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.