Step 6: Making Your Chess Pieces

You can do this one of two ways: either on the bandsaw or on the lathe. I chose to do so on the lathe.

Take your pieces of 1/2 square cherry or ash and put it on the lathe. For the most part, you just have to cut it by eye, however I have provided drawings for what your pieces should look like and their dimensions. 

Start rounding your block on a low speed with the crescent-moon shaped tool. One it is rounded out, (Having removed only enough material to make it round), switch to a higher speed and start cutting and shaping with some of your different tools. I would recommend using the small crescent-moon tool for the curves on pawns, bishops, queens and kings, and the straight tool for tapering down the body on any pieces. An angled straight tool can be used to make the rounded nubs on the tops of pieces. 

Knights can be done only on the bandsaw. Do not attempt them on the lathe, it won't work. Add the fine details like eyes and mouth using a dremel or other such shaping tool. 

Once the shaping on the lathe has been done, get some fine grit sand paper and sand the surface on the higher speed. 

Stain all of your cherry pieces once they are done.

Clear coat all of the pieces.

<p>Not trying to troll, but it's surprising how many chessboards are not set up properly. Please google and show us the right way.</p>
<p>Dude, you have violated one of the major laws of woodworking and have not allowed for wood movement due to moisture. Your hardwood cherry/ash board is going to expand and contract perpendicular to the grain, while your plywood base and cedar frame will not. In a couple years of moisture changing with the seasons (unless you live someplace tropical without seasons and changing humidity) your board is going to self destruct, or at the very least develop some serious cracks. You can glue veneer (very thin wood) to plywood without failure because it is so thin that expansion/contraction driver of the moisture is held in check by the glue bond. But 3/4&quot; thick stock is another matter. The wood expansion and contraction will happen, and it will overcome the glue bonds, separating from the plywood and probably busting apart the frame where you glued wood grains perpendicular to each other. I strongly do not recommend that anyone else follow this instructable if they want an heirloom piece that will last. </p>
<p>I agree with SlickSqueegie here. Im sorry, but I do not believe that the board will self destruct. I have done my research on how boards were traditionally made, as well as working under a carpenter who has been in the trade for 50+ years so as to seek guidance regarding the construction. I also have a neighbour who made a board in a similar fashion, which has survived 30 years. I have confidence in the examples I have provided. I am not a person who rushes to conclusions or rushes into projects. </p>
<p>Campgrover, Chessboards have been made like this for centuries.... I don't understand why you feel so strongly that these type boards will fail? I know all about seasonal wood movement and believe it or not these won't fail... Do a google image search for &quot;solid wood chess or checkerboard&quot; you will find many many of these built the same way... </p>
The king and the queen look way too much alike and could be the cause for errors. This is only my opinion of course. There should at least be a cross on the top of the head of the king.
<p>Set up the board with the a white square in the right hand corner!</p>
<p>so cool!</p>
<p>Looks beautiful. Simple designed, I would totally rock it in my living room coffee table to play with my buds. :)</p>
<p>Nice job!</p>

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