Mission Style Chessboard

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Project by handplane posted 2482 days ago 2085 views 4 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a chessboard I made as a gift for my father who is a golf fanatic. The chessboard is made of quilted maple and claro walnut. The frame is quartersawn white oak. The finish is tung oil with polyurethane topcoat.

The chesspieces are called the “History of Golf” chess pieces from Studio Anne Carlton.

Getting the polyurethane finish on this glossy smooth and free of air bubbles just might have been the most frustrating experience of my life. I am saving my money for an HVLP sprayer so I never have to brush on poly again!

-- - Scott "handplane"

13 comments so far

View TomFran's profile


2942 posts in 2619 days

#1 posted 2482 days ago

Absolutely beautiful! And, the finish turned out great.

Did you use foam brushes or bristle type to apply the poly?

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 2530 days

#2 posted 2482 days ago

I like that board alot, very pretty.


View Bill Cowan's profile

Bill Cowan

110 posts in 2730 days

#3 posted 2482 days ago

Great chess board. I also finshed the ones that David Marks designed. These look great. thanks for sharing.

-- ICN, Bill, (

View handplane's profile


35 posts in 2485 days

#4 posted 2481 days ago

Thanks Tom,

My experience with foam brushes is that they cause lots of air bubbles so I used a natural bristle brush and had thinned the poly about 50% with mineral spirits. Then I basically put on a good wet coat and went around making sure that I popped any air bubbles I did see. Then I left it alone and hoped for the best while it dried. I did this board in December and it worked. I tried the same technique in July (when it was humid) for the Firefighter chessboard with nothing but miserable results. It just would not dry without bubbles in the finish. So I sanded it all off and switched to aerosol lacquer to get it glossy. The fumes were nasty but the end result was great.

-- - Scott "handplane"

View Karson's profile


34869 posts in 3025 days

#5 posted 2481 days ago

That is a great looking board.

Nice job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware †

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2531 posts in 2582 days

#6 posted 2481 days ago

Another amazing piece! I like the frame on this more than the mitered blood wood in your other chess board.


View HandsOgold's profile


95 posts in 2628 days

#7 posted 2478 days ago

Im a “chessboard” man myself. They make great gifts. They are large and “showy” and the recipient almost “HAS” to display, (lol). Perhaps you might give a try to WIPE-on polys and gel forms of urethanes. They dont provide as glossy a finish , but bubbles are not a problem.

-- Dan

View toyguy's profile


1358 posts in 2462 days

#8 posted 2428 days ago

I really like the board and the “History of Golf” chess pieces are great…...

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View mot's profile


4911 posts in 2661 days

#9 posted 2428 days ago

A very nice piece!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View CoolDavion's profile


384 posts in 2449 days

#10 posted 2427 days ago

I did not realize that a chessboard could be made in a style.
Are the through tennons real ?

-- Do or do not, there is no try!

View handplane's profile


35 posts in 2485 days

#11 posted 2426 days ago

Well, I suppose the chessboard itself isn’t in any style, but the frame can be called mission style. As for whether or not the through tenons are real, I guess it depends on how much of a purist you are. The tenons are real, there are no screws or any other metal fasteners in this project. The tenons are however, loose tenons. I had a Christmas deadline to meet and didn’t want to encounter any problems that might cause me to miss it. I’ve done the true through tenons on other mission style things before and it can be quite tricky to get them to work out well.

-- - Scott "handplane"

View Chessnut's profile


23 posts in 2389 days

#12 posted 2381 days ago

I was wondering if the quilted maple and claro walnut solid right thru and if not how thick?

-- Mike, Airdrie Alberta

View handplane's profile


35 posts in 2485 days

#13 posted 2379 days ago


Both woods are solid, 1/2 inch thick, resawn from 12/4 and 16/4 air dried pieces I had at home for a couple of years. I cut them 5/8” thick and then left them to further acclimate for several months (because that’s how long it took me to get around to working on it, not because I had some genius master plan to deal with wood movement). After I checked to see they all had uniform moisture content with a moisture meter I jointed, planed, and sanded them to final thickness with a drum sander. The quilted maple wanted to explode whenever touched with a blade.

-- - Scott "handplane"

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