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