Step 6: Making Your Chess Pieces
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.