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Forum topic by dead posted 04-28-2017 11:30 PM 487 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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dead

4 posts in 251 days


04-28-2017 11:30 PM

Topic tags/keywords: chess wood movement wenge

So I started making a chess board a few years ago. I used wenge from rockler and curly maple that was reclaimed from a skating rink floor. Beautiful wood, originally milled 60+ years ago. I milled to about 3/4” thick, ripped, glued, crosscut, and reglued. I sat idle on the project for about 18 months because I had a hard time finding someone with a planer or drum sander. I finally got everything leveled and smoothed out and again took a break while trying to figure out how I wanted to case it out and frame it etc. Fast forward 2 more years and it’s been sitting on the back burner. I’ve started becoming more interested in the finer side of woodworking and read an article about using veneers instead of solid woods due to wood expansion. There in lies my dilemma, I’ve already built the darn thing. The Wenge has expanded more than the maple and the edges are no longer straight. How do I build this into a framed case so I can put the pieces below etc.? How do I allow for future movement? Is it to late?


7 replies so far

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Rrrandy

212 posts in 316 days


#1 posted 04-29-2017 12:57 AM

Start over…

-- Y'all need to locate a sense of humor. Borrow one if you can't find yours...

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dead

4 posts in 251 days


#2 posted 04-29-2017 01:01 AM

I’ve thought about slicing it up and milling it down to mak two smaller boards. Not sure how thick the veneers should be though.

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

1274 posts in 757 days


#3 posted 04-29-2017 02:04 PM

dead,

Perhaps the chess board can be salvaged. I presume from your description that the maple has expanded or shrunk more than the wenge leaving some waviness in the field of the board (the seams where rows of squares meet) as well as along the perimeter edges.

Squaring up the perimeter edges is straightforward. The waviness in the field could be dealt with by introducing a shallow V groove between each square. The V groove would tend to conceal the waviness and should not interfere much, if at all, while playing a game of chess; if the V grooves are not too deep.

The V grooves could be made with a careful setup and routing with a V Groove router bit. Here is one web site where these V Groove bits can be found.

https://www.craftsman.com/products/power-tools/power-tool-accessories/router-bits?utf8=%E2%9C%93&per_page=&search%5BRouter+Bit+Type%5D%5B%5D=Chamfered&search%5BRouter+Bit+Type%5D%5B%5D=Specialty

The chess board could be overlaid on the box that forms the base. It could be hinged at the back of the box with a piano hinge, barrel hinges, or whatever style you prefer. The overlay would allow the chess board to move as it will without affecting the storage box below.

Alternatively, a tongue could be milled into chess board side edges. The tongue would then slide in grooves milled along the top edge of the box sides. But sufficient space would be required to accommodate expansion and the tongues long enough to keep the tongues engaged in the grooves if shrinkage occurs.

Wood movement should be greatly reduced once several coats of a film finish are applied to the project.

If this project were re-done with solid wood, selecting two contrasting woods that offer similar radial and tangential rates of shrinkage, ensuring the woods are full acclimated to the shop environment, and then applying finish as soon as practical should reduce the problems you now see with this project.

Since I have no experience with veneers, I will not add any more confusion than I already have.

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dead

4 posts in 251 days


#4 posted 04-29-2017 05:16 PM

Jbrow that gives me some good ideas. The board and seams are still flat and true it’s just the edges showing movement so far (you’re right that’s an easy fix). My main concern was framing it and then having more movement that either bust out of the frame or buckles in the middle. Your tongue and groove method gave me an idea. I believe if I cut a dado into the boards that I frame it with that would allow for grain movement. If I affix the center of the chessboard to a substrate that will keep the board from sliding back and forth. Does that theory hold water, or any other suggestions?

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patcollins

1605 posts in 2702 days


#5 posted 04-29-2017 08:08 PM

Make the frame have a groove all the way around and the chessboard to float in this groove, put spaceballs in it like a raised panel cabinet door.

View JBrow's profile

JBrow

1274 posts in 757 days


#6 posted 04-29-2017 08:49 PM

dead,

The only potential issue with attaching the chess board to a substrate is eliminating the ability of the underside of the chess board from breathing. This could lead to cupping. I recall a panel glue-up I did a while ago where after I flushed up the panel, it laid flat on the workbench. A day or two later the panel cupped I believe due to the differential rate of moisture exchange with the air between the upper surface and the lower surface. While this example was a panel with no applied finish, moisture will still move through a finish, just at a reduced rate.

patcollins’ idea could reduce the likelihood of cupping associated with the substrate, but if executed as he described it would leave the chess board locked in place. The base would then need a drawer to access whatever is stored below the chess board. Alternatively, if only three sides of the base are grooved and the width (i.e. height) of the fourth side reduced, the chess board could slide open and closed in the grooves. A small rare earth magnet could act as a catch to keep the chess board from inadvertently sliding open.

One other potential issue comes to mind. I can see that if a tongue is milled into the perimeter edges of the chess board, the squares around the perimeter may be reduced in size making the board look a little odd. If this is a problem, then a groove could be milled into the edges of the board. Spline could be glued into the grooves of the base. The portion of the spline that projects out from the edges of the sides of the base would mate with the grooves cut into the chess board, acting like miniature drawer slides.

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dead

4 posts in 251 days


#7 posted 04-29-2017 09:28 PM

Awesome feedback guys! I am planning on utilizing a drawer underneath. I may try the spaceballs and keeping the surrounding lip to 1/8”. I appreciate all the responses, keep them coming. I may end up trying several different methods. Obviously I’m in no hurry to complete this. Maybe my wife will let me take a break from her honey-do list.

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