Chess has a mystical quality. So much so, that all kinds of people, including those who never play this time honoured board game will non-the-less go out and pay a lot of money just to have a unique set of chess pieces in their home. Chess sets are beautiful and the almost infinite variety of chess sets attests to their enduring character.
This short article can't tell you everything you need to know, that would require a book. I am just going to give you, what I hope is, the motivation, the basic requirements and desire to undertake your own unique chess set project.
Things to Know about Making Wooden Chess Pieces.
To begin, you are going to need a scroll saw for your chess pieces and, if you can obtain it, a mini lathe. Most of your equipment can be sourced from your local wood turning organisation. It's worth getting together with one of these organisations for the project. A wood working group is going to put you amongst experienced wood workers who will be willing to direct you in your project.
It's up to you what design you go for. Very few things beat a good Staunton Chess piece. However what is most important is that you decide, before you set sail, the design of the chess pieces you are wanting to design.
Uniformity in design and appearance is the key. A good place to start is a book I highly recommend entitled, "Wooden Chess Sets you can Make", by Diana L. Thompson. The book is easy to follow and has complete designs for 9 kinds of sets.
Making your Chess Board.
There are several options here, some more complicated than others. You can buy prepared inlaid wood. It's thin and when laid properly (like Linoleum), will not warp or crease over time.
Marquetry (small wooden squares, individually placed) is stunning, but something you might want to tackle after you have already prepared and created a few chess boards. Either way you go, you will need the tools above, plus a router.
The key here is again, uniformity. But you also need to determine at the outset the size of the chess squares. The size of the board is secondary. Your squares ought to be made to fit the chess pieces you have decided to make. As a general rule, the chess squares should allow for 5-10mm on all sides of the largest base (usually the base of the king). So, if the base width of your king is 4cm, you are going to want to create chess squares of 4.5-5.5cm.
The Wood for your Chess Board and Pieces.
There are material that will work and types of timber that won't. It's that simple. Wood that splinters easily (pine wood, pacific maple wood) are not going to endure as chess pieces. The usual woods are going to be Pallissandre, White Maple, Boxwood, Rosewood, Sheesham and Ebony. These are not cheap woods to buy but they are the only way to go.
The wood you select for the chess board can be any of the above plus wengue, maple, walnut and mahogany. You are best to source these woods from a reputable workshop or wood furniture craftsman.
Choosing a wooden chess set all depends on your taste of wood, the look you are hoping for, and your budget. In all of this we are only getting started. I recommend you buy an instruction book that is easy to understand. Learn the techniques, know your tools and then start your wood working adventure.
A chess set is something that should be creative and fun, as well as demanding. It should create an air of mystery about the marvellous game of chess. Many chess sets have been happily crafted using very fine and sometimes rare woods from ordinary folk. These are the chess sets that end up an admired and lasting possession for generations.
Written by David Trounce
David Trounce is the owner of Games From Everywhere and a lover of Original Wooden Chess Sets.
Article Source: Wooden Chess Set - Beginner Tips for Making Your Own