Turning Chess Pieces #2: Rooks

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Blog entry by Chessnut posted 01-21-2015 02:24 PM 5503 reads 3 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Prototypes a work in progress Part 2 of Turning Chess Pieces series Part 3: Knights »

Welcome to another installment of the Chess Corner! Today’s topic is turning rooks or aka castles.
The large looking one on the left was a first try out of some sort of mahogany pallet scrap and after turning it round realized how open-grained it was, not a desirable trait when wanting to work with small details. So I found a more close-grained wood such as maple that I laminated out of offcuts from a local cabinet shop. This one “turned” out pretty good, pun intended! The last one is out of mountain ash, it’s much different looking once I apply a finish. Now let’s look at the styling between the last two, shall we call them #2 and #3.

I like how #2 turret on top flares outward at a slight angle versus #3 giving it a little more complexity yet not overdone. The problem with #2 is it is a little too top heavy looking. The turret is just as wide as the base. Now #3 has a smaller turret and looks more balanced however I’m not happy with the bases on either yet. Rook #3 is my closest replica and final specs for my set will be a rook that is 2” tall, right now it’s 2 1/4 tall so cutting that base down 1/4 inch will help it look more proportional with itself but also with the set.

Now from this angle we can see the inside of the turret. I much prefer this type of turret versus most other chess sets for it’s elegance and the way it flows. I put six notches versus four in some sets and the way it displays the inside, not just a hole drilled into the top but eases it’s way out, almost like a flower with petals. Simple but convincing. Once one has a few pieces turned for practice, you can look at them all and take the best elements of each piece and do up a “masterpiece” pun intended again! I have had no formal training on turning so please feel free to critique.

Until next time for another installment of “The Chess Corner” have fun and happy turning!

-- Mike, Airdrie Alberta

7 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27248 posts in 5276 days

#1 posted 02-08-2008 08:15 PM

I have absolutely no experience with turning but to tell you the truth I like the maple turning and the proportions of the maple base. I am not sure how the maple would look with the ash turret.

But this is an interesting exercise. Going through these iterations gives you an excuse to spend more time at the lathe too.

Thanks for sharing.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5443 days

#2 posted 02-08-2008 08:58 PM

I remember turning the bodies of my chess set. What a pain to keep the alll the same.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Karson's profile


35300 posts in 5855 days

#3 posted 02-08-2008 10:06 PM

Mike looking great. You’ve got the picture problem, solved. Great job.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 5754 days

#4 posted 02-08-2008 11:09 PM

Very nice.

I had some mountain ash wood once, but it ended up as a friends firewood, before I realized how pretty it was.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN.

View Grumpy's profile


26811 posts in 5305 days

#5 posted 02-08-2008 11:57 PM

Doing well there Mike.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 5781 days

#6 posted 02-12-2008 11:08 PM

I actually like the maple one better – even with the “problem” of it being top heavy. Before you mentioned it, I didn’t see it at all… I suppose it could be a little smaller, but I don’t think it needs be as small as the ash one.
Lots of good points to consider – great series!

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View rikkor's profile


11294 posts in 5329 days

#7 posted 02-13-2008 11:05 AM

Great turning. I tried a mahogany pen once, and it was indeed too open grained.

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