I'm looking to create some dice out of scrap mora wood I have, similar to the photo below.

enter image description here

The d20 (twenty sided die) requires many cuts on a very small block of wood. What is the safest method for creating something like this?

A hand saw seems like it would be too difficult to hold the block down during the cut, but power saws just seem outright dangerous.

  • 1
    What about using a sander to remove the material instead of a saw? Clamp the sander down, not the wood
    – mmathis
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 17:14
  • 3
    Whatever you do, getting the needed precision on these is going to be difficult, getting worse as the number of sides goes up, size of side goes down, and effect's of error increase. Obviously it can be done, but the first step is going to be to figure out jigs that can hold unfinished dive in exactly the right orientation and keep you from removing too much... And they still won't be completely fair dice until you microadjust them since wood density iisnt uniform. For this kind of question, the best way to find an answer is to websearch for someone who has done it.
    – keshlam
    Commented Aug 9, 2016 at 18:54

3 Answers 3


I don't think it's feasible to cut exactly enough for this to work, especially on the more-sided dice with their odd angles. Besides the meticulous precision you need there is also the point of repeatability. The angles of those dice are so odd that building fixtures for them would be very very hard as Treow Wyrtha mentioned.

Nevertheless, if you found a way to repeatably be very precise, these dice would be awesome and my D&D playing friends would sacrifice a char for one of those :) So the approches I think could work are either a mold, a CNC or better yet, a combination of those two.

The Mold

Ask someone with a 3D-printer if they can print you a mold of half the die. You could try molding clay or liquid molding silicone, but i think the results wouldn't be accurate enough. Then start cutting/sanding/filing your die and try to fit it in the mold and repeat the process until it fits perfectly in the mold on either side.

CNC Routing The Dice

I know you said you want to do it with scrap wood and that pretty much rules out the CNC option, but in general I think it's a viable way to go when one wants to cut intricate shapes repeatably.

Besides needing a CNC machine (which may exceed your budget) there is still a lot of handwork to be done afterwards, once the basic shapes of the dice are milled.

Routing Halfs On The Table

I imagine that you could mill halves of the dice to as close as you can get them to perfection. After they are milled you can glue them together and sand/file away the steps the CNC will leave you with.

Routing Them Out On A Spinning Dowel

Wihile looking up the feasibility of my CNC idea i found this YouTube Video that explains this way better than i ever could with words.

A Combination Of Those Two

The methods support each other quite nicely and can be used without each other as well, although, if you already have a CNC, the mold would probably not be that much of a problem, and if you don't... buying a CNC for carving some dice is probably a bit much :)


First of all, you need a very precise cut to make a balanced die. The precision needs to be in the thousandths of an inch, if not ten thousandths. That is nothing you are going to do with run of the mill woodworking equipment.

Making custom fixtures to do something like this would be very laborious and complicated.

Normally items like this are made using a compound dividing head on a vertical mill.


you need to clamp the workpiece in some way, regardless of using hand or power tools. toggle clamps (on a little sled, say) and wooden handscrew clamps are very helpful to accomplish this for small pieces.

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