Abacus plans

The abacus, also called a counting frame, is one of oldest counting devices. It was developed about 5000 years ago, and it was used by all ancient civilizations. Abacus was used centuries before the adoption of modern numeral system. Abacus consists of wooden frame and rods or wires with freely sliding beads. The beads are usually rounded and made of hardwood or plastic. The beads are counted by moving them towards the rods. Depending of the origin, there are a few slightly different types of the abacus. Today, abacus is still sometimes used by kids for learning of basic math like add, subtract, multiply, and divide.

Here we are not going to write about how to perform calculations using an abacus, because there is a large amount of information addressing this topic on the Internet and in books. This page is meant for all who would like to make their own abacus. Two appropriate plans are offered – the first is related to the Chinese abacus, and the second one to the classical school abacus. The abacus construction itself is very simple and easy to build. The biggest problem is to craft the beads, and this is much easier if you have a lathe (which is not that common in amateur workshops). It may be best to search for websites that sell wooden beads online and simply buy them ready-made. If you don’t have a lathe, but you still want to craft the beads on your own, a hole saw may be quite useful for this job – first you need to cut wooden discs, and then grind and sand them to obtain beads.

We hope that we have awakened your interest in these free woodworking plans to create an abacus for your children and teach them how to use it, which will surely have a positive impact on their development. And when the kids outgrow their abacus, or simply become fed up with it, this clever calculating device can be used as a decorative item in the children's room for a while, i.e., until somebody new starts learning and playing with it. If you, for some reason, happen to dislike the abacus design in the plan, make use of  the dimensions from the plan, and search the Internet for abacus images and choose the design and construction to your liking.

Both plans are detailed, i.e., they include everything you need to help you make the abacus. You can also easily adjust its dimensions based on the drawings in the plans to suit your needs.

Chinese abacus

Chinese abacus - Parts list and assembly drawings

Chinese abacus - Part drawings

School abacus

School abacus - Parts list and assembly drawing

School abacus - 1. Side

School abacus - Part drawings

School abacus - Mirror part