Introduction: Steampunk-Inspired Hardware Chess Set

Make a cool, retro, steampunk-inspired chess set from assorted hardware, a found table and some common chemicals. This project is fast, easy and looks great.


angelgabriel (author)2014-06-29

Not trying to troll, but it's surprising how many chessboards are not set up properly. Please google and show us the right way.

Obscure and Obscene (author)2010-12-22

Nice job man!
that's mine ( the template is from GMJHOWE instructable )

I love it!



Win Guy (author)2011-05-15

OMGOMGOMG This is awesome! (Insert number higher than five here)/5! I'll be making one right away!
Win Guy

scmtngirl (author)2008-10-01

That is a really great idea! I might make this for my hub for an Xmas present. Thanks!

scmtngirl (author)scmtngirl2010-01-13

I finally got around to making this for my husband for Christmas 2009. I spray painted one of the sets of chess pieces gold instead of using chemicals and left the other one natural. I think I spent about 90 minutes at the hardware store figuring out the chess pieces themselves. It cost about $55 for all the nuts and bolts, I had the end table on hand already, and I bought a mis-mixed quart of paint for the base color of the table as well as a contrasting spray paint for the board and a high-gloss spray paint sealer to finish it off.

He was super impressed with it (a carpenter, by trade), and now we keep a game going in our den all the time. He's beat me every time. ;)

ramboninja (author)scmtngirl2011-01-14

That is sooo awesome

danlab (author)2010-03-09

This is awesome, I plan to make my dad a set for his birthday next month, just a note, Michaels sells the "patina chemical" as "antiquing solution".

danlab (author)danlab2010-03-10

A mixture of Hydrogen Peroxide and salt will work similarly to the "patina solution" albeit slower, but you can make a quart for 2 or 3 dollars.

bassclarinet23 (author)2009-09-25

That is amazing.

Indoloro (author)2009-07-08

What is the patina chemical that you used called? I've been looking around in hardware stores and I can't find anything that advertises that it rusts metal.

infinitysnake (author)Indoloro2009-08-21

You can buy it at Michael's and other craft shops.

jktechwriter (author)2009-05-29

Really well done, folks... looking forward to more of your instructables submissions. 5-stars.

katandtonic (author)2009-01-12

My boyfriend just opened a new bar in SF and it's got some steampunk elements in the design. I've been wanting to put chess tables in the lounge area upstairs, so how perfect is this idea? SO useful, thanks :)

recon506 (author)katandtonic2009-03-02

I'm heading over to SF for Spring Break Thankfully our delightful Mechanical Engineering professor did not assign too much homework over break, so my buddies and I would be delighted to drop by. Where in North Beach are you guys located? Side note: For anybody dropping by the ASU Polytechnic Campus in Tempe, AZ - a great brewery/restaurant is Gordon Biersch. The greatest beer one will ever taste, brewed in-house, for only $2.50 for a pint!

katandtonic (author)recon5062009-03-03

Oh fun! ChurchKey is located on Grant & Green in North Beach. When are you planning on coming by? We had to postpone some of our grander ideas of decor to deal with some electrical stuff (it's a REALLY old building and it got to the point where we couldn't turn the oven and the dishwasher on at the same time without blowing a fuse 50 times throughout the night). It's still pretty gorgeous inside, just very "Victorian Minimalist" if that's possible, haha.

recon506 (author)katandtonic2009-03-03

Well, I'm hoping to go next week, (if my buddy can get the car, that is). If not, I guess we'll just postpone it until June, which would make me very sad indeed. But if I have to, I'll just satisfy myself with bar hopping all over Tempe until June comes rolling around.

sparkyrust (author)katandtonic2009-01-12

Thanks for the coment. What Bar? I'm in SF.

katandtonic (author)sparkyrust2009-01-12

It's a brand spanking new small batch/micro-brew beer bar called Church Key in North Beach. It's definitely a place for beer lovers, but it's not pretentious at all for the people like me who couldn't tell you what makes one beer "hoppy" and what makes another "malty" haha. It's just good beer and good fun :)

sparkyrust (author)katandtonic2009-01-12

Just saw some pix on Yelp. It looks great. I'm in outer mission so I'm not over that way much, but I'll try to stop in and say "Hi" soon. If you like the chess set, enjoy this:

RevRods (author)2009-02-16

wow, that's a cool chess set. i really like the board.

i build a chess set out of high performance engine and transmission parts. i call it "high octane chess"

check it out: High Octane Chess

finfan7 (author)2008-10-02

I saw a set like this years ago made by an artist who did some cool stuff. They're pretty cool but personally I would rather see more modifications to the hardware to better match the classic shapes.

sparkyrust (author)finfan72008-10-03

Thanks for the comment. Your idea sounds great. Make it and send a pic to and we'll post it!

finfan7 (author)sparkyrust2008-10-03

No guarantees but I will certainly look into it. I will have to go down to ace and piss the workers off again by sitting in their hardware department looking for some inspiration. ...heheheh when they ask what I am looking for I will have to tell them I am looking for a couple pieces of inspiration.

About This Instructable




Bio: Marque Cornblatt was born in Baltimore, Maryland and now lives in San Francisco. He holds an MFA in Conceptual Arts from SFSU; has a diploma ... More »
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