Picture of Wooden Chess Rook piece for the Coffee Table
In this instructable (my very first!), I build a 7in x 3 in (diameter) size Chess Rook piece on a wood lathe. I made this at TechShop!

I recently attended a wood lathe class at the TechShop, and was quite excited to see what I could produce. I wanted to make a nice big chess piece, and chose the rook because it is relatively easy, but also nice enough to stand out on its own (as I was not quite ready to make an entire giant chess board!)

In my first attempt, I made some mistakes - I started off with spindle turning, and then had to move to faceplate turning to hollow out the top of the rook, but it hard to center the (already turned) piece on the faceplate and have it spin without wobbling. A little more research, and with improved techniques, my second attempt was a success! With this instructable, I hope you can avoid the mistakes I made, and take it a step further!

Items required:

3.5 inch square by 12inch block of wood (I used Basswood - available at Woodcraft)
Wood Lathe and associated tools - Roughing Gouge, Skew chisel, detail gouge, parting tool
Screws - 4 #12 screws (to attach piece to faceplate)
Carpenter's pencil (or just regular pencil) to mark measurements
T-square or ruler for measurement
Rotary tool, wood carving tools, hacksaw (optional) to cut out the notches

Ok, let's get started!

WilberC22 months ago


nancyjohns2 years ago
super cool!
Great i'ble, Sridhar! I've been looking for a simple-to-follow turning project so will definitely try this. Are you planning to do more pieces to eventually form a set?
Thanks, duncan! I didn't plan on it, but my wife liked it and now wants me to do 31 more pieces! :-) Eventually!
nice work. looks sharp.
The Aviator2 years ago
Wow! I love chess and I want to learn to use a lathe. This is a great project :-)
sridhar_rajagopal (author)  The Aviator2 years ago
Thanks! :) Now my wife wants me to make 31 more pieces, not to mention a big board for a really large chess set!
pudtiny2 years ago
looks good, I would suggest the use of a wedge to even up the piece when you bandsaw the bottom off just to make it a bit safer
sridhar_rajagopal (author)  pudtiny2 years ago
Great suggestion!

I held both sides down, so it was safe, but because it angled ever so slightly, the cut was a bit tapered, but easy to smooth off with a belt sander. I'll keep it mind for my next project!

saosport2 years ago
cool thanks