So I started my first attempt with a 1x6 and cut to be even on both sides.
Thirty minutes later I examined the boards and found that my eyeballing method made life a lot harder. The seams on one edge didn't line up correctly. So now it was off to Home Depot to get a planer. While I was there I picked up just about every grit of sand paper for my sander. Now since I eyeballed those dowel hole I had to plane off quite a few layers of word to make the seams match.
After finishing planing I then sanded the whole board top and bottom till everything was was evened out. Then using my table router I routed the edge of the board to give it a nice rounded edge. Then I continued to sand the board till everything was even smother and ready to be stained. The next step though was to Dremel the board with the squares. After banging my head on the table a few times i figured out the proper layout to maximize the space and have even squares. I drew these out in pencil on the board so that i could follow them with the Dremel.
At this point it was time to put the project down for the night.