Picture of Interlocking Chess/Checker Board Puzzle
Hey everybody!

Do you like board games?  How about wooden puzzles?  Yeah?  Then I have the perfect instructable for you!

This goal of this project was to design a chess board which is composed of several interlocking wooden pieces.  In this case, a picture is worth a thousand words, so please check out the pics to see exactly what I mean.  Then we can get started!

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Step 1: Materials and Equipment

Picture of Materials and Equipment
For this project, you will need:

Wood* - 16' of 1.5"x3/4" strips
                  6' of  2.5x3/4" strips

Tools - Miter saw (optional)
              Table saw (mandatory)
              1/8" kerf table saw blade with lots of teeth (better for making lots of fine cuts)
              3/4" dado blade for table saw (optional, but definitely recommended!)
              T-square or some type of ruler (digital calipers are nice to have, but optional)
              Power Drill/screwdriver

Other Materials:
             (2) Hinges
             (2) Latches
             (8) 2" screws
             Dark stain (I like MinWax's Gunstock, but it's up to you!)
             Varnish (I wouldn't recommend varnish, but it does make things shiny....)
             Chess pieces!  Buy them online or make them with a scroll saw

*Note: Be careful about selecting wood that is straight. Warped wood will cause problems later on. It's also tempting to use exotic hardwoods for their contrasting colors, but I highly recommend trying this project with cheap pine first before you spend $$$ on nice wood.

Step 2: Blueprints

Picture of Blueprints

All of the pieces for the board have been drafted using Google Sketchup 8.0.  I like the program a lot, since it's intuitive and available online for free!

If you have any questions, please let me know.  I have individual sketchup files for each of the pieces and a powerpoint with the blueprints if the resolution on the pictures is not good enough.  I can't figure out how to upload those files, so just let me know if you need them.

In general, you're just making a bunch of 1.5" squares connected by 3/4x3/8" strips.  Also note the part designations (A, B, C, etc.), because we'll be using those later for assembly.

Iamjpham22 years ago
This is fantastic, I've been wanting to make a chessboard ever since I saw the Shawshank Redemption and this just may be the way I'm going to do it. Quick question though, when you're playing with the board, d the hinges make it so it doesn't lay flush with the table?
LMO (author)  Iamjpham22 years ago
Yup. You can get better hinges that don't do that though.
fretted3 years ago
Absolutely Facsinating work you wouldn't by any chance have these prints in something like psp or adobe would you ? i would love to build one of these out of cedar and black walnut

Awsome work !
fretted fretted3 years ago
Sorry i was so enammered with the project i forgot about the blueprints sections lol what a great "Ible" again great work !
LMO (author)  fretted3 years ago
I've got them all in sketchup/ppt if you need more detail. Thanks!
Frederiek3 years ago
bllwdcrvr4 years ago
really nice game board..
tmkiwipeel4 years ago
To connect the two board pieces without hinges, you could use a dovetail halfway up the two middle pieces. It would be alot of work to get a perfect fit but once you do I think it would be a really elegant solution.
canida4 years ago
Wow, I missed this the first time around. It's pretty incredible!

Nice job.
LMO (author)  canida4 years ago
Well, better late than never. Thanks!
hey its tony's son, btw ur youtube video is taking up most of ur screen
LMO (author)  EncasedDeath4 years ago
tony's son? who?
he said that he adventure races with u and chuck. he sent me this link and said u told him about it and he wanted me to vote for it
LMO (author)  EncasedDeath4 years ago
Ah! OK. Hey Tony Jr.! Thanks for the support!
lol no problem
Wo0kiE4 years ago
I don't have words to describe how cool this is!
kelseymh4 years ago
Outstanding project, and beautifully presented! The dimensions have to be pretty precise for everything to interlock. I only saw a note about 1/16" tolerance; is that really true, or do you need better precision (or at least non-additive slop)?

I especially liked the long series of assembly pictures. You might consider wrapping those up into a slideshow and cross-linking it to this I'ble.
LMO (author)  kelseymh4 years ago
My saw has an error of about 1/16", so each time I make the board it typically fits right together. But there's typically a tight spot that I open up just a little bit. My advice would be to try to make each piece to spec and let the saw loosen it up for you. The best thing is to test fit as soon and as much as possible.

I've got a video of the assembly, but I'm having trouble uploading it right now....stay tuned!
kelseymh LMO4 years ago
Oh, argh. You are going to have trouble uploading it :-( There's a bug in the recent versions of Firefox, such that the I'bles interface for the embed code doesn't seem to work right. Paid memberships get the added bonus of writing raw HTML (and thus can just put the embed code right into a post), which is the only current workaround.
LMO (author)  kelseymh4 years ago
Video posted! I think.... :-)
kelseymh LMO4 years ago
Yes, and it worked, although you chose a size too large for I'bles fixed formatting. You may need to tweak the object dimensions in the XML code (if you still have access to it), or use the "handles" in the editor box to reduce the size of the frame.
Or made a video and embed it?
berky934 years ago
The closest I have ever come to building a chess board was modeling one for my first year animation class. This is fantastic. Really nice work. Combines the nerdiness of chess with the nerdiness of wooden puzzles and turns them into a nerdtastic masterpiece!
LMO (author)  berky934 years ago
I humbly accept your geekerly compliment!
berky93 LMO4 years ago
DaPope4 years ago
Very neat build, you gotta really pay attention but in the end you have a fine piece of artwork that is functional too.