Custom Chess Set, Board and Case no 2

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Project by Alan Young posted 07-26-2011 05:08 PM 3719 views 7 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

When I was in my early 20’s I turned several steel chess sets on a lathe in my Dad’s shop. In the spring of 2011, I buffed up the chess sets and refinished them in enamel, then made a new chess board with storage case for each set. I gave these as graduation presents to my my two sons who each each graduated from college. This is the set for my oldest son -O’Neill. Who graduated last spring in Culinary Arts. I didn’t finish this in time for the graduation but he is finishing up work on a house he bought and we’ll have a house warming party later this week. So it’s now a house warming gift too.

The finish is oil and shellac except for the playing surface where I used a two-part epoxy “Mirror Coat”...

The board is maple and walnut veneer over BB ply. In my haste to finish I realized too late that the veneers were not of equal thickness. There is a slight level difference between the two color squares. So my remedy was to flood a layer of the epoxy over the playing surface-the boarder keep the epoxy from leaving the playing surface….

The case is made from an Ash tree from the yard where I grew up in rural Grand Forks, North Dakota. The drawer fronts and the bottom trim are Walnut, and the top border is Maple and Walnut. I made the handles from brass stock.

Each set can reside in it’s own compartmentalized drawer.

You can see a similar set with board and case that I finished earlier this spring at the link here.


15 comments so far

View BarbS's profile


2434 posts in 4107 days

#1 posted 07-26-2011 05:28 PM

Wow Alan. just… Wow. The epoxy was a great idea to fix the different levels. It look very very good. Your kids will all be stunned with these. Nice work, again!


View fernandoindia's profile


1081 posts in 2966 days

#2 posted 07-26-2011 05:54 PM

Alan, Gorgeous piece.
Congratulations to O´Neil on his graduation.

The board looks impressive. That is a wonderful present.

Both O´Neil and Spencer will be proud and will treasure such presents.

-- Back home. Fernando

View Michael Parrish's profile

Michael Parrish

125 posts in 2881 days

#3 posted 07-26-2011 06:18 PM

Hey where is mine? My graduation was 7 years ago :). Great job on the set, it makes a great graduation/housewarming present.

View DamnYankee's profile


3301 posts in 2584 days

#4 posted 07-26-2011 07:25 PM

Thanks for the detailed discussion and photos. Nice work.

-- Shameless - Winner of two Stumpy Nubs Awards

View Diggerjacks's profile


2252 posts in 3161 days

#5 posted 07-26-2011 07:38 PM

Hello Alan

You have done a fantastic and wonderful work

I want to make my piece with my lathe and your project inspire me

Thanks for sharing

-- Diggerjack-France ---The only limit is the limit of the mind and the mind has no limit

View Jorge Velez's profile

Jorge Velez

356 posts in 2608 days

#6 posted 07-26-2011 07:43 PM

Wow, this is a beauty! congrats for the graduation and I’m sure they will enjoy the set their life time!

-- Jorge Velez, Guadalajara, Mexico.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16275 posts in 4240 days

#7 posted 07-26-2011 07:55 PM

Outstanding! Nice photography as well.

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

View Kenns's profile


155 posts in 2613 days

#8 posted 07-26-2011 07:55 PM

Very, very nice. Thanks for sharing.

-- Then, Than, Their, There, They're, To, Too, Two.....Pine, Maple, Walnut....We need to know the difference.....

View degoose's profile


7234 posts in 3377 days

#9 posted 07-26-2011 09:41 PM


-- Don't drink and use power tools @

View AkBob's profile


201 posts in 2569 days

#10 posted 07-27-2011 12:31 AM

Wow! Thanks for sharing.

View Tim Kindrick's profile

Tim Kindrick

369 posts in 2576 days

#11 posted 07-27-2011 01:08 AM

I agree with Charlie, the photography is first class and the chess set isn’t bad either.

-- I have metal in my neck but wood in my blood!!

View acducey's profile


65 posts in 2527 days

#12 posted 07-27-2011 05:06 AM

If you play chess half as well as you build boards I don’t think I will challenge you to a game!
Nice job!

View Ollie's profile


146 posts in 3297 days

#13 posted 07-27-2011 01:36 PM

Just awesome.

-- Ollie, UK.

View Alan Young's profile

Alan Young

137 posts in 3742 days

#14 posted 07-27-2011 08:16 PM

I appreciate all the complementary words. Thanks everyone

View Ken90712's profile


17563 posts in 3211 days

#15 posted 07-28-2011 11:42 AM

Great work on this , very nice post.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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