Wooden DM screen/box – feedback please

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So I tried my hand at creating a wooden DM screen/dice holder to use for my D&D games and was quite pleased with the results. It’s all handmade out of red oak with brass fittings.


I’ve included a couple of pictures below and some links to additional photos.



I’d love some feedback, in particular what I would like to know is:


1. Do you think there is a market for something like this? Might you, as a DM, be interested in buying one?


2. If people are interested, what do you think people would be prepared to pay? (bear in mind the cost of materials and that it took a long time to make!)


3. Are there any improvements or changes that you’d suggest?









More pics and info:


The whole thing folds up into a box and is clasped shut so it can be stored more easily


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


The compartment lid lifts up to allow access to the dice compartments. The lid also forms part of the screen preventing players seeing dice roles and DM notes.


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


Detail of the compartment lid latch and pencil holder


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


Detail of the small wooden ramps in the dice compartments which make it easier to get dice out without getting stuck in the corners (especially for d4’s)


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


Drawers for counters etc and the larger compartment on the right can be used for storing mini’s etc (it has a separate lid so you can keep this closed to prevent any curious players seeing what’s in store for them)


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


The drawers have magnetic strips on the back so they ‘snap’ shut when pushed in.


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


The box in use (from the DMs side)


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


..and from the players side


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


 


Thanks for any comments and if any of you are woodworkers try not to be too harsh about the woodworking skills. It was my first attempt at making something like this so I kind of made it up as I went along.


 

Holy amazing! I want this so bad, you don't even know. xP If I had any money to spare I would commission one right now. As for a market? I know there's one there, it's just that the current economy, as everyone knows, is gonna make it a slow seller because it's not an item that's really needed. Though that doesn't always come into consideration with DMs that treat the game as a really serious part of their life, it all depends on who sees it.
As far as price? I'd say it's probably worth at least $50. (I don't know what sort of cost it was to make or how long it took you so that's probably a base price.)
Once you become confident in your abilities you can start offering more custom orders. Such as more/less drawers/compartments, bigger drawers/compartments, maybe offer custom skins on it? A steampunk design would look badass on this. Also stencilling people's names or quotes to the front (charging by letter or line if you wish) could definitely add some interest. There's really no shortage of things you can do and I'm personally in love with the idea. I just wish I had the money to get one. xP Maybe one day.
Hi Darth Haven. Thanks for the encouragement!
The customization ideas would definitely be do-able I think. Also the names/quotes idea sounds good. Not sure if I would need to burn the design or ink it before varnishing.
Unfortunately I think the cost would need to be a good deal more than $50. That would probably just cover the materials and I'd need to consider how many hours it takes to make.
Maybe its not really possible to do and make any money (or break-even), but still, I enjoyed making this one  Smile
Thanks for the feedback
That's a brilliant idea. The dice boxes also look perfect for miniatures.
Cheers Imruphel aka Scrivener of Doom
Really cool!  I mean that.  I think they would be cost-prohibitive to sell, but really cool nonetheless.  The only suggestion I would have would be to include a long cubby for battle mats.  
I’d love some feedback, in particular what I would like to know is:
1. Do you think there is a market for something like this? Might you, as a DM, be interested in buying one?
2. If people are interested, what do you think people would be prepared to pay?
3. Are there any improvements or changes that you’d suggest?


1a. Yes. But it is a very niche market, and I would not recommend anyone doing it for money unless they were already doing woodwork for a living and took special orders prepaid. Even thne, not really a profitable line.
1b. Yes, I would be interested. But I am an odd bird with a bit more disposable income than many gamers.

2. This is functional art. It should cost as much as it is worth. And in my opinion, that is at least as much as a lawn care company makes. That rate is about $17 / hour + materials. (Note: current average lawn care rate nationwide is $40 / hour assuming a $23 / hour overhead). However, I believe this would rpice it right out of just about anybody's pocket range.

3. I wouldn't change a thing except maybe to add some felt to the inside bottom of each "box" to reduce noise and to reduce wear and tear on both the box and the contents.
Here are the PHB essentia, in my opinion:
  • Three Basic Rules (p 11)
  • Power Types and Usage (p 54)
  • Skills (p178-179)
  • Feats (p 192)
  • Rest and Recovery (p 263)
  • All of Chapter 9 [Combat] (p 264-295)
A player needs to read the sections for building his or her character -- race, class, powers, feats, equipment, etc. But those are PC-specific. The above list is for everyone, regardless of the race or class or build or concept they are playing.


So I tried my hand at creating a wooden DM screen/dice holder to use for my D&D games and was quite pleased with the results. It’s all handmade out of red oak with brass fittings.


I’ve included a couple of pictures below and some links to additional photos.



I’d love some feedback, in particular what I would like to know is:


1. Do you think there is a market for something like this? Might you, as a DM, be interested in buying one?


2. If people are interested, what do you think people would be prepared to pay? (bear in mind the cost of materials and that it took a long time to make!)


3. Are there any improvements or changes that you’d suggest?









More pics and info:


The whole thing folds up into a box and is clasped shut so it can be stored more easily


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


The compartment lid lifts up to allow access to the dice compartments. The lid also forms part of the screen preventing players seeing dice roles and DM notes.


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


Detail of the compartment lid latch and pencil holder


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


Detail of the small wooden ramps in the dice compartments which make it easier to get dice out without getting stuck in the corners (especially for d4’s)


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


Drawers for counters etc and the larger compartment on the right can be used for storing mini’s etc (it has a separate lid so you can keep this closed to prevent any curious players seeing what’s in store for them)


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


The drawers have magnetic strips on the back so they ‘snap’ shut when pushed in.


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


The box in use (from the DMs side)


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


..and from the players side


dl.dropbox.com/u/804429/DM%20screen/SAM_...


 


Thanks for any comments and if any of you are woodworkers try not to be too harsh about the woodworking skills. It was my first attempt at making something like this so I kind of made it up as I went along.


 


How much to buy one? No, I'm not joking. That is seriously awesome, and I want one. That is masterwork right there.
This is a really grand idea. How much does it weight empty, and full?

I think I'd like it myself (I live in Australia though), but I imagine a 'mini version' would also be good; maybe something half the length? With my current DM screen I make it a U shape and even then sometimes I don't have enough table room! One that is the width of 2 A4 pages would be good for me personally :P

The idea of felt feet or a felted surface sounds good to me. I'd also appreciate atleast one of the compartments having a felted inside for my more special or delicate of minis. Is there also space in there (while closed) to include 1~3 of the books? I'm thinking it would be good to have as pick-up-and-go box to have sheets, mini, dice and reference books.

 

That's a brilliant idea. The dice boxes also look perfect for miniatures.


@Imruphel – Thanks. I’d bought a pound of dice which was the main reason I started making the box in the first place. But yeah, if you have more need to store minis than dice then they’d be good for that too.


 


Really cool!  I mean that.  I think they would be cost-prohibitive to sell, but really cool nonetheless.  The only suggestion I would have would be to include a long cubby for battle mats.  


@rednblack – My gut feel was that it would be cost-prohibitive as well. Interesting thought about the battle mat cubby. I’d have to rethink the design a little.


 



1a. Yes. But it is a very niche market, and I would not recommend anyone doing it for money unless they were already doing woodwork for a living and took special orders prepaid. Even thne, not really a profitable line.
1b. Yes, I would be interested. But I am an odd bird with a bit more disposable income than many gamers.

2. This is functional art. It should cost as much as it is worth. And in my opinion, that is at least as much as a lawn care company makes. That rate is about $17 / hour + materials. (Note: current average lawn care rate nationwide is $40 / hour assuming a $23 / hour overhead). However, I believe this would rpice it right out of just about anybody's pocket range.

3. I wouldn't change a thing except maybe to add some felt to the inside bottom of each "box" to reduce noise and to reduce wear and tear on both the box and the contents.


@Seeker95 – Really good insightful comments. Your thoughts on the pricing were close what I was thinking as well. The hard part is that it’s so time consuming. If I estimated it would take me 20 hours of work @ $20 an hour that’s $400 right off the bat and then $50 for materials. As you said, $450 is well outside of pretty much anybody’s price range. It was my first time making one so I’m sure I could streamline the time if I was producing more but I’m not sure how much.


That’s a great idea to line the bottom of each box with felt. I found it’s pretty loud pouring a bunch of dice into one of those compartments.


I also love your description of ‘functional art’. That’s very much how I think of it. If someone is buying it purely as a functional item then the price would seem ridiculous. However, if you also enjoy owning an item like that because it looks great and is a beautiful thing to display then a high price tag becomes a little more understandable.


 


How much to buy one? No, I'm not joking. That is seriously awesome, and I want one. That is masterwork right there.


@kiljoy795 – Nice to hear you’re interested- I’m assuming the prices mentioned above would be prohibitive though? Thanks for the interest none the less

 


This is a really grand idea. How much does it weight empty, and full?

I think I'd like it myself (I live in Australia though), but I imagine a 'mini version' would also be good; maybe something half the length? With my current DM screen I make it a U shape and even then sometimes I don't have enough table room! One that is the width of 2 A4 pages would be good for me personally :P

The idea of felt feet or a felted surface sounds good to me. I'd also appreciate atleast one of the compartments having a felted inside for my more special or delicate of minis. Is there also space in there (while closed) to include 1~3 of the books? I'm thinking it would be good to have as pick-up-and-go box to have sheets, mini, dice and reference books.
 


@zippy-zippy-no – Again, really good comments. Weight would be a consideration. Red Oak in that thickness is pretty heavy. Not sure what the overall weight is off-hand, but pretty substantial. That’s part of the feeling I was going for though. I wanted something that would last (maybe I could pass it on to my kids one day if they’re interested).


The smaller version is a very interesting idea though. Might be easier to produce and bring the cost down. As it stands the depth of the box isn’t great enough to include the D&D books. Possibly a deeper but shorter length box light be better.

General Comments


As I said above it’s the first time I tried making something like this so it’s all pretty new to me but the ideas are great and thanks to all for your interest and to those who said they’d be interested in buying one.


I’m quite inspired to try a Version 2.0 with some of your suggestions and I could time how long it takes me and come up with a selling price.


Good stuff   Smile

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