IMG_2411Congratulations on your purchase of our officially licensed Agricola insert!   Our Agricola insert stores the base game and the Farmers expansion, as well as a handful of additional card expansions.  Construction is relatively easy and only requires about 40 minutes.



Our inserts are almost always cut using a NAF HDF.  The HDF we use is formed using a special resin that results in a wood product that is impregnated with polyurethane.  This makes the resulting wood heavier than normal HDF, but this HDF contains no added formaldehyde, unlike 99% of the HDF available in the U.S. market.  HDF is constructed from tiny wood bits (essentially sawdust) mixed with a resin, and then heat pressed.  This results in a very uniform wood sheet that is smooth on both sides and contains no knots or patches.  Cutting HDF on the laser is like cutting butter with a warm knife.  It is the ideal material to cut!  However, keep in mind that all wood sheet products of this type do experience some color variation.  This typically manifests as slightly darker splotches a millimeter or two in size here and there on the surface of the wood.  This is normal.



Everyone has a favorite glue.  Mine is Sobo Craft Glue.  When building inserts, you want a thick, tacky white glue that sets quickly and dries clear, allowing you to continue building and not hold pieces while waiting for them to bond together.  You don’t have to use Sobo, but you should use a tacky glue if possible.  It will make the experience almost effortless.  Also, we ship our inserts with the small bits of wood still present in the finger joint cutouts and you should use the longer sticks to assist with glue cleanup as you build your insert.

Painter’s Tape (Blue)

While a tacky glue makes construction easy, some blue painter’s tape will really help with the corner joins.  You can just hold the pieces together for 30 seconds to a couple of minutes, but painter’s tape will do the job for you and a roll can purchased for just a few dollars in any home improvement store.  Painter’s tape is ideal because the adhesive used is strong, but not too strong.  Stronger adhesives can damage wood surfaces or leave adhesive behind.

Work Area

A good work area will make your construction project quick and orderly.  You don’t need much space – maybe a 24″x 24″ area.  I like to lay some printer paper down on my work surface and I place an extra piece of paper to the side to act as a glue collection area as I use the glue sticks to clean up my joints.


You have the option of sanding the pieces of your new insert.  We cut our inserts using a custom lamella arrangement to reduce laser flashback on the lower surface of the wood, and we use a nose cone that provides low-pressure air assist to reduce the amount of “browning” around the cuts, but some browning and flashback are unavoidable.  If you do choose to sand the pieces, use a 320 grit sandpaper and hand sand the pieces.  A very light sanding will remove any “browning.”


We don’t recommend that you paint or finish your insert as this may interfere with the placement of the dividers.  They are sized to fit snugly in the lanes of your new insert.  The addition of paint will likely make it very hard to place them properly.  Staining will generally work, but may require that you then sand your pieces.  If you decide to stain, I would recommend you stain both sides of each plate, allow to dry, and then remove the pieces from the frames.  Finishing in polyurethane is very tricky with inserts that have divider slots.  The polyurethane can get into those divider slots and cause problems.

Handle with Care

You should always use care when punching your pieces out of the frames.  This is especially important when punching lane rails that have many slots for dividers.  The HDF is tough, but applying a large amount of force is not recommended.  Use a front and back punching motion to free pieces from the frame.  Our inserts are designed to be punched from the containing frames without the use of a knife to assist.

Dry Fitting

Before you start glueing things, you should layout the pieces and dry fit them so you have a good understanding of how they go together.  This is Golden Rule #1.  This will  help you avoid mistakes such as glueing the wrong side of a piece.  Once you dry fit your insert, you can lay the pieces out in their approximate positions as a reminder of what goes where.  It helps!  When we produce an insert, we produce the entire box from the same sheet of wood to ensure that color and finish match.

Constructing the Caddy

Your Agricola insert includes a tile caddy for use when playing.  Let’s build it now.  You will need the pieces pictured below.

It’s important that you remove excess glue from all inner areas of the caddy or you will have trouble sliding your tiles in and out.


First, glue the double-slotted center divider into the caddy base.


Next, glue the splitter into the center divider.


And then the other one.


Next, place glue on the ends of the splitters and glue the side wall onto the caddy.


Then do the same for the other side wall.


Next, place the center end cap on each side.


Next, place the corner end caps on each side.


Take your completed caddy and set it aside to dry.


Constructing The Small Storage Box

The small storage box is used to store horses and peat if you have the expansion.  You have a choice to make before you build this box.  We include a divider for the box.  However, if you use the box with the divider in place for storage of the expansion bits (horses and peat), you will not have enough room for all of the horses.  If you build without the divider, you will have enough room.  If you choose to build without the divider in place, go ahead and remove it from your work area, so you don’t accidentally include it.


 Optional Divider Build

You can skip this step if you don’t want to install the divider into your small box.

Apply glue to the small divider notch and place it onto the small box box base.




If you skipped the installation of the divider, you will need to carefully  glue and place one long wall and then a short wall, so that they stabilize each other and then  proceed to add the other long wall, and then the final short wall.

If you installed the center divider, you should apply glue to the raised notches on the center divider and then place the two long walls (one on each side).


Next, place the two short walls.




After allowing the small box to dry for 15 minutes, you can carefully place the top, and set it aside to dry completely.


Constructing the Tray

Next, let’s build the bit tray.  First, lay out the pieces and do a dry fit so you understand where everything belongs.


Next, glue and place the inner dividers and the side walls, as you did with the small box.


Finally, place the small outer walls.


Finally, set the tray aside and allow the glue to dry.


Constructing the Main Insert

With the tray, caddy, and small box out of the way, let’s build the main insert.


The base, player piece dividers, and the card dividers above and the inner and outer walls below.


First, apply glue and place the dividers for player bits on the base.  Make sure you place them in the proper orientation.


Clean up excess glue.

IMG_2010 Place the other four dividers.


Next, let’s place the card dividers on the wall.  Check the orientation of the walls and then glue and place the card dividers.  Don’t place glue on the notches that connect to the base yet.



All card dividers placed.


Next, do the same thing for the center wall.  Glue and place the tray supports (note the image below for the correct orientation for the supports)


and the card dividers on the center wall.


Next, glue and place the rear wall.





Next, glue and place the center wall.




Next, glue and place the side walls.


Then glue and place the front wall.




Placing the Insert

You should let your insert dry overnight and once dry, drop it into the box and fill it up!

If the insert is obviously larger than the box, don’t force it as this will split the corners of the box.  Our inserts are designed to fit snugly into various manufacturer’s boxes, but sometimes a manufacturer may change the box design.  Be mindful of this possibility.

Sometimes, the printed paper that wraps around from the outside of the box and into the inside of the box will provide resistance.  Gentle, but firm pressure applied to each side of the insert, in turn, will slowly slide your new insert into the box.