Two Chess Boards

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Project by Arookar posted 06-18-2012 05:26 AM 2080 views 4 times favorited 6 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My grandson started playing chess with me on my iPad and then abruptly told me I needed a “real” chess set. (He’s five.) Since he plays chess with his dad, whose birthday is tomorrow, I thought- I’ll make TWO chessboards. (Got the men on ebay from India….)
I made it the standard way for making a cutting board- glue strips. saw across and then glue strips again. The board is 1/2” thick. If I had it to do over I’d make it thicker….at least 5/8” ...maybe even 3/4” and learn. It seems sturdy enough if it doesn’t ever get dropped…. ;)
The dark squares are some teak that I got at a reclaimed lumber yard (they were actually selling it as firewood). The white squares are from some pallet wood I reclaimed myself last summer- have no idea what kind of wood it is… my woodworking teacher thought it might be lauan or Phillipine Mahogany- whatever that is. The “frame” around both boards is some leftover teak.
I made one box out of some Chinquapin I had left over from my breakfast bar project (still in progress) and I love the look of this wood (the last 3 pics)! It already looks antique! The other box is made out of that same wood I used for the white squares (the first 3 pics). It has some nice figure in it, but it is not as interesting as the Chinquapin IMHO. The “white mahogany” box has a brush on lacquer (high gloss) over Danish Oil. The Chinquapin box is wipe-on poly (satin) over Danish Oil.
I made the box joints proud- I like that look. I carved the box joints, the groove for the bottom (red oak plywood) and the rabbet for the tops all by hand. With chisels. Very relaxing.
Am now in the market for a rabbet or shoulder plane. ;)

Update: I discovered the “mystery” pallet would is probably Ohio Buckeye- which suits me fine as my family hails from Northwestern Ohio!.

-- The only gift is a portion of thyself. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

6 comments so far

View majuvla's profile


13376 posts in 3070 days

#1 posted 06-18-2012 05:51 AM

Verry nice present for your grandson.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View Boxguy's profile


2763 posts in 2470 days

#2 posted 06-18-2012 08:55 AM

I like the overall look of your chess board. Thoughtful project to build. There is a nice contrast in the woods you used…whatever woods they are. The extended box joints do look classy. From your home page…your moon cradle and spool holder were fun ideas.

Even a thin backer board of veneer or plywood would strengthen your board far more than making it thicker. (Home Depot sells “skins” for repairing doors that might serve as thin backers.) You might consider sewing cloth bags for the chessmen. One for the white pieces and one for the black pieces. It will keep them from rattling around inside the rather large space and getting chipped up, and you won’t have to pour or scoop them out each time you start playing. You just reach in and get a bag. Sounds like you might have to work on your chess game too with such a sharp grandson. Thanks for sharing.

-- Big Al in IN

View Ramesh Balara's profile

Ramesh Balara

44 posts in 2371 days

#3 posted 06-18-2012 10:35 AM

these chess board is common style in India.. but this modification made it a new style with good and decent craftmanship…
to make more strong u can use two small planks of size 3 inches or 7.5 cm width and approx 1 inch thick or around 2 cm thick with the leght equal to the diagonal size of board and stick it ( no nails) at bottom of chess board …in x or cross style…or + style . it will give the bottom enough strength…

By the way nice work and craft

-- Ramesh Balara

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3069 days

#4 posted 06-18-2012 12:44 PM

Nice work. Now he’ll enjoy playing with you all the more.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Arookar's profile


83 posts in 2605 days

#5 posted 06-18-2012 03:17 PM

@Big Al- I actually thought about a plywood backer board…wasn’t sure glueing plywood to solid wood would work seasonal movement-wise…. So, My original plan included a frame of teak wherein the plywood and the chessboard would float … It turned out to be a little too unwieldy so I opted to leave the boards as-is and use the teak frames for … I don’t know … Mirrors? My better half suggested the same idea of cloth bags…. I think that’s what I will be doing today ;)
@Ramesh- that’s a very interesting idea I hadn’t thought of before….I may try it next time.

-- The only gift is a portion of thyself. -Ralph Waldo Emerson, writer and philosopher (1803-1882)

View Ramesh Balara's profile

Ramesh Balara

44 posts in 2371 days

#6 posted 06-18-2012 05:55 PM

plywood can be glued with solid wood it always depends on glue quality if it is have good bonding then no problem

but if i have to make using ply then i will use solid wood as frame and ply as middle panel. which makes the product strong enough. mostly solid wood have the problem of seasons but if glued properly only cracks will be shown on solid wood but join will not open.

-- Ramesh Balara

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