The making of a chess board with veneer. Mark made a comment earlier this week about a chess board that was presented as a project, that he’d like to make one for his son.
I sent him a private message and suggested that if he wanted to make a chess board, that I’d provide the veneer and some instructions on making it. There have been other posts in the last couple of weeks about veneering and vacuum veneering.
Mark replied that he didn’t have the equipment to do the veneering. I told him that it could be done with items that he probably already has, and I think I shamed him into saying that he’d do it.
I sent him a private e-mail message that contained an address of some pictures on Flickr that I thought that he might like to consider. The address is here I must have had a brain freeze because in all of my communications with him and in starting to work on this blog I believed that there were 12 squares on a side instead of 8. So the measurements that I suggested are probably too small. A 2” square would make a board that is 16” X 16” without the apron. That is probably a normal size 2 ½” would make a 20” board on the playing surface.
So what to do. Get some veneers that could be used as the light squares and dark squares. They really don’t have to be white and black. Checker boards are Red and Black, but you don’t want something that confuses the players.
For my sample I selected Birds-Eye maple and Kingwood. I first trimmed off the edge of the Kingwood to get rid of the white edge.
My blog on veneering contained the tools that I use on cutting veneers. For this one I started using the chisel
But I found that the grain structure was waving back and forth across the cut line and I was getting chip outs on the edge. So I ended up using a veneer saw.
Trim off all of the one side so that you have a clean edge. Then sand the edge to make it straight and smooth
Then I cut the Birds-eye maple veneer, to the same width of the Kingwood.
In this case do as I say and not do as I do. Attach a stop block to your cutting board. My ruler was 2” wide and so you butt the veneer up to the stop block, Tape it down on the two edges to keep it from moving. Then you lay the ruler against the stop block so that when you cut, the veneer it is 2” wide, and as long as you need.
Cut 4 strips of dark veneer, and 5 strips of light veneer. Why you ask, I thought you’d never do it. I’ll show you in just a second. Lay the strips side by side, starting with the light strip
And continue until you have used all of your strips. Make sure that all of the strips have the grain in sequence from when it was cut
You will notice that the grain on the King wood is all the same, because these were 4 strips that were side-by-side in the flitch and I cut the same amount of wood off each of the strips. The birds’ eye maple has the same grain pattern on strips 1, 3 and 5 at the bottom. I was able to get 2 strips from each leaf of veneer. So strip 1 and 2 was from veneer leaf 1, and strip 3 & 4 was from veneer sheet 2, and strip 5 was from the 3rd veneer sheet. They are also lined up in the same position from top and bottom.
You now cut off one end, making sure that it is square.
Cutting across grain required a veneer saw, because a knife will cause the veneer to split.
Cut off a strip across all of the slices
I number the strip at the top with a 1 so that I can keep them in order.
You then cut all 8 strips.
They are all numbered from 1 to 8. You then turn them over
The next seven photos were destroyed. I turned off the camera before it finished storing the picture and the memory got corrupted. So I’ll simulate what I did, because at this point the sheet is all taped together as a full sheet.
Back with some more pictures.
You slide every other row to the right. Since you are looking at the back you want the white square to be on the lower left.
You then tape them in place. Taping every row.
You then turn it back over and put a run of tape down the cut rows.
You then peel off the dangling white squares. And turn it back over and take off the tape on the back
So you now have the taped board surface
So here is a picture of the completed surface for the full board and the redone ½ board
Remember at this time you are looking at the back so the white square is on the lower left. When you look at it on the taped side the white is on the lower right.
The next post will be attaching the aprons and gluing the chess surface to the substrate.
-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia email@example.com †