Turning Chess Pieces #5: Queens

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Blog entry by Chessnut posted 02-15-2008 12:02 AM 8035 reads 1 time favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 4: Bishops Part 5 of Turning Chess Pieces series Part 6: Kings »

Welcome to another installment of the chess corner. Today’s topic is turning queens on the lathe.
A queen’s base diameter is usually around 1 3/4” and the height around 3 3/4”. I use a caliper to measure while turning and turn everything gradually usually in three parts. The base, the stem of the piece and the crown and bring a pencil to the workpiece while it’s still turning after it has been turned round to mark the three segments and the decorative rings. This gives a better approximation while turning so I can be more accurate when duplicating a piece style that I am happy with. I cut the queen’s crown with a hacksaw and turned the first queen with a small mortising chisel out of a 2×4. The second queen was from douglas fir tree and I used a proper turning tool a fingernail gouge. The third and forth are both mountain ash, fourth one with a finishing coat. When designing your set , there is no hard and fast rule about how many decorative rings to use or how thick, but here are a few questions to ask yourself when designing your set. Are they top heavy? do they tip over easily? How is the contrast in the two woods, how easy would it be to make a board that keeping in mind the piece color and grain. Hopefully this will help to give you an idea of how to make a superb chess set to look at and to be a joy to play with also. Until next time keep on turning!

-- Mike, Airdrie Alberta

3 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 3246 days

#1 posted 02-15-2008 12:18 AM

Hi Mike,

i just wish I could keep on turning. Until I get a lathe I will have to simply enjoy your posts. These are really nice pieces. You are in the home stretch now- only the king is left.

I can say without a doubt I am enjoying this.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Chessnut's profile


24 posts in 3189 days

#2 posted 02-15-2008 01:53 AM

I appreciate that Scott, it takes a certain amount of encouragement to turn chess pieces.

-- Mike, Airdrie Alberta

View Grumpy's profile


21459 posts in 3275 days

#3 posted 02-15-2008 11:51 PM

Great pieces Mike. you will now have something for the family to treasure for many years. Did you use the indexing pins on the lathe to assist with the carving?.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

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