Introduction: Multi-level Chess Board

Have been meaning to make a chess board for a while and I had a couple of 44mmx44mm lengths of wood left over from another project I saw an opportunity.


2 x 2.4m 44mmx44mm pine battens

Dark wood dye

Wood glue


Table saw

Sander with various grades of sandpaper

Step 1: Design (or Lack Of)

I worked out that the two 2.4m lengths of wood I had were exactly right for make a board where the adjacent squares differed by 10mm and where the lowest/shortest square was 40mm high and the longest was 100mm.

What I couldn't decide was what layout I wanted for the board. The image above shows the four possible layouts and I realised they all required the same number of the various lengths so I put off the design decision until later and cracked on with cutting the lengths.

The image above shows these as well, and they are;

4 x 40mm

8 x 50mm

12 x 60mm

16 x 70mm

12 x 80mm

8 x 90mm

4 x 100mm

Step 2: Cutting

Using a cross cut sled on my table saw I was able to quickly and easily cut the required lengths as per design.

Once these were cut I bundled up the similar lengths and sanded the cut edges (tops) until they were completely smooth.

I then set about deciding the layout, arranging the squares in the different positions as shown in the photos above.

I still couldn't decide so set about staining the darker squares ...

Step 3: Staining

Re-bundling just half of each length I was able to stain them with a dark oak stain, which would give me the 32 black squares. Any run down the sides of the pieces was quickly wiped off and sanded as necessary.

Step 4: Gluing Up

It was as I was thinking about gluing up that I realised I didn't have to decide on a design. All four layouts used the same four quarters, just in a different rotation.

So dilemia solved I glued up each of the four quarters. Any gaps in between the pieces was filled with a little wood glue and saw dust as shown above.

Step 5: The Result...

Once dried and any glue removed with light sanding I have a chess board that is never the same. The photos above show the different orientations maintaining symmetry with the last showing a random combination that still works for the game. Just rotate the four quarters and create your won unique board!

Step 6: Chess Pieces

With a bit more time left than I anticipated and with a few more 34mm x 34mm batons I made a set of chess pieces to test the board.

I found the design online and loved the way they tessellate together.

I hope you enjoyed this instructable and let me know if you make one!