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Forum topic by lew posted 03-01-2015 12:50 AM 887 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View lew's profile


11263 posts in 3173 days

03-01-2015 12:50 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question chess board coordinates

I have been asked to make a chess board. That part is easy.

After designing the board, the customer wanted to add “coordinates” around the perimeter.

The board is approximately 20” square including a trim wrap. Does anyone have any ideas on how to do this? I thought maybe a premade inlay but haven’t been able to find one.

Any ideas, suggestions or sources will be greatly appreciated.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

15 replies so far

View dawsonbob's profile


1830 posts in 1173 days

#1 posted 03-01-2015 12:58 AM

What coordinates is he asking for: numerical coordinates, or cardinal points?

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View AandCstyle's profile


2535 posts in 1675 days

#2 posted 03-01-2015 12:59 AM

Lew, would something like wood burning tips work for you and your client?

-- Art

View waho6o9's profile


7115 posts in 1994 days

#3 posted 03-01-2015 01:51 AM

I like the wood burning idea ^

View Charles Maxwell's profile

Charles Maxwell

1080 posts in 3225 days

#4 posted 03-01-2015 02:07 AM

I would laser etch the coordinates. Easy to do.

-- Max the "night janitor" at

View MrUnix's profile


4022 posts in 1616 days

#5 posted 03-01-2015 02:29 AM

Something I’ve done in the past is to use some lettering/numbering punches, punch them in the wood, then fill the void with tinted epoxy or some other offsetting colored material. Once dried/hardened, sand flush. The ones at HF might work, but are a bit on the small side (3/8” high). Clamp a straight edge on the piece so they are all aligned correctly.


-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View hoss12992's profile


3809 posts in 1310 days

#6 posted 03-01-2015 03:27 AM

Lew, I think this is what you are looking for. I have done several of these, and I used rub on lettering from Hobby Lobby. You can get different sizes and styles to suit what the customer wants. Here is a couple of links that I think you will find helpful. Hope this helps

Chess board coordinate

Rub On Lettering

Another Chess Board coordinates

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View Druid's profile


1230 posts in 2213 days

#7 posted 03-01-2015 04:21 AM

Interesting project Lew,
First, I would suggest clarifying whether or not the customer wants the coordinates marked for both players to read easily from their respective positions as shown here . . .

. . . or is just one set of markings enough?

You should also make sure that A1 is the darker square, as shown at the bottom left, to comply with traditional setup of the game pieces. Laser marking is a good option, and some sign making companies can provide the option of laser cutting so that you could have them cut out the openings in one colour of veneer, and also cut out the matching insertion pieces from a contrasting veneer. Better yet, you could talk to Shipwright (Paul) for a quality hand made version.

Looking forward to seeing the final board.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View NormG's profile


5424 posts in 2421 days

#8 posted 03-01-2015 04:42 AM

Wow, a great number of ideas and the need for clarification. Good luck

-- Norman

View SPalm's profile


5249 posts in 3299 days

#9 posted 03-01-2015 12:16 PM

My first thought was rub on lettering.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Roger's profile


19706 posts in 2221 days

#10 posted 03-01-2015 01:29 PM

Wow! Some gr8 answers up above, and links to boot. This is another of the many reasons I luv LJ’s. I’m always learning with every click. Thnx guys n gals. :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View lew's profile


11263 posts in 3173 days

#11 posted 03-01-2015 04:19 PM

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

I’m not a chess player (or even checkers) so all of these ideas are helpful.

This is what I know so far-
The customer wants the letters/numbers on all 4 edges.
The customer is a friend and doesn’t want to spend a lot of money (probably leaves out laser work).
I like the wood burning idea- I’d have to use stencils because my hands aren’t as steady as they used to be.

I’ll pass along these ideas to him and see what he thinks.

Thanks again for all your help. I know I could count on LJ’s to come thru!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Druid's profile


1230 posts in 2213 days

#12 posted 03-01-2015 05:35 PM

Hi Lew,
I checked with our local sign company (equipped with a laser) and I was told that the laser cost is approximately $1 per minute. So, a surface burn would cost less compared to actually cutting out pieces. Wood burning sounds like an excellent option. I’ve seen one method where an inexpensive brass stencil was used, with a small torch flame, to burn through the stencil opening while keeping the stencil flat against the wood. Since each character was only used 2 times, at relatively low heat, the stencil did not distort. I think he did a bit of practice first. Depending on the stencil used, you would also have a bit of choice as to font style and size.
Just another thought to toss into the pot. Have fun with it.

-- John, British Columbia, Canada

View bandit571's profile


14049 posts in 2101 days

#13 posted 03-01-2015 05:56 PM

Like I had said:

Set of Letter/number stamps
insize deeply each letter and number. Numbers along the right-hand side so one player can read. Turn 180, and then do the other right side 1 through 8

Incise the letters ( Capital letters) along the edge closetest to the player. From L-R: R K B Q K B K R The outer two “K” can have a small “n” next to them. Spin the board 180, and make the letter stamps again.

Go to Hobby Lobby, buy a small jar/bottle of Gold paint, and a small brush. Fill each incised mark with the paint, and allow to dry. Buff flush with the surrounding wood, and add the finish.

Note: Metal Flake Gold paint might be a bit much????

KP to K4,,,,your move…

-- A Planer? I'M the planer, this is what I use

View lew's profile


11263 posts in 3173 days

#14 posted 03-02-2015 01:42 PM

Well, after all of this, he’s decided (for now) the coordinates are not necessary.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View AandCstyle's profile


2535 posts in 1675 days

#15 posted 03-03-2015 01:40 AM

Customers, ya gotta lov em an they are always right, but….... :D

-- Art

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