ve been trying to find some very small, simple, rectangular hinges like those. What are the hinges in this video and where can I get them?

    • Philip Adams on 18 April 2016 at 12:36 pm

      Hello Angelo,
      You might be better off asking this in the forums. Where are you based? We don’t have a consistant supplier for these, but they can quite often be picked up in Screwfix in the UK.
      Best, Phil

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