Chessboard From Woodshop Scrap!




Introduction: Chessboard From Woodshop Scrap!

Hello all! I am a high school student from the East Coast, and decided I would share one of my projects from my Woodshop class. I am in the first woodshop class, so if there are any different techniques or new tools that you have suggestions for, PLEASE leave them in the comments below. This project was made purely from the scraps of my peer's projects, and I focused on leaving the minimal amount of waste possible. So have fun, and follow along with me through this journey!


I used the tools found at the woodshop in my high school, and while I used many different power tools, there are plenty of different substitutes that this project could be completed with. The tools I used are as follows:


Table saw

Miter Saw



Palm sander

Sanding blocks (80, 120, and 220 grit)

Way... way too many clamps

wood glue

masking tape

carpenter's square

Step 1: The First Glue Up

The first step involved sizing the squares. I read online that chess squares are around 2 x 2 inches, so I decided to stick with that. Then came good ole' math... 8 squares by 8 squares means that each strip must be 16 inches, with some extra that accounts for edge correction and the thickness of saw blades. I made each strip 18 inches to be safe, and I almost did not have enough, so lean to the side of caution. I cut these strips by jointing the edge of the scrap piece and running it through the table saw. After cutting (4) 18" strips of each different color wood, I alternated them and glued them together. This was the easiest of the glue ups, so keeps the edges aligned, and the flat part of the long clamps to keep the board as flat as possible (this will save you the most amount of sanding, so be careful). *NOTE* Leave this glue to dry for at least 24 hours to ensure full curing of the glue joint.

Step 2: The Second Glue Up

After the first glue up had dried, I used the same table saw to create strips in the opposite direction. This left me with strips of alternating 2 inch squares. Lastly, I used the same long clamps and clamping caules to create the final pattern of the board. Just like last time, wait the full 24 hours to let the glue set. Wipe up excess wood glue, as it dries into a mess that is crazy hard to sand. This glue up is really important -- keeping every squares' corners lined up is essential to making sure that the final product is clean and looks finished. It may take some time, so don't let the glue set up on you while you make adjustments!

Step 3: Flattening, Sanding, and Other Details...

Using the planer to make the board completely flat may seem like the logical option, but it carries a major risk. If any of your glue joints are weak, or if a complication arises within the machine, you risk turning your planer into a glorified wood chipper. If the board breaks in the planer the blades will destroy your project, so I recommend using something like a drum sander or palm sander to eliminate the risk. I used the former, and spent around 20-25 minutes running it through the drum sander getting rid of any glue residue and imperfections. After getting most of the hard work done on the drum sander, I used the palm sander (first 120, then 220) to polish up the board.

Step 4: Chamfer

This step is completely optional, but I chose to do it for fun and to experiment with some new tools. After sanding both sides, I was able to use the router table to put a small 1/4" chamfer on every edge. I did it to give the board a more geometric look, but if you are more partial to the squared edge, then you are more than welcome to leave it as is. After routing, I sanded the edges and made it smooth, leaving myself with only one step left...

Step 5: Feet

Using rubber feet is an easy way to make the board slip-free, and prevent rocking when placed on the table. Additionally, placing the feet closer to the center of the board gives it a "floating" effect when placed down. Overall, I chose to place the feet on the center of the squares shown above in the picture. These feet can be glued or attached with hardware. I added some glue along with the 1/2" screws to attach the feet. After that, my chess board was fully complete, and ready for some long-awaited games.

Step 6: Time to Play!

Thank you for following me on this journey! This project was great to learn how to use a bunch of new tools in the shop, and get more comfortable with new techniques. Also, it helped get rid of some of the scrap wood we had laying around. I hope you find this Instructable helpful, and I wish you the best of luck in your woodworking adventures!

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    6 months ago

    Two Things:
    1. Did you consider adding a frame around the board?

    2. A second challenge might be to alter the board so that it will hang vertically on a wall.
    That requires a couple adjustments:
    a. Add horizontal shelves under each row of squares to stand the chess pieces upon.
    b. Adjust the vertical height of the squares (to rectangles) to account for the height of the
    chess pieces.


    6 months ago

    Very nice! : )


    Reply 6 months ago