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Blog series by Gianni updated 03-05-2015 03:19 AM 11 parts 15520 reads 10 comments total

Part 1: Designing the pieces

01-02-2015 01:23 AM by Gianni | 0 comments »

With all the chess talk in the youtube woodworking world the last couple of weeks, my son asked “That’s cool, Can you make me a chess board?” Sure! “Oh, and wooden pieces, has to have wood or metal pieces.” Hmm. What did I sign up for here? As an educational tip to other woodworkers, when a child asks a question like this, “Nope” should be a perfectly reasonable answer. After searching wood chess sets on google and yahoo images, my masochism kic...

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Part 2: Cutting (and cutting, and cutting and...)

01-02-2015 02:30 AM by Gianni | 0 comments »

So the first piece I wanted to cut was the knight. This was the piece about which I was most unsure of the design, so I thought I’d give it my best and abort early if it turned out poorly. A few mistakes I learned right quick: 1. Cutting the notch in the base is no job for the scrollsaw, at least with me behind the wheel. Blade flex and alignment in wood this thick just makes lining up the grooves from side to side nearly impossible. 2. Blade speed and feed rate. I normally scroll...

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Part 3: aaaaand cutting, and cutting

01-02-2015 04:21 AM by Gianni | 0 comments »

Thought I would throw up some more pictures and a few more notes. MAKE SURE YOUR BLADE IS SQUARE!!! Just checked it? Check again. It definitely doesn’t cut perfectly square due to blade flex in the thick material, but if you don’t start out square, you’ve got no chance. To try to keep the blade flex effects down, I am feeding very slowly with little pressure and letting the saw idle for a few seconds at the stops before I swing the piece. When I make the turns, I st...

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Part 4: 32 down

01-03-2015 11:57 PM by Gianni | 2 comments »

Well, I finished scrolling out the pieces. I wanted to start with the pieces and not the board for fear that my patience would wane and I’d never finish. I also wanted to “hit it hard” while I still had some enthusiasm for the project, so despite a nasty cold and a bad cough, I’ve been strapping on the respirator and giving it my best. While the initial pattern called for a diagonal notch in the base, cutting it with the scrollsaw and having the sides approximate an...

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Part 5: Drilling, Drilling, Drilling

01-29-2015 06:32 PM by Gianni | 0 comments »

So I decided to add weights to the pieces, which appears to be the norm. I think it’s more of a ‘feel’ thing that gives them some substance during play more than it’s required for stability or any such thing. Perhaps someone could weigh in on why it is, but certainly when I’ve played with pieces that have a ‘heft’ it seems to indicate a better quality. To that end, I picked up some 1/4 Oz fishing weights to add to the bases. I’ve seen reco...

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Part 6: The battlefield

01-29-2015 06:50 PM by Gianni | 3 comments »

After a flurry of activity getting all of the pieces cut over Christmas shutdown, I sort of fell into a lull on this project. Mostly I was trying to find a suitable material with which to build the board. My initial thought was to use glass mosaic tiles, similar to my coffee table (see projects). I really liked the idea of it, so I started looking for suitable tiles. This came to be a somewhat painful process, as I needed two sets of tiles that would work well with the walnut and maple,...

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Part 7: Now where was I?

02-07-2015 03:20 AM by Gianni | 2 comments »

not much more in the way of progress, but I did get a few things done. To put in the weights, I mixed up some 2-part epoxy and just goobered up the hole, then squished in the weight. I goobered over the top a little to make sure they were held in. To do the pieces in bulk, I nailed together a little sled holder thingamabobber (no critiques, scrap wood and a brief 1 time necessity, not a lifetime shop jig). This would hold 8 pieces at once, which allowed me to glue in the weights in 4 fligh...

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Part 8: Da box

02-08-2015 12:09 PM by Gianni | 0 comments »

Well, there are plenty of blogs on building a box by people who are much better at it than me, but since this is the first I have attempted with side drawers I will throw out how I chose to cheat. I started by milling down some walnut boards. My planer blades are getting hideously dull, so the figured pieces had some pretty vicious tear-out. My plan is to shape the end product with the carving wheel, so it’s not terribly critical right now, thank goodness. My goal is to make a box wi...

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Part 9: and now....

02-09-2015 01:45 AM by Gianni | 1 comment »

Dang it! I went back through after posting the final entry and now I see that I forgot to tag this one with the blog header, so it got left out. Now that I tag it, it inserted it at the end. I’ll see if there’s a way to re-order them, but if not I at least learned something. The moment we’ve all been waiting for, or at least I have. It’s been about two years since I last fired up the carving wheel in anger, and it’s obvious I am a little rusty. The setup: ...

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Part 10: Now where was I?

03-02-2015 04:32 AM by Gianni | 2 comments »

Well, I think I was ready to start finishing. I wanted to finish the case before gluing in the board, since I was counting on the finish protecting the wood from the glue and grout. I started with poly, but the sanding in between coats was a bit aggressive and started leaving big splotches in the finish. No good. So I sanded everything back to wood and went with an alternative. i had to leave for a week, so I soaked everything good in Danish oil and let that cure while I was away. Next I c...

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Part 11: Parting Shot

03-05-2015 03:19 AM by Gianni | 0 comments »

Well last night I used blue painters tape to mask off all the wood and grout the tile field. I’m pretty happy with how everything turned out, although putting down grout with an uneven/carved border made it a bit of a challenge. There are definitely some low spots in the grout, but for me, pretty darned good. Tonight my son and I used elmers glue to stick felt to the bottom of all the pieces. We cut oversized felt squares, spread the glue with our fingers, and held them with press...

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