Elderwood Academy Review: Hex Chest (Rogue)

So the guys and gals over at Norse Foundry (Metal Dice Review: Norse Foundry Chainmail) have partnered up, in some capacity, with the marvelous artisans over at Elderwood Boxes to offer up some amazing long-term storage for your favorite dice!


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 Materials

It’s hard to argue with the warmth and luster of wood – especially in contrast to the cold and hefty precision of machine crafted metal dice. I’m a HUGE fan and proponent of everything you buy for your table lasting long enough to actually matter. From what I’ve seen of these solid machine carved hex boxes, they may outlast the people who buy them.

This particular Hex Chest (or dice chest, or “hext chex” as I keep inadvertently typing it) is Red Oak. A very aromatic and extremely durable wood with a very rich and warm color. It’s been almost a month that I’ve had and abused this Hex Chest and it’s still got that wonderful scent – which is always a plus in many gaming establishments… much to my ignominy.

There are almost a dozen different woods to choose from, and I’d not be surprised to see that number grow in the coming years as more and more people buy these beauties. Inside the magnetized lid (more on that later) is a foam lining to keep the rattle of the dice to a bare minimum.

Since the chest is made of solid wood, cut to shape using a computer controlled CNC machine, the lid and base fit together beautifully. So well, in fact, that many people cannot even see the seam between the  top and bottom:

(Note: I highly suggest you snag one of their extra velvet bags when you order. It’s a perfectly snug fit and adds a little bit of cushion that will, in my opinion, increase the life of your chest significantly AND reduce noise during travel.)

For those of you who are curious, the top and side art are laser etched/engraved into the wood itself. Short of hacking at it with a metal implement, there is no risk of rubbing, chipping, peeling or other issues you’d get with regular paint or even more shallow engravings. The additional plus side of the laser etching is the sharp contrast between the background and foreground wood, showing very interesting and vivid details.

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Security

The main deterrent for me, when first seeing these boxes, was the idea of putting my fancy metal dice in a heavy wood container that the lid would fly off of. Some of these dice sets can weigh over a quarter pound in total, after all. (Note: many push-on lids are only rated to an ounce or so of weight before they fail).

I was absolutely blown away with the fit of the lid and, even more impressive, the strength of the magnets Elderwood Academy uses in their stuff. Dear Ogmah. Not only does it hold the hefty (5.1oz) Chainmail Silver set… it holds a grand total of THIRTY EIGHT (38) sets of dice (Chessex, Easyroller, Norse Foundry, metal, plastic, glass).

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By threading a thin ribbon of high performance stretch plastic through the razor thin gap between lid and base, you can see the magnets themselves, not the wood fittings, hold up 5.57lbs of dice and sundry without an issue.

As I’ve said in previous posts, I try to put these products through the ringer so you don’t have to. I left the chest in the Mississippi heat (144 degrees in my car) for a few days, tossed it onto tables and the sidewalk, shoved it off of shelves onto tile floors – I did everything short of hit it with a hammer or set it on fire – and this is the result…
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It’s still in fantastic condition!

The only issue I ever had with my Hex Chest was loose epoxy (as you can see above, shortly before I removed the magnet and glued it back down with cyanoacrylate). Needless to say, I’ve been pretty impressed with these Dice Chests. Knowing that Elderwood Boxes is allowing Norse Foundry to sell them in tandem with their dice brings new hope that these amazing and beautiful contraptions will start to see main-stream use. With the tight fit, the robust design, and secure fastening, these are the perfect storage solution for your more expensive metal dice. Nothing breaks my heart more than seeing someone purchase a brand new set of artisan dice only to throw them into a Crown Royal bag… They deserve more than that! And at around $30 – you’ll never have to worry about your dice travel needs again. That’s a pretty damn good deal to me!

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I don’t always advocate rolling, but when I do… be sure you have to Drop the Die.
Review by JB Little, Follow me on twitter for more “useful” information.

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