So I decided to add weights to the pieces, which appears to be the norm. I think it’s more of a ‘feel’ thing that gives them some substance during play more than it’s required for stability or any such thing. Perhaps someone could weigh in on why it is, but certainly when I’ve played with pieces that have a ‘heft’ it seems to indicate a better quality.
To that end, I picked up some 1/4 Oz fishing weights to add to the bases. I’ve seen recommendations that use pennies and other means to provide the weight, but the 1/4 oz bullet sinkers should be a nice, dense option. They’ll be encased in wood and epoxy, so I’m not too concerned about lead content, although I will warn potential players that this chess set may be known to the state of California to cause anything from bad breath to the collapse of th world economy.
To drill the pockets for the weights, I adapted my cutting jig. By removing the bolt in the open end and using a standard small-size clamp to lock the piece in, I was able to set up the drill press with a stop that allowed the proper depth. To keep the depth consistent from piece to piece, I marked the edge of the jig at the base of the piece when I set up the drill depth stop so that I wouldn’t have to keep fiddling with it.
My press is just a small, cheap benchtop model, so the overall height of the jig and bit was too much to use the table. I swung it to the side and just rested the top of the jig on the base while drilling the holes.
Each piece received a hole in the base. I’d been putting this off because it seemed like a lot of aligning, clamping, drilling, unclamping, aligning, clamping, drilling, blah blah. All in all, it took probably 15 minutes to do all 32 white pieces and I’ll likely do the dark ones tonight.
Some epoxy mixing and I’ll be done with this step and on to applying a finish.