Difficult glue up question- chessboard

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Forum topic by tealetm posted 10-02-2016 11:15 PM 189 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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57 posts in 280 days

10-02-2016 11:15 PM

So I’m in gift making mode for family members and my sister wants a chessboard. I said sure, thinking if cant be much different than the end grain cutting boards I’ve been making. To fast forward… I’ve chosen a plan that quite a bit more difficult than I planned on and could use some help.

The plans call for individual squares to be joined with dowels to mitigate wood movement issues. This board is then set in a frame which sets on top of a base with drawers. Sounds good in theory, I’ll try it.

Despite using jigs to cut all the pieces to the same size, chamfering each edge of each piece and then drilling the 2, 3, or four holes in each piece there is a bit of variation in dimensions which caused some headaches during glue up.

I have it all glued and set and it’s not too bad. A few gaps here and there caused by dowel locations not being 100% matching piece to piece but the end result was better than I thought it would be.

I endeded up man handling the piece during assembly and some of the glue joint at the dowels didn’t take. The result is a decent board, but I’d like to reinforce it a bit do to some lose joints.

Since the underside is hidden, does anybody have any suggestions? If wood expansion wasn’t an issue I’d just glue it all to a piece of think plywood and call it a day… but that’s not an option.


4 replies so far

View MadMark's profile


970 posts in 875 days

#1 posted 10-02-2016 11:39 PM

There is a trick.

Rip even 9 contrasting strips and glue alternately into stripes.

Without adjusting the saw crosscut into stripes of squares.

Reverse every other strip & reglue. Perform final trim on full board.

No dowels needed (boy that must have been really hard to do?!)


-- Madmark -

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1261 posts in 1279 days

#2 posted 10-02-2016 11:42 PM

If all the grain is the same direction then using some regular wood in the same direction would work just fine. You could glue some boards together and then attach the top. I would take the time to do that and make it a gaming board also with a base and border. Or you could just make a base for it that it would sit in and be supported.

View tealetm's profile


57 posts in 280 days

#3 posted 10-03-2016 12:39 AM

Madmark- I probably should have clarified the design first. Your solution is the easiest method but I’m not sure it would have worked with such thin pieces plus 1/2 the joints would be glued up end grain.

So here’s the plan I’m working from. It shows three supports for the board to sit in plus the small perimeter shelf- I’m not sure if that would be sufficient enough. The plans don’t show how to attach the board to the strips either- thoughts on that?

View Ub1chris's profile


79 posts in 802 days

#4 posted 10-03-2016 03:33 AM

I made a checkers board just like Mark last year. Under an hour not including glue dry time. Yes half he joints are glued end grain and it is thin (about 5/8”) but it’s survived a year with my 3 kids so I’m happy with it. I’m not sure why you feel the need to reinforce. Isn’t that why you used 100+ dowels?

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