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top prev next bottom Sjoelbak (Dutch Shuffleboard) -- 19 hours -- Can$ 97.00 -- Intermediate

Sjoelen is a Dutch shuffle board game, at least a century old, and a true family winter game. The objective is to shuffle the 30 discs in the four compartments at the opposite end in three subturns. A more even distribution gives a higher score. The base is made from 1/4" oak plywood, the score board is maple and the rest is solid red oak. The main challenge was to find the right finish for a super smooth surface.

Please note that these measurements, although perfectly suitable for building a sjoelbak for playing a family game at home, are not exactly according to the measurements of a competition sjoelbak used by the Dutch Sjoel League.

This project will be adjusted to reflect the correct measurements in the near future.

Visit Algemene Nederlandse Sjoelbond for the Rules and Regulations in Dutch, and Sjoelen Rules and Regulations for an English translation.

top prev next bottom Pictures

Click on a picture to get a larger picture and then used the back button of the browser to return.

Pictures taken by my son Peter van Vliet.

How others did it

top prev next bottom Plans, Drawings, Sketches (inches)

sjoelbak -- top and bottom view

sjoelbak -- scoreboard

To view or print the full scale drawing just click on a drawing, and then use the print-preview of the browser to select portrait/landscape format and (re)size the drawing before doing the actual printing.

top prev next bottom Materials List (inches)(30-Mar-2006)

no. description length width thickness suggested basic material, comments
1 baseboard 78  1/2 15  7/16 3/16 1/4" red oak plywood G2S
1 lid over two centre compartments 15  1/2  7  3/4 3/16 1/4" red oak plywood G2S
1 hole cover for two centre compartments  7  1  1/4 3/16 1/4" red oak plywood G2S
2 left/right side 79  2 3/4 3/4 red oak, 2 1/2 wide (1x3)
1 back side 15 1/2  2 3/4 3/4 red oak, 2 1/2 wide (1x3)
2 left/right compartment separator 15  1/2  2  1/2 1/2 3/4 red oak, 2 1/2 wide (1x3)
1 start bar 16  1/2  2  1/2 1/2 3/4 red oak, 2 1/2 wide (1X3)
1 center compartment separator 15  1/2  1  3/8 1/2 3/4 red oak, 1 1/2 wide (1x2)
5 bottom support, middle 15  3/4  1  5/8 3/8 3/8 red oak, 3 1/2 wide (1/2x4)
length will be adjusted during final assembly
1 bottom support, beginning 16  1/2  1  5/8 3/8 3/8 red oak, 3 1/2 wide (1/2x4)
1 scoreboard 15  1/2  2  1/2 5/8 3/4 maple, 2 1/2 wide (1x3)
30 round disc, slightly hollow in centre    2
1/2 beech
10 decorative furniture nail     1/2   1/2
  copper, brass, etc. for scoreboard
25 screw  1   #6 stainless
  Watco Danish Oil, golden oak       to seal the wood
  Briwax, antique mahogany       to get smoothness and bring out the wood grain
  LePage carpenter's glue       yellow, cabinet maker's quality

Buy high quality red oak, maple and plywood as any imperfection in the material can impact that heated championship competition!

top prev next bottom Required Tools

top prev next bottom Construction (30-Mar-2006)

All measurements are in inches (1 inches = 2.54 cm) because all wood measurements in the shop are in inches. The sjoelen game is at least a century old and in those days all measurements were in inches as well. So it all makes sense.

I recommend to cut, shape and sand all pieces and dryfit them together with clamps as soon as possible. I cut 5 temporary spacer pieces from scrap wood at exactly 15" long, the inside width of the board, and about 2" wide. These are handy when clamping everything together while keeping the side pieces at the correct distance from each other.

Cut and shape the stock

Ok, let us start. Cut and shape the stock according to the materials list. Cut a 1/4" grove in the sides and the backside to receive the baseboard at 1  3/8" from the top. Cut a 1/4" notch out of the end of the sides to receive the backside. Cut the dado slot for the scoreboard in the sides. Mark the place for the bottom support pieces on the sites and router out the material up to the grove. Notice that the support piece at the beginning of the sjoelbak goes the full width so you need to cut out a notch there. Mark the start bar position on the side pieces and cut out a notch. Finally shape the beginning of sides and round over the edges of all pieces.

Shape the scoreboard and cut the 4 openings. Router the groves in the backside and the scoreboard to receive the three compartment separators. Notice that the center separator has a slot at the top to receive the little hole cover. The slot prevents the hole cover from sliding away.

Cut a grove in the two side compartment separators so that you can slide in the lid to keep the discs in the middle two compartments when storing the sjoelbak away. There is a little piece to cover the two holes. Glue a decorative handle on top of the lid.

Before final assembly treat all surfaces with two coats of Danish Oil. DO NOT treat the underside of the baseboard and the support pieces otherwise you cannot glue the support pieces under the baseboard. Once the oil is dry polish all surfaces and then apply Briwax (a hard furniture wax) and polish it so that it is smooth as ice!

Final assembly

Now the final assembly. Nail the decorative furniture nails above the openings in the scoreboard in the order 2, 3, 4 and 1. Only the support pieces under the baseboard are glued against the baseboard. All the other pieces are kept together with screws. As we are working with red oak we need to pre-drill and counter sink all holes. Dry fit everything together once again with clamps. Put the temporary spacer pieces inside the sjoelbak on top at the approximate place where the support pieces at the bottom are coming.

Ensure that the backside is square with the sides and fasten with 2 screws on each side. Turn the sjoelbak upside down. You may have to reposition the clamps. Install the support pieces starting with the one under the scoreboard and working towards the beginning of the sjoelbak. This is your last chance to ensure that the baseboard is against the backside and that the backside is square with the sides. Look along the sides to ensure that they are absolutely straight. Cut the support piece to the exact length and shape. Now apply glue to one side of the support piece, put in place and push down so that the baseboard is pushed against the top of the grove in the sides and secure the support piece with one screw on each side. Finally clamp the scoreboard and the support piece together to make sure there is a good bond between the baseboard and support piece. Let glue set for about half an hour.

Then do the next support pieces using the temporary spacer pieces on the top side for clamping. Each time check that sides remain straight. The last support piece at the beginning of the sjoelbak spans the full width of the sjoelbak. Once installed and the glue is dry you need to finish this piece with Danish Oil and Briwax.

Turn the sjoelbak right side up. Push the scoreboard down and secure with two screws on each side. Push the compartment pieces down and put in a screw on each end. Finally place the start bar and fix with a screw on each side.

Ongoing maintenance

Dust off with soft cloth before and during use. To restore smoothness spray very lightly with Johnson Pledge and wipe with soft cloth to desire luster. If this does not give the desired result anymore, then apply Briwax from Henry Flack LTD, Beckenham, England, and rub to desired smoothness. Do not use the sjoelbak for a few days to let the Briwax volatile components evaporate.

Scoreboard layout -- front (inches)

Give the top a nice decorative shape. The openings in the scoreboard are 5/8" high. The other measurements are:

description width start end
recessed in left side    1/4  0    1/4
material    11/16    1/4    15/16
opening for 2 points score  2  3/8    15/16  3  5/16
material  1  3/8  3  5/16  4  11/16
opening for 3 points score  2  3/8  4  11/16  7  1/16
material  1  3/8  7  1/16  8  7/16
opening for 4 points score  2  3/8  8  7/16 10  13/16
material  1  3/8 10  13/16 12  3/16
opening for 1 point score  2  3/8 12  3/16 14  9/16
material    11/16 14  9/16 15  1/4
recessed in right side    1/4 15  1/4 15  1/2

Scoreboard layout -- back side (inches)

The dado slots are 1/4" deep and 1/2" wide:

description width start end
over #2 opening  3  5/8  0  3  5/8
left dado slot     1/2  3  5/8  4  1/8
over # 3 opening  3  3/8  4  1/8  7  1/2
middle dado slot     1/2  7  1/2  8
over #4 opening  3  3/8  8 11  3/8
right dado slot     1/2 11  3/8 11  7/8
over #1 opening  3  5/8 11  7/8 15  1/2

Positioning of supports under baseboard (inches)

Spacing between the supports under the baseboard is 12  7/16" starting at the beginning of the sjoelbak, i.e. where you will sit.

start centre end comments
 0     13/16  1  5/8 beginning of baseboard
12  7/16 13  1/4 14  1/16  
24  7/8 25  11/16 26  1/2  
37  5/16 38  1/8 38  15/16  
49  3/4 50  9/16 51  3/8  
62  1/8 62  15/16 63  3/4 under scoreboard

Other critical measurements (inches)

what is measured measurement
inside backside to front scoreboard 15  5/8
inside backside to front start bar 60  1/2
inside backside to edge of board 78  1/4
inside width 15
inside height  1  3/8
height of score openings     5/8
space between baseboard and start bar  1  1/8

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Updated: 5-Feb-2019 21:15 EST -- Copyright © 2003-2019 Pieter van Vliet. All rights reserved. (Remove "NoSpam" before sending)