Today I am going to show you how to build a chess board that looks kinda vintage. This is one section of a series I am hoping to start about making old toys with new twists on them. I am hoping to publish an instructable on building custom pieces for this board. This project is good if you want to make someone a gift for Christmas or their birthday. It is also good for teaching someone how to play chess since it is an easy project and not a big deal if it gets dinged up. This instructable is for the Toy Challenge contest please vote for me.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
First things first we have to gather our materials. I used a band saw to cut my wood only because my parents won't let me use a table saw by myself...it may be dangerous! Anyways you can use a table saw if you like, actually I would recommend it because you get a straighter cut than with a band saw and it is also quicker.
Rags or brush for staining
Exact-o knife/Drywall knife
Scrap piece of plywood 1/2in or thicker
50 grit sand paper
150 grit or more sand paper
Step 2: Cutting the Wood
To start the project you are going to need to take your piece of plywood and cut it down to a perfect square. I chose to use a 12x12 square but you can do what ever size you want. This is were a table saw would come in handy but if you are like me you parents wont let you use a table saw so your stuck with a band saw. If you are using a band saw take it slow and steady so you can get a straighter edge. Don't worry if you edge is a little off because you can sand it down later if you need to.
Step 3: Sanding and Smoothing
After you have cut your square you are going to need to sand and smooth the sides. If you used a band saw to cut the square most likely you are going to need to sand the sides a little bit to get a nearly straight edge. For this use the 50 grit sand paper or rougher. Don't sand it to much or you will loose your desired size. Now you are going to have to sand down the board so there are no splinters or sharp edges, after all this is a toy. To do this use the 150 or more grit sand paper and round the corners and the edges. Try and get the sides as even as possible so you get a better looking board. After you have smoothed the board you are going to want to take a damp clothe and remove as much sawdust as you can because you are going to be staining the board shorty. A useful tool for this would be using mineral spirit. It is great for removing any extra dust.
Step 4: Laying Out the Tape and Drawing Pattern
Now that you have you perfect square you need to cover the whole front side with tape so that you can draw on your pattern. I decided to leave a 1in boarder all the way around so i can add a little detail latter on. From this point you need to draw on the squares. Depending on your size board you will have different size playing squares. To figure out the size of each square divide the size of the playing area by 8. Below is a list of some playing square sizes. I wouldn't advice going smaller than 8in playing square because then you are going to have a really small board with small pieces.
12in playing area - 1.5in squares.
10in playing area (mine) - 1.25in squares.
8in playing area - 1in squares.
Step 5: Cutting Out the Squares
Now that you have laid out the tape and you have drawn on the grid it is time to cut out every other square. At this point if you want you can add detail to the outside boarder. For mine I added a secondary boarder about 1/4in thick. Just remember that what ever you add the color will be reversed since this is a stencil. This is probably the most tedious step there is. When you are cutting every other square out i recommend using a ruler and going slow so you will get nice crisp edges. After you have cut the squares use the edge of the razor blade and peel every other piece of tape. When cutting the tape it is okay if you cut deep into the wood because it will trap some of the stain and give it a nice boarder between each square, just don't go over board.
Step 6: Staining
Time to stain. For this step I used a nice semi-dark stain so it will show the contrast between the two colors of the wood. When staining you are only staining with one color to make it easier. The two colors you will have will be the original color of the wood and the darker stained squares. If you want after the stain has dried you can take a small paint brush and slowly paint the unstained wood a different color. To stain this I used a rag and dipped it in is the stain and rubbed it on. When staining don't let the stain sit on the tape to much or it will seep through and stain the wood underneath. I recommend using a second rag and wiping off the tape. Let the stain sit and put on a couple more coats. Don't forget to stain the sides and the bottom of the board.
Step 7: Finishing the Board
The last thing we need to do is remove the tape pattern on the the board after all the stain has dried. Carefully use the edge of the knife to pry up the tape and just peel it off. Since the stain is dried you can carefully wipe if down with a wet wash clothe so remove any extra dust or anything because we are going to seal it up and we don't need dust trapped in it. To seal the you can use a wood sealer if you want and go through the hassle of sanding and re applying the sealer and everything but I think that is to much work since this is suppose to be a simple project. In my case I prefer using a spray on polyurethane because you don't have to sand and re-apply it every couple of hours. With the polyurethane I chose to use it is a fast drying clear satin. Within two hours you should apply 3-4 coats and then let it sit for a couple more hours to dry. If you can't apply all coats within the two hours you should wait a day before applying the other coats.Don't forget to do both sides and the edges. If you want you can use a clear coat to give it a shiny glass like appearance but I chose not to because it is going to be dinged up anyways when playing chess or checkers. I hope you enjoyed making this project and please vote for me in the Toy Challenge contest. Post pictures of your boards.