Introduction: How to Make an End Grain Chessboard

I make end grain cutting boards. Once I made a "Chess" end grain cutting board

I used mineral oil and beeswax for finishing, so it was impossible to use it as a chessboard. Mineral oil and beeswax never become dry. Also I made a mistake and made A1 square white.:) I am not a chess player.

Then I got an order for the real chessboard. The making process is the same with the exception of finishing. I used varnish for finishing.

I will show the stages of the making process.

Thank you!

Andrei Muntian,


Step 1: Drawings, Wooden Panels

I made the drawings. The customer wanted 50 mm (about 2") squares, so I made 400x400 mm playing surface and 458x458 mm overall size. The border was lower than playing surface. I decided to use walnut and maple for the playing surface and walnut and cherry for the border.

I made two panels (walnut and maple) 52 mm thick.

Next day I sawed off four maple strips and four walnut strips. The thickness of all strips after planing was 50 mm.

Then I made another one wooden panel of these maple and walnut strips.

Step 2: Playing Surface

When the panel dried up I sawed off eight 38 mm wide strips.

I rotated each strip 90 degrees so that the end grain was up and assembled a board.

Then I glued it.

Step 3: Chess Notation

I used CNC machine to make letters/numbers at the border.

I used V-inlay technique. First I made pockets for letters and numbers, then mirror inlays. 30 degree V-bit was used.

I inserted inlays into pockets and glued them.

Step 4: Gluing a Chessboard

I planed the playing surface and sawed of the edges.

I sand the strips with letters/numbers at the drum sander.

Then I glued the border to the playing surface. I made double border. First I glued 4 mm cherry strips, then 25 mm walnut strips. The height of the playing surface was 36 mm, the border - 24 mm.

Step 5: Sanding

There was a lot of sanding. It is very difficult to make an end grain surface flat and smooth. I used dual drum sander with 80 and 120 sandpaper, then a rotary sander with 150 and 220 sandpaper.

Also I engraved my logo at the CNC machine.

Step 6: Finishing

I used a nitrovarnish (20% gloss) for finishing.

A lot of sanding again. I used random orbital sander with 400 sandpaper. I sanded every coat of varnish. There were five coatings.

Step 7: The Result

Thanks for watching!