Introduction: Chess Table

So, this is the chess table I built to go along with the hardware chess set I made. The instructable for the chess set itself can be found here.

The chess table has a wooden case with a drawer on each end, tapered legs and a ceramic tile top surrounded by metal. Lots of screws, corner brackets and decorative handles complete the look. It is finished in a mission oak stain. I hope you enjoy it.

(This project uses power tools. If you are going to attempt it, be sure you know how to use your tools safely. Also, when cutting metal, a lot of sparks will be generated so be sure there is nothing flammable nearby when doing this.)

Step 1: Materials and Tools

2' × 2' × 1/2" plywood
1/8" × 1 1/4" steel angle - 3 foot lengths × 2
1 × 4 pine board - 4 feet long
1 × 6 pine board - 6 feet long
1 × 8 pine board - 2 feet long
2 × 6 pine board - 8 feet long
2" × 2" tile (black and white, sold in 12" squares held together with glue)
Steel mending plates and corner brackets
Construction adhesive
Two in one wood stain and polyurethane
Wood glue
Wood filler
Citric acid
Gun blue
Metal clear coat
Screws (1/2", 3/4" and 1 1/4")
Furniture glides
Cabinet handles

Mitre saw (with both a wood cutting blade and a metal cutting blade)
Table saw
Drill press
Brad nailer
Dremel rotary tool
Paint brush

Step 2: Build the Top

Separate the tiles, and scrape off any glue that is left on the edges. You will need 32 of each for your chessboard. Put pieces of steel angle along two adjoining edges of the plywood. Make an eight tile × eight tile square, pressed tight against the two pieces of steel angle. Remove the steel angle and measure the space between the tile edge and the edge of the plywood. Now, measure from the far edge of the tile to the edge of the plywood and add your first measurement to this new length and that will give you your total length for your plywood. Verify the other direction as well to make sure it is square. (I will use the measurements I got from here on but make sure you do this step yourself because your tile size may vary slightly and everything depends on an accurate measurement of those. Adjust any measurements I give accordingly.)
Use a table saw to cut your plywood into a 17 1/2" square.

Put a metal cutting blade in your mitre saw and cut the ends of your steel angles at 45 degrees, 17 5/8" long, from long point to long point. Use a file to clean up any burrs from cutting. Use a drill press to drill holes along the middle of the steel angles every two inches starting from the center and measuring outwards. Do this along both sides of the steel. The holes should be just big enough for the 3/4" screws to fit through.

Temporarily attach the steel angles to the plywood with a couple screws. Lay out your tiles inside this square, in the order you want them, to make sure everything fits properly. If all is good, remove the tiles, put down a thin layer of construction adhesive and replace the tiles on top. If some of your tiles are a slightly different size, it looks better to space out any gap in the middle of the board rather than have it along the edge.

After the adhesive dries, remove the steel angles, polish them up with a wire wheel in a dremel tool and give them two coats of gun blue, polishing after each coat. Soak your screws in citric acid for a couple hours to remove the zinc coating and polish them up as well. Give the screws and the steel angles a couple coats of protective clear coating. When dry reattach the angles to the chessboard with a couple screws.

Step 3: Build the Case

Cut two pieces of 1 × 6 to 16" long. Cut four pieces of 1 × 4 at 5 1/2" long. Cut another piece of 1 × 6 at 10 1/2" long and then rip it down to two pieces at 1 5/8" wide and two pieces 3/4" wide. Cut a piece of 1 × 4 to 16" and rip two 3/4" wide pieces from it.

Glue and nail the 5 1/2" pieces of 1 × 4 onto the ends of the 16" pieces of 1 × 6. Glue and nail the 1 5/8" × 10 1/2" pieces flush with the tops of the 1 × 4 and the 3/4" × 10 1/2" pieces flush with the bottoms to form a box as shown in the pictures. Glue and nail the 3/4" × 16" pieces centered across the top and bottom as pictured to add stability. Attach mending plates to the inside of the case at the joints to strengthen them.

Fill the nail holes with wood filler and after it dries sand the case and finish with stain and polyurethane.

Step 4: Build the Drawers

Rip some of the leftover 1/2" plywood to 2 7/8" wide. Cut four pieces at 8 1/8" long and two pieces at 9 3/8". Cut two pieces of 1 × 8 at 9 3/8" long. Cut two pieces of 1 × 6 at 11 1/2" long and rip them down to 4" wide.

Set your table saw blade at 1/2" depth and 1/2" from the fence and cut a rabbet around all four sides of both 4" pieces as shown in the picture.
Glue and nail the pieces of wood together to make two drawers, with the 1 × 8 as the bottom, the plywood pieces as the sides and back and the 4" pieces as the drawer fronts.

Insert the drawers into the case and mark where the drawers touch the 3/4" strip on the bottom. Cut some small pieces of plywood and nail them to the back of the drawers on either side of these lines to act as drawer guides. Cut the backs of the drawer sides on an angle so you will be able to insert the drawers with the guides on.

Fill the nail holes with wood filler, sand and finish with stain and polyurethane.

Step 5: Attach the Top and Add Details

Put the chessboard portion on top of the case. Flip it upside down and add a couple corner brackets to hold it in place. Flip it back over and add the rest of the 3/4" screws all around the top and sides of the steel angles.

Soak eight corner brackets and enough 3/4" screws for them in citric acid to remove the zinc coating. Finish the brackets with two coats of gun blue and polish them and the screws with a wire wheel in the dremel. Apply two coats of protective clear coat. When dry, attach two brackets, evenly spaced, to each corner of the case. Attach handles to the sides of the case and to the drawer fronts.

Step 6: Build the Legs

I was originally going to put a shelf near the bottom of the chess table and so built the legs to accommodate that. However, once the legs were on I decided I liked it better without a shelf. I'm not sure I describe the process of making the legs very clearly here and it would likely be easier to just make square legs and put a slight taper on them if you do not want a shelf. However, I will do my best to describe what I did to make the legs that are on the table.

Cut four pieces of 2 × 6 at 23" long. Set your table saw blade at a 45° angle and rip eight pieces that are 2 3/4" wide to the long point of the angle. Set the table saw blade back to 90°. Make a tapering jig out of some scrap pieces of wood as shown in the picture. Make the space between the boards at the end of the jig 1". Place the jig against the table saw fence and put one of the 23" boards in place in the jig with the long point of the angle against the jig and the bottom of the board resting against the stop block. Adjust the fence so the board will contact the saw blade at 8" down from the top of the board. Run the boards through the saw using the jig with half the boards oriented with the long side facing down and half with the long side facing up. This will give you four pairs of boards with tapers on opposite sides.

Next, set your saw blade at a height of 3/4" and your fence 5 1/2" from the blade. With the long side facing down and the top toward the fence, run each board through the saw several times to slowly nibble away half the thickness of the top of the boards as shown in the picture.

Now glue and nail the board pairs together along the 45° angle to form four legs with tapered edges on each side.

Fill the nail holes, sand and finish each leg. Nail a furniture glide to the bottom of each leg. Flip the chessboard upside down and attach the legs with 1 1/4" screws, four per leg. Flip the table back over and enjoy.
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