Turning chess pieces

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Blog entry by Diggerjacks posted 07-17-2011 07:30 PM 3955 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch


I want to try to turn with my lathe the pieces for a chessboard. A gratifiant work and a big project for me.
I need some help
How to turn all the piece of a family at the same size ( towers, knights …..)
How to turn the knights ?

All comments welcome …............and links or patterns …......


-- Diggerjack-France ---The only limit is the limit of the mind and the mind has no limit

8 comments so far

View jeepturner's profile


939 posts in 2816 days

#1 posted 07-17-2011 08:18 PM

So, I can’t answer your questions, but I am thanking you for starting this blog. I am in the process of creating a chess set for my daughter.
The questions I have about turning pieces for the set would be about the ratio of height and foot print to the size of the board? Is there a ratio for the height of the pawn to the queen and king? If there is a ratio, is it written down some where?
I plan on turning the pawns, the rooks, the bishop, and start with turning the kings and queens. I will most likely cut the basic shape of the knight on the band saw and then carve the features. I am planning on letting my daughter do the carving, after I buy her a Kevlar glove for her left hand.
Here is a link from LJ Chessnut.

-- Mel,

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3022 days

#2 posted 07-17-2011 09:35 PM

I’m not aware of an “official” way. Most commercially produced ones use profiled cutters in one piece. That or a duplicator where there is a pattern to follow.

If I were doing it by hand, I would have a card with notches for each feature and mark a line on the blank for each to get the size the same.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View hairy's profile


2718 posts in 3556 days

#3 posted 07-17-2011 09:44 PM

View Mike's profile


406 posts in 2711 days

#4 posted 07-17-2011 10:09 PM

PSI does have a duplication set that has all the chess pieces in it. that my be an option…

-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - -

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2958 days

#5 posted 07-17-2011 11:41 PM

I don’t know anything about turning. But from the recent pieces you post I think you can do it.

Please post your progress; I, for one, will be folowing.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Bricofleur's profile


1445 posts in 3217 days

#6 posted 07-18-2011 12:18 AM

I fully agree with Ianwater. You can turn anything my friend!

Personally, I would turn the lower parts, flatten the upper sides and scrollsaw or band saw the top parts to shape (knights and towers).



-- Learn from yesterday, work today and enjoy success tomorrow. --

View Diggerjacks's profile


2252 posts in 3163 days

#7 posted 07-18-2011 03:56 PM


To all thanks for the comments, the link and your encouragement

to continue …..


-- Diggerjack-France ---The only limit is the limit of the mind and the mind has no limit

View tomd's profile


2155 posts in 3794 days

#8 posted 07-19-2011 07:02 AM

I posted a chess set awhile back if you want to look at it. For the knight I turned the base then used a scrollsaw to shape the horse by doing a 3D cut. The hardest piece I found to do was the pawns. If you have 8 pawns standing in a row the least difference will show. I made one then used it as a pattern, using capilers to transfer the highs and lows. I made a few pawns that I just had to toss out, sometimes even the color of two pieces of maple will be different and not look right. However, it was alot of fun turnig the set, it is a challange. Good luck with yours.

-- Tom D

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