Chess Board

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Project by JMB posted 02-18-2009 08:52 PM 2291 views 4 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This was my thesis project when I graduated from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 05. Since then it’s been beaten up some. My skills have improved so much since that time that I find the method of construction I used at the time almost childish. But, we all grow and learn. The playing surface itself is still quite viable. I intend to eventually build a lighter, less clunky apron and legs for the table, and much smaller chairs.

The table is about 4 feet square. The squares of the playing surface are yellow heart and paduk. The body of the table and chairs are a mixture of plywood, red oak veneer plywood, and solid red oak, depending on function construction and visibility. Ideally I’d like to work entirely in hardwoods all the time, but you have to cut corners somewhere or you end up spending a LOT of money you don’t have.

The playing pieces are all my own design and fabrication. Cast bronze. White side polished to a dull shine and sealed with wax. The black side patinated with liver of sulfur to a rich brownish black and sealed the same. Cork circles were glued to the base of each piece to protect the surface of the table from dings and scratches. Each piece is about the diameter of a can of pop and weighs between 5 and 7 lbs.

-- If I can't fix it, it wern't broke in the first place!

11 comments so far

View DaytonB's profile


154 posts in 4108 days

#1 posted 02-18-2009 09:24 PM

Welcome to LJ’s ! Very impressive work. I know where you are coming from on the live-and-learn stuff. Your work on the chess pieces is amazing, great design and execution. The chess board looks great and the Chairs and table are nice, too bulky for me but still well executed! Way to go buddy hope to see more of your work soon

View LocalMac's profile


281 posts in 3647 days

#2 posted 02-18-2009 09:25 PM

All the lines look very clean. This is a really interesting piece. I don’t think I’ve seen chairs built to match a chess table like this before. I like it. You’re right about cutting corners. One of my friends wanted to build a dresser completely out of solid cherry. I laughed and told him to price it out. He then decided that veneers and plywoods aren’t a bad way to go. I have another friend who just graduated from the AI of Chicago. What do you want to do in the field of arts?

-- Don't tell her I'm in the shop!

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3826 days

#3 posted 02-18-2009 09:27 PM

Now see this is interesting I love the design of the pieces and the workmanship and design of the table and chairs suits me very well good luck Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View JMB's profile


23 posts in 3666 days

#4 posted 02-18-2009 09:39 PM

LocalMac – Man, I’m doing it now! I have a shop, regular commissions and I get to work on my art when I have time. I sleep in when I want and I don’t have anyone telling me what to do or when to do it. All I need now is a windmill generator and a well and I can go completely off the grid. Life is good.

-- If I can't fix it, it wern't broke in the first place!

View firecaster's profile


574 posts in 3660 days

#5 posted 02-18-2009 10:10 PM

I love those chess pieces.

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

View Bob Areddy's profile

Bob Areddy

193 posts in 3643 days

#6 posted 02-18-2009 10:25 PM

Cool… why no finish?

-- --Bob

View CharlieM1958's profile


16281 posts in 4460 days

#7 posted 02-18-2009 10:42 PM

Quite an accomplishment!

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View JMB's profile


23 posts in 3666 days

#8 posted 02-18-2009 10:53 PM

rareddy – At the time I chose a natural rubbed in wax to protect the surface. Nowadays I just use satin lacquer. Much Faster!

-- If I can't fix it, it wern't broke in the first place!

View savannah505's profile


1826 posts in 3827 days

#9 posted 02-19-2009 01:00 AM

Thats great work, the playing pieces are excellent.

-- Dan Wiggins

View Rotceh's profile


231 posts in 3689 days

#10 posted 02-19-2009 11:01 AM

great work, and great game.

-- Work is my road to knowledge,Curiosity is my fellow traveler. El trabajo es mi camino al conocimiento, la curiosidad es mi compañero de viaje. Héctor

View Tom "BUG" Janos's profile

Tom "BUG" Janos

368 posts in 3721 days

#11 posted 02-26-2009 06:27 AM

very nice chess set. And the bonus is you get a workout lifting those pieces lol. Nice

-- Bug from Minnesota. Creating Designer Firewood Since 2006

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