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Subject: Staining and Assembling My Meeple Realty Anachrony Insert rss

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Kate T
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This is my stained and assembled Meeple Realty insert for Anachrony.



I've included a few of my photos here, but you can see more over in my gallery: https://boardgamegeek.com/images/user/426966/mynameiskate


Order of Operations
- Sanded all the sheets; did not punch the pieces.
- Stained all the sheets; two coats each side; did not punch the pieces.
- After stain dried, did one coat of lacquer on each side. There was some concern that the varnish might make the pieces more difficult to punch, but I don't think this was the case.
- After varnishing & drying, sanded the surface of each sheet (sand with the grain, my brother yelled several times).
- Punched the pieces for one container at a time. They've done a good job in the instructions of showing all the pieces in a sheet, numbering them and walking through assembly steps.
- After I punched the pieces, they had to be trimmed and lightly sanded on some of the edges. There were also some snags as well as places where the stain didn't reach. You can see how this looks in the pics.
- I didn't do much glueing. There were maybe 1/2 dozen connections that felt like they needed gluing. Everything else fit very snugly.





Things I learned:
- Put your gloves on first. Even if you're just thinking about the stain put your gloves on. :)
- The stain I used (MinWax Penetrating Stain) was a bit thin and soaked in very easily. I might think about using a gel stain next time.
- Don't forget to rub in the stain WITH (not against) the grain. Same with sanding later.
- You have to go very quickly when staining; this is not a leisurely activity.
- We tried the sponge brush vs the rags. Felt too loose. Not enough control. Used staining rags the rest of the time.
- You will definitely need a hobby hammer (I got one as a promo from Meeple Realty and it was essential) and an exacto knife.
- Depending on the individual piece, I would sometimes punch front to back or back to front.
- When you start punching out the pieces, don't do more than one container at time. It's just easier to keep things straight if you don't punch ALL THE PIECES out. Oh, and don't be drunk or stoned.





Overall Quality and Impressions of the Insert:
- In general, I am very happy with the insert. The engineering and design that goes into this thing is incredible. Everything fit perfectly and then all the pieces fit in the box. Amazing.
- Sometimes the pieces were laid out on a sheet and it took into consideration assembly of the pieces with regard to the grain of the wood. But sometimes, it didn't. So there were a few hinky looking pieces after they were assembled. I don't know that the casual observer will notice this. But when the grains all match, the pieces are stunning.
- A few of the sheets of wood were 1mm or 2mm thicker than the others and these were not sufficiently laser-cut. I spent a lot of time on these sheets with my exacto knife. I almost lost a couple of the smaller tabs when trying to cut them out. I'm not sure if this is just "how it is" with laser-cut wood inserts, but I feel these should have been caught in inspection.



Length of Project:
I worked on this over a week - the staining and varnishing were done on a weekend. And then punching, assembly and touch-ups done in the evening over 3 nights. We probably spent 14 to 18 hours total.

There was some downtime in there for waiting for coats of stain and/or varnish to dry. Plus, my workspace wasn't very big - so I could only stain maximum 6 sheets at a time - if you have more space, you can probably do this more quickly.

And I would say that to punch, trim and assemble a piece would take 20 to 40 minutes per container, depending on the intricacy of the piece.



Pros and Cons to How We Did This:
These were the directions from Meeple Realty for staining:

For the staining, use wood stain and a soft, shortish bristle brush. Don't spread the stain like you do with paint. Dab it with the brush. Do one coat, and it's not dark enough, do another coat. You can also buy a matte or gloss finish at Lowes or Home Depot. Also, ask them about an acetone type liquid for cleaning your brush. I forgot the name, but they will know what it is.

Also, do the assembly first, and then stain it. It's easier that way and you won't worry about joints not fitting.


Their order of operations didn't really make sense to me (plus, I would not use a bristle brush with the stain - I was very happy with the rags), so we did the order stated in the first part of this post: sand, stain, varnish, punch, assemble.

After doing it that way, there is a definite con to staining and varnishing the sheets then punching: you have little areas where there might be a nubbin or artifact from the board that needs sanding (you can see these in one of the photos above (the three pic progression) and also in my gallery). But you can't really tell how much it affects the final appearance until the pieces are assembled. So, you end up re-sanding edges or trimming with the exacto knife and then doing some touch-ups with your stain.

But I honestly can't imagine staining and varnishing after assembly. There are too many cutouts and some small intricate assemblies. Also dealing with the screws. Pre-assembly might work for some of the more simple pieces like the player or breakthrough trays. But even the mech holders would be tough - just getting into the corners.

What I can possibly see doing is punching out, staining individual pieces and then assembling. That may save on some of the touch-ups needed. But having all those loose pieces hanging about is problematic. It took less than an hour for touching up all of the snags, so I still think that outweighs having to corral all 100+ pieces.



Thanks:
- Huge thanks to my brother for helping me with sanding and staining and general moral support!
- Meeple Realty for emailing me the PDF of the assembly instructions and their staining recommendations
- Broken Token for their video about staining their wooden inserts https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pyGcSN_ugmc

And especially to
John Weston Merkle
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for his very helpful thread about staining and assembling his Meeple Realty insert for Gloomhaven! Plus answering all my followup questions! https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1789803/my-meeple-realty-in...



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Very cool!
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Shoosh shoo
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Looks really nice! I often wonder if these inserts are worth the time and energy. They usually cost as much as a game and i tend to think "i would rather just buy another game!" Anachrony i think demands an insert. I tried making one out of foamcore and it was too muchpain in the neck!
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Mike Morales
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shooshoo wrote:
Looks really nice! I often wonder if these inserts are worth the time and energy. They usually cost as much as a game and i tend to think "i would rather just buy another game!" Anachrony i think demands an insert. I tried making one out of foamcore and it was too muchpain in the neck!


I have the same mindset as you and I typically don't buy inserts unless the game calls for it as I can get by with baggies and food containers and I have also created foam core inserts for some games. Anachrony is in my top 5 and it really calls for an insert as setup was taking me at least 30-40 min using the baggy/container method. I spent 75 including shipping which is more than the game but its well worth it to me. Setup and breakdown is a breeze now and its a game I bring to the club more often than not because of this.

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Brett McLay
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thumbsup ~ Threads like this hurt my wallet. 'Scottish heritage hurts double.
 
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Kate T
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shooshoo wrote:
Looks really nice! I often wonder if these inserts are worth the time and energy. They usually cost as much as a game and i tend to think "i would rather just buy another game!" Anachrony i think demands an insert. I tried making one out of foamcore and it was too muchpain in the neck!


Thanks!

Yeah, I normally would not do an insert - but after all the set up of Anachrony and all the fussy pieces, plus everything you need during the game - this one made sense to get.
 
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Kate T
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Mrdabba wrote:
Setup and breakdown is a breeze now and its a game I bring to the club more often than not because of this.



Yup - this is one of the best reasons for an insert! Get it to the table and the club more often!
 
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Stephen Smith
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Another way to stain the smaller pieces is to just dump them into a plastic bag and pour a generous amount of wood stain into it. Mush the bag around dispersing the stain all over the pieces. Then dump the pieces out onto an absorbent cloth (paper towels etc...).

It's hard to do this for lacquer but laying them out with space between them on a sheet of paper then using a spray lacquer from multiple angles to get the sides coated as well. Then once they're dry, turning them over and repeating.

I like the finished insert Kate, but how do you like Anachrony?
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Kate T
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norith wrote:
Another way to stain the smaller pieces is to just dump them into a plastic bag and pour a generous amount of wood stain into it. Mush the bag around dispersing the stain all over the pieces. Then dump the pieces out onto an absorbent cloth (paper towels etc...).

It's hard to do this for lacquer but laying them out with space between them on a sheet of paper then using a spray lacquer from multiple angles to get the sides coated as well. Then once they're dry, turning them over and repeating.

I like the finished insert Kate, but how do you like Anachrony?


Hey, Stephen .. That technique could work .. though it might take a while to dry

I'm still figuring out Anachrony. I really love the idea of it. I love the theme, the art, the backstory. I've only played it 3 player and I've lost every time I played it. And I am feeling a bit frustrated about it. I'm interested to see if 4 player is better balanced. Or if 2 player is. With the 3-player, you're using the same side of the board as the 2 player and it just seems that I never get to do anything unless I'm first player.

I don't even need to win every time but I need to feel like I can do something in the game besides "get water" - but when all the other spaces go first, it's tough.

So, still figuring it out. Keen to try the expansions - I watched a walk through where they used the adventure cards expansion (can't remember which one this is). I'd also like to try it solo with the Chronobot.

Have you played? Your thoughts?
 
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John Weston Merkle
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Wow looks really great! The stain looks fantastic and you really gave some great info for anyone looking to do something similar.

Lol your post is also much more put together than mine was.

Can't wait till I get mine to try a few new ideas I have!
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Kate T
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maddhattr wrote:
Wow looks really great! The stain looks fantastic and you really gave some great info for anyone looking to do something similar.

Lol your post is also much more put together than mine was.

Can't wait till I get mine to try a few new ideas I have!


Well you definitely gave me the inspiration! I kept notes on my phone the whole way through (love voice dictation for when you're wearing stain-covered gloves).

I have 2 more to do: Trickerion and Firefly.
I really loved your red stain treatment - might try something like that, especially on Trickerion. Though maybe blue?

When you do your Anachrony one, please do post about it!
 
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Drake Coker
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Fantastic!

Honestly, the box is soooo full I'm surprised there is even room for an insert!
 
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Kate T
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Olvenskol wrote:
Fantastic!

Honestly, the box is soooo full I'm surprised there is even room for an insert!


I was amazed that after putting it together, everything fit, the box closed and I could use my Kickstarter custom sleeve. Feat of engineering.
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Ben Turner
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I'm giving this a go myself.

Have started sanding some sheets tonight. Not sure how much I need to sand - they looked pretty smooth out of the packet already? Have been rubbing some 120 grit paper over one for a couple of minutes, and aside from some obvious wood particles in the air, it looks the same !

(what have I started... surprise)

Suspect I should probably use a finer grit (200?) sandpaper (just used 120 as it's what was to hand). Also, did you need to clean your wood after sanding? Guessing I don't want to varnish in the wood particles, but the internet is trying to get me to buy something called a tack cloth and I'm feeling like I might be over-doing this for some pre-cut, already flat / smooth bits of wood
 
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Kate T
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Phantomwhale wrote:
I'm giving this a go myself.

Have started sanding some sheets tonight. Not sure how much I need to sand - they looked pretty smooth out of the packet already? Have been rubbing some 120 grit paper over one for a couple of minutes, and aside from some obvious wood particles in the air, it looks the same !

(what have I started... surprise)

Suspect I should probably use a finer grit (200?) sandpaper (just used 120 as it's what was to hand). Also, did you need to clean your wood after sanding? Guessing I don't want to varnish in the wood particles, but the internet is trying to get me to buy something called a tack cloth and I'm feeling like I might be over-doing this for some pre-cut, already flat / smooth bits of wood


We used 200 grit. Just 1 or 2 quick passes over each sheet - didn't spend a lot of time grinding away or anything Probably used it more when we punched out the pieces and then sanded some edges to take off the little splinters.

I just kept one rag specifically for wiping the boards after sanding. Plus I blew on them to blow the grit out of any grooves. Just don't inhale too deeply I've never used "tack cloth" so not sure if that would have been a better choice. But you should definitely wipe them down before staining.

Good luck! If you post pics, share a link when you're done!
 
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