This is a set of plans for making wooden chess pieces using basic woodworking tools, no lathe work is required. The pieces are made from 7 mm plywood and round pine dowels in various sizes, plus a few other items obtainable from craft suppliers. The plans cover a standard chess set, plus 3 extra pieces which are used for Chinese Chess ( XiangQi )
Step 1: What You Will Need
LIST OF PARTS
For a basic chess set : 37 mm diameter plywood discs, 7mm thick , cut with a hole saw : 48
25 mm diameter plywood discs as above : 18
Pine Dowel 19 mm diameter : 650 mm
Pine Dowel 6 mm diameter : 1500 mm
12 mm diameter wooden beads : 24
15 mm wooden cubes : 8
7 mm plywood 100 mm x 400 mm
Tools, etc. : Electric Drill, Hole saws, 37 mm & 25 mm diameter & Coping Saw
Files & Sandpaper, Wood Glue, Dark Wood Stain, Urethane Oil Varnish
Felt, dressmaking pins & 6 mm lead balls [ optional ]
Step 2: KING
The plan shows the assembly of the parts. The two dowel sections are drilled through their centres with a 6.5 mm hole to fit over the central dowel. Beginning with the base, the 6 mm x 75 mm dowel is glued in, followed by the remaining pieces. The cross on the top is cut from 7 mm plywood. The construction of all the other pieces is similar to the King.
Step 3: QUEEN
The 6 pieces which make up the crown can be made from ice block sticks. I made 2 White and 2 Black Queens to allow for Pawns being promoted.
Step 4: BISHOP
The 7-sided block on the top is cut from a 15 mm wood cube, with two cuts going from the diagonal of one face to the corner of the opposite face. ( If 15 mm wood blocks are not available, you could make them by laminating two 15 mm x 15 mm pieces of 7 mm plywood ). The rhombic pieces are cut from 7 mm plywood.
Step 5: KNIGHT
The horse's head is made from 2 identical parts cut from 7 mm plywood with a coping saw. Details such as mane, eyes & mouth can be added as desired with a narrow file or utility knife.
Step 6: ROOK
Construction method is similar to the King and Queen.
Step 7: PAWN
Construction is straightforward in the usual way.
Step 8: EXTRA PIECES FOR XIANGQI
XiangQi or Chinese Chess is played with Elephants, Cannons and Guards ( also known as Advisers or Mandarins ). An excellent game, equally as intriguing as western chess and well worth learning.
Step 9: FINISHING OPTIONS
The Black pieces can be stained with a dark wood stain, and all pieces finished with 3 coats of urethane oil varnish. If desired, the bases may be weighted with small lead balls ( fishing sinkers ) to give them a better feel. The sinkers can be glued into holes drilled in the base. After this, circles of felt can be glued to the bases. I used some dressmaking pins to add "pearls" and eyes to the pieces, but this is also optional.