Marble Race

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Here is an experimental prototype we, and by we I mostly mean my husband, have been developing. I helped in that when he hit a wall design wise I threw out completely useless ideas before he came up with the right answer. The man is risking his marbles with this four person wooden marble race, the assembly of which proved to be far more complicated than we had anticipated. Each column is a track for marbles to run down. The bowl at the base is the ultimate equalizer as the marbles battle in a melee for first place. The spout out the bottom spits each marble out one by one. This being the first attempt, our wooden marble race has proven to be a success. Now we are planning to perfect the design making the marbles run more smoothly and effectively. The races are really fun for all ages. Even our little boy has played, granted it was quite the task keeping him from trying to eat the marbles. This is likely because his father chose to race one of the new dark chocolate raspberry M&Ms and immediately ate it as soon as it spat out at the bottom. Baby sees all! But we did get a few successful runs with actual marbles out of him with a lot of help from his mommy. He liked the marble race well enough, but lost interest as soon as he saw a shoe he could try to eat. As for the two adults in the house, we have yet to lose our fascination.

Materials: poplar and plywood

Dimensions: H=24″ L=13″ W=13″


Marble Chest

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This is perhaps one of the marble runs Spencer is most proud of. It took him 40+ hours in the shop garage to complete and he loved testing out each piece as soon as it was finished. This marble chest really is a masterpiece. You can’t begin to imagine the time we spent with this thing the moment it was all put together. As far as marble runs go, this is the best I have seen, probably ever. All I can really say is, “Wood Smith? We have arrived.”

This particular marble chest features of switch back set of routes at the top that alternate where each marble will end up. There are spirals, steps, jumps, and even a xylophone. Wheels turn, seals pass, and even a bell can be run by the marbles. The detail on this project is immaculate. If you are interested in crafting your own you can purchase plans here. The marble chest is a lofty pursuit that takes some meticulous work, time, and energy. Also having the marble chest level is key to it working. This is something we continue to find out the hard way.

Materials: mostly mahogany and Baltic birch, but also contains purple heart, oak, ash, white wood, and cyprus

Dimensions: H=20″ with lid open L=25″ W=12″