Aaron Day of Make Crazydays certainly accomplished something crazy here, an entire Settlers of Catan gaming set, complete with board, playing pieces, dice, even cards, all made from a single 8′ 2×4.
He entered his creation in last year’s Summers Woodworking 2×4 Challenge 2015. For this challenge, contestants are tasked with deriving a project from a single piece of this Proletarian construction material. Aaron had played a lot of Settlers in college and wanted to do something to celebrate his fond memories of the game.
Aaron did a number of innovative things for this build. One of the most impressive was to use soaked, ironed out, and glued wood shavings to create very thin wooden cards. He had seen other all-wooden Settlers sets that had thinly-cut cards that were still fairly thick and rigid. He wanted to get as close to a paper-based card as possible.
Onto the wooden cards, he used the toner transfer method and lacquer thinner to transfer the art onto the wood. He used the same technique to transfer art onto the Catan playing tiles.
It took endless amounts of sanding to prepare all of the various playing pieces he had cut from his 2×4.
To create the pips on the dice, he heated a nail clamped in a set of vise grips and burned them into his dice blocks.
To color all of the components, Aaron soaked them in food dye and laid them out to dry. When dry, he finished up everything with several coats of water-based poly.
He has a blog post on Make Crazydays with a bit more information about the build, especially how he dealt with the cards made of wood shavings.