Wood that I Could – Philip Drew

Wood that I could


I love to build model games like the Ball Lift game or the Steer-a-ball game which you can see on my models page here. Unfortunately, many ball games need a completely flat and unimpeded surface (impeded by necessary bolt heads, mainly) if they are to function correctly. The Steer-a-ball game surface suffers from Meccano holes which often stop the ball from moving smoothly, with “hanging up” in a hole and the need to dislodge it. One partial solution to this is to put black electric tape along the line the ball is supposed to run to smooth it out but this is not completely effective. Of course, I tell players that this is part of the game, requiring extra skill from them! Other games needing a smooth surface are Bagatelle, 9-pin bowls and the flipper type of game available everywhere.


Often the need for a flat surface can be realised by a bit of clever design, the best example on this website being David Miller’s Table Hockey Game where the essential bolt heads are part of feature cones to divert the ball, based on part 187a conical discs. Very true strip plates are also needed. This type of construction imposes limits on the size of the model which are often too severe. So, the burning question – can I use wood in the form of plywood to help me out?

My answer is a Yes, but I haven’t used the solution as yet as it doesn’t quite seem to be ‘Cricket’. There are historical precedents, the automatic Bagatelle Game being a classic and one plastic Meccano had holes in the wooden lid to enable it to be used as a base. So, what does anyone else think?