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Forum topic by ghazard posted 12-30-2009 04:24 PM 1468 views 1 time favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ghazard

382 posts in 2971 days


12-30-2009 04:24 PM

Topic tags/keywords: chess squares

I am planning a chess board. A bit of a different design, though I doubt i’m the first one to try it.

The design will pose a number of challenges…but that is the fun part, right? As you can see in the rendering below, the squares sit on top of a base and are separated from each other…in this rendering by 1/8”. The squares are 1.5”.

I think I have the main issue, how to position the blocks, solved…or at least in my head I do. I’ll make an aluminum “X” out of 1/8” square stock…being careful to make the intersection exactly 90deg. After the first block is oriented by hand, I’ll lay the “X” against the first block and I should be able to index the three adjacent blocks…then repeat. Easy. Well…I’m sure it won’t be that easy but that is the plan anyway.

As I mull this over in my head the thing that really concerns me is my ability to make the blocks. I’m guessing about .5 thick. Maple and Cherry. So the question I am tackling now is what method to use to safely make the blocks. I have a router table, miter saw, table saw (no sled), jig saw. No band saw…though I’m not against buying a small one before I start this project. (That will just take some time to get my wife on board with since Christmas just passed!)

My first thought was to make up a template square then tape it to rough-cut blanks and use a flush trim router bit. The aluminum “X” guide idea will only work if the blocks are consistant…that is what brought me to the template square.

Other ideas or thoughts?

I’m thinking Paduk for the base…one solid piece maybe 3/4 thick. Good idea or bad? will it warp?

Thanks in advance for the input.

Have a safe New Year.

Greg

-- "Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"


13 replies so far

View Karson's profile

Karson

35035 posts in 3862 days


#1 posted 12-30-2009 04:45 PM

You can buy small plastic pieces at Home Depot and Lowes that are used to keep tiles the same distance apart as you glue them down. The make them in two different spacing widths.

Another interesting possibility is the glue all of the blocks where they are touching and then run a saw blade set to the correct depth where it will cut through the blocks but not the base materials. Kind of like a dado cut. You wouldn’t want any sideburning on your blocks. That would leave all of your corners perfectly matched.

If the blocks were a little bit thinner you could do the cutting of the spaces with a carbide up cut router bit on a router table, using a 1/8” router bit.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

View bill1352's profile

bill1352

130 posts in 2583 days


#2 posted 12-30-2009 04:50 PM

you can get 1/8th” ceramic tile spacers. you could have 1 at each corner for about $5. use the aluminum as a straight edge for each row.

-- Keep Your Stick On The Ice

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Karson

35035 posts in 3862 days


#3 posted 12-30-2009 04:55 PM

To make the squares, first rip all of them to the same width so that gets all blocks the same dimention on one side.

I’d then use a miter gauge that I trust and do a bunch of cross cutting. Use a block on your fence to comtrol the width. Make sure that you have a lot of space between the blade and the fence for your cutoff pieces to sit while you are cutting. You don’t wnat any flying pieces.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

View LONGHAIR's profile

LONGHAIR

94 posts in 3276 days


#4 posted 12-30-2009 05:06 PM

I’m not so sure about the X thing. This is essentially a “tile job” and I would attack it in the same way. Lay the first row along a straight-edge of some kind and use spacers between them. Assuming that you are not in a race, let them dry a while and move to the second row.

As far as cutting the pieces, be sure to rip the strips so that they are all equal in width. Then it’s as simple as cross cutting them with your mitersaw. Use a platform of some kind (plywood, MDF) to make for true zero clerence cuts and a “stop” to make them all the same length.

The platform may also be a bit of a challenge too. To be over 12” wide, it will have to be glued-up from narrower strips. Try to get the wood as close to “quartersawn” as you can. Be careful with the alignment when you glue it up. It may still have a tendency to warp because of the blocks being glued to only one side. It may only be seasonal with the humidity though. Some small feet on the bottom may help with “disguising” that.
It would be more stable on MDF or some other substrate. You could edge-band it with the Paduk or even veneer it if the gaps are wide enough for it to be noticable.

View ghazard's profile

ghazard

382 posts in 2971 days


#5 posted 12-30-2009 05:07 PM

Karson, I can rip and joint to the correct size in one direction just fine on my table saw. Since I don’t have a sled, cross cutting accuratly with my table saw is tough. I could do the cross cutting on the miter saw though…right? What type of blade? The blade in the my miter saw is the OEM blade and cuts pretty rough where the teeth exit the wood. So I need a blade that will give a nice edge.

Thanks,

Greg

-- "Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

View ghazard's profile

ghazard

382 posts in 2971 days


#6 posted 12-30-2009 05:13 PM

Longhair, great idea on the zero clearance platform for the miter saw.

So you think a solid paudk piece that size will cause issues? what if I ripped the paduk and made an edge grain “cuttingboard” from it and used that as the base? Or am I better off with 3 or 4 boards glued on the edge grain to make the base?

Thanks,

Greg

-- "Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

View ghazard's profile

ghazard

382 posts in 2971 days


#7 posted 12-30-2009 05:19 PM

This may be a silly suggestion…what if I rip the single big paduk board into three or four sections and then just glue it back together. Will that do anything for me?

-- "Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

16241 posts in 3679 days


#8 posted 12-30-2009 05:24 PM

Have you given any thought to how you are going to finish it?

This is going to be a real challenge to get all those squares milled and glue down perfectly square. I can’t wait to see the final result.

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

View ghazard's profile

ghazard

382 posts in 2971 days


#9 posted 12-30-2009 05:48 PM

Ahh…finishing. I had thought about finishing the top side of the base before installation of the squares…with the surface where the squares will be placed taped off and not finished. But it occurred to me that might hold the squares away from the unfinished surface of the base and not permit a tite bond. (excuse the pun)

So, my current theory is to assemble the entire thing unfinished. Then…ready for it?...flip it over and dip it into the finish all the way up to the base. Then pull it out and wipe away the excess from the spaces in between. Do that multiple times to build up a finish. Then do some final finishing on the top side of the squares in a normal way to achieve a nice surface. My thought is that an imperfect finish in the spaces in between will not be that visible and so can be a little less precise. What do you think?

-- "Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1510 posts in 3586 days


#10 posted 12-30-2009 07:19 PM

Hmmm… I’m liking Karson’s idea of gluing the whole thing up like a cutting board, and then cutting the grooves later.

Hear me out:

1. Rip strips of maple and cherry on your table saw. Joint the sides of those strips with a split fence on your router table (you can do this with two clamps, two smooth pieces of wood, and thin sheet of cardboard). Glue them together into an alternating light-dark plank.

2. Using the same setup on the table saw, cut ‘em the opposite way. Joint on router table. Glue up in checkerboard pattern. You now have a checkerboard cutting board.

3. Glue the whole thing to your base (others have commented, I think you’ll be mostly okay because when you’re done you’ll have gaps in between).

4. Put a 1/8” straight bit in your router table, and gently cut the gaps. If you saved some extra strips from step #1 you can even use those for indexing the fence.

I think that gets all the cuts you wanted with the tools you’ve got.

Finishing-wise, I’d be using a Q-tip, but I’m not much of a finisher.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/User:DanLyke

View Karson's profile

Karson

35035 posts in 3862 days


#11 posted 12-31-2009 02:25 AM

Greg: You can make a sliding table for your table saw very easily.

1. Cut a strip of wood that slides in the slot in your table and is a little thinner that the slot is deep.
2. put a couple of washers in the slot so the board is up higher than the table saw surface.
3. Put some double faced tape on the slider bar, and put it in the left hand slot of your table saw.
4. Put your fence about 5” on the other side of the blade Right of the blade.
5. Put a piece of MDF, Plywood up against your fence and on top of the double faced tape.
6. Using at least 3 flat head screws screw the track to your sled surface (Mdf or Plywood) Make sure the screws are at least below the surface of the board. You don’t want them to scratch the table saw as it slides back and forth.
7. Raise your blade and cut partway through your sliding table Maybe 1/2 from the front to the back.
8. Get another board that you want as your back fence. Maybe a couple of inches high. Put double faced tape on the botton edge.
9. Put a square up against the raised blade and align the back fence square to the square. Stick it down.
10. get a practice board and cut it to check square If not realign the rear fence. If it’s OK then put a couple of screws into the base into your fence and make sure they are also belows the surface. You don’t want to scratch the table surface.

You should now have a 90 sliding fence that has table surface on both sides of the blade.

When you clamp a stop on your rear fence you should be able to control the stock width of your block.

I made one very similiar to that for my bandsaw.

Click for details

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia karsonwm@gmail.com †

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1511 posts in 3026 days


#12 posted 01-05-2010 07:11 PM

Karson and Van Dyke have it, make all the blocks a little bigger the cut your grooves. I would use the table saw.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View ghazard's profile

ghazard

382 posts in 2971 days


#13 posted 03-07-2010 11:00 PM

Hi all, Well…I’ve started this project. Thanks for all the suggestions. I ended up making the squares individually by ripping strips then crosscutting with my miter saw. It actually worked very well and to my surprise I was able to keep the blocks to within about .004” (.1mm) of each other in both directions.

Here are the blocks laid out by hand on the paduk base.

Now, I’m in trouble. I should have reread this thread before I started. Had I done that I would have remembered the comment about the paduk base needing to be made from strips to keep it from warping. Below is one day after the one-piece board was planed perfectly flat.

Now what? Rip it into strips and glue back together with alternating grain? How few strips can I get away with, I can’t afford to lose too much material to kerf or it will not be large enough? I could laminate in some cherry and maple to take up the slack…though I really want a full paduk base.

Plane it down thinner? will that help it not to warp?

Any direction or suggestions needed…and appreciated.

Thanks,

Greg

-- "Hey, you dang woodchucks! Quit chuckin' my wood!"

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