chess board and frame - lesson learned

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by Jim Sellers posted 03-13-2015 06:21 PM 1731 reads 2 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Sometimes I ask myself “what makes me want to take on such challenges?” I saw a picture of this chess set that someone had posted to a pinterest board and was so intrigued that I just had to figure out how to make it. I had no clue how it was made but I had my own idea how it could be done. Since it’s commercially available, I assume it was some manufactured item that came from China. Anyway by the end of the following day I had my maple and walnut stock ready to start milling and my jig set up. I’ll post a follow up blog on exactly how I did it but I’d like to hear from anyone who wishes to share their ideas, how you would do it. After I was about half way through cutting the con caved blocks I started thinking of other different ways that could have been easier. Could have used different tools and jigs. Ideas anyone? So after I had the board glued up (except for the frame) I had to decide what to do about the chess pieces. I had 32 pieces to turn and didn’t even own a lathe. Long story short, I found a cheap 60s era craftsman lathe on craiglist, brought it home and soon had my first experience at turning.

The main lesson I came here to preach about is how much wood moves and swells. After I had painstakingly mitered, fitted and glued the frame around the board I was pretty happy with it. Then I put a finish on it (shellac). Now I know that wood is gonna swell and shrink, I just didn’t know it would be so drastic and happen to me but the next day i discovered the miters had opened so much that I almost could’ve slid a dime in between. I think it might have been ok had I finished the board before gluing the frame.

So now I have the corners of the frame squared off and trying to decide on how to cap or put legs in place.
Finished project coming soon.

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

6 comments so far

View poospleasures's profile


542 posts in 1904 days

#1 posted 03-13-2015 11:45 PM

Looks like you are well on your way to a very nice save. Good thinking which I will remember since I have been there before but did not think to do this. Love the board but they sure do move. Voice of experience.

-- I,ve had amnesia for as long as I can remember. Vernon

View Heisinberg's profile


40 posts in 1019 days

#2 posted 03-14-2015 03:52 AM

Looks awesome! You could have tried using splines on the miteres to hold and stop them from splitting.

-- "I've still got things left to do." – Walter White

View Jim Sellers's profile

Jim Sellers

394 posts in 1754 days

#3 posted 03-14-2015 02:36 PM

Well, I should have known better. Since the board is end grained and was dry before I soaked it with shellac, it had to swell. I don’t think splines in the corners would have stopped it but I’m wondering what would have happened if I had.

-- J.C.Sellers, Norcross, Ga. Just cut it right the first time. The best carpenters make the fewest chips.

View sras's profile


4363 posts in 2549 days

#4 posted 03-14-2015 03:05 PM

Awesome board design! However that type of border around an end grain board will always fail. An end grain border will move with the board – or you need a way to allow the corners of your border to float.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Roger's profile


19711 posts in 2224 days

#5 posted 03-15-2015 12:11 AM

That’s some finely crafting and turning work and fun there JC. Wow! Too bad for the crack, but, at least it’s in a fixable place. The board is phenomenal!

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Lucio's profile


37 posts in 2034 days

#6 posted 04-11-2015 02:59 PM

Nice work Jim. Board has a tricky feel on the eyes. As for the movement perhaps you could put a 2mm medium density foam strip (similar to double sided mirror tape) around the complete edge of the board and have the chess board “floating” in the outer frame. hope that I have explained it clear enough>

-- Next to hunting I love woodwork best,,,,,or is that the other way around????

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics