From chess board to table

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Blog entry by oscorner posted 12-04-2007 10:46 AM 11822 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hello everyone! A while back a great LumberJock wouldn’t take no for an answer and generously mailed me some veneer. After much reading, blogs on the LumberJock’s and his guidance I made this chess board with the lovely veneers.

The question was… what will I do with it? After much consideration I decided to make a table upon which to attach it to. Unlike most of you, my plan was in my head. Kind of learn as you go type of venture. I started of wanting to try and use my tapering jig to make the legs tapered and it worked out nicely. I decided to make the height of the table around 30”, tall enough to use stools to play or just stand if one feels like it. My initial desire was to put a drawer underneath to hold the chess pieces and such. I found out too late that by tapering the legs as I did, a drawer would be quite the challenge as I started the taper too high on the legs.

I’m sorry that it is upside down. You’ll have to forgive me, but the top isn’t finished. In the photo you can see the framework for the door that will allow access the the cabinet ( it is to the left of the picture). There or no hinges yet and the knob I turned for it isn’t there either, but will be when I’m finished. Here’s a better view of the front:

The joinery is of through dowel construction for the most part with some doweling that does not go through. I used 3/8” dowels with Titebond II glue. The wood is cherry and as can be seen it is not all heartwood. After realizing that a drawer wasn’t going to be a reality on this project I decided to make an enclosure under the table top that would house a couple of shelves. This presented another problem. My original placement of the rials did not take this into consideration because I was thinking of doing a drawer. I realized that the rails would be too high and would not hide the bottom of the enclosure, therefore I needed to come up with a plan that would allow me to widen two of them so that they would match on all four sides. This required a decision also on how would I attach these to the existing table. If I would have planned this ahead of time I could have just doweled it into the legs. Of course, if it would have been planned in the beginning this wouldn’t have been necessary because I would have made all the rails match on all four sides. I decided to make my own cherry pieces in which I drilled and counter sank two screw each. I used my draw knife to fit these. The board I added was a tad narrower than the other one and with limited material I had to use them. They can be seen here:

The blue on there is from my bench dogs and has since been sanded off. Here is the other side of my fix.

I’m still contemplating using my router to make a design out of the joint where the two boards meet or I will make a molding to conceal it. I am using 1/2” birch plywood for the sides and door. I will rabbet the inside of the door frame and glue the plywood from the back to give it the look I want.

The last element that I have to show is my homemade or maybe I should call them my shop made tabletop hold downs or clips: (I apologize for the fuzzy picture)

They are made of cherry and can allow movement of the table because of the slots. Of course, there should be very little movement of the top because it is made of two sheets of 1/2” MDF glued together. I hope to wrap the MDF with cherry and have a piece of acrylic covering the chess top, floating in a groove cut into the wood that wraps the MDF.

This project is on hold for now because of some bulging disc in my neck that will require surgery. Thanks for looking and keep an eye out for my future post of the finished table. ;^)

-- Jesus is Lord!

10 comments so far

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4542 days

#1 posted 12-04-2007 11:32 AM

Mark, glad to see that you are at least feeling well enough to post something. I hope that the back is progressing a little. Your table looks great. That is part of the fun of woodworking – learning how to overcome obstacles that pop up. You are on your way to a great Chess Table. Oh, and your veneer work looks very nice. Hope you get to feeling better soon.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4637 days

#2 posted 12-04-2007 12:36 PM

fascinating to watch the brain work, as it solves a problem or two.
Pretty darned cool. Awesome table.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Betsy's profile


3392 posts in 4372 days

#3 posted 12-04-2007 04:11 PM

Mark – looks good. I’m glad to know there are others out there that build on the fly like I do sometimes.

I hope your neck surgery goes well and you are back in the shop soon.

-- "Our past judges our present." JFK - 1962; American Heritage Magazine

View Karson's profile


35197 posts in 4877 days

#4 posted 12-04-2007 05:42 PM

Mark Great job. On the veneering and the table. Now that you are already past this spot.

As I was reading I got to thinking this would have been a perfect place to make a hanging drawer that is not attached to the aprons. They would slide on visible rails that would be attached to the legs. The whole drawer assembly would be below and with a gap under the apron.

Have to be careful to not hit the knees, so maybe in the front for viewing but the players sit on the sides.

Sorry for seeing this in my mind after you are as far along as you are.

Great job.

Our prayers are with you.

-- 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 oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4787 days

#5 posted 12-04-2007 08:39 PM

Thanks everyone!

Karson, I appreciate your idea on how I could have put a drawer on this table, but the problem I had and have is that I started the taper about six inches from the top of the legs. After putting the apron around the top I didn’t have a square leg to build a drawer around. Of course, I could have made the drawer with tapered sides that matched the legs, but I couldn’t, without coming up with a solution for drawer rails that would compensate for the continuous taper. I made something simular that might have worked when I made my drawer for my lathe:

but, it wasn’t the look I wanted.

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Karson's profile


35197 posts in 4877 days

#6 posted 12-04-2007 11:41 PM

What I was suggesting would be a floating drawer that was attached to a rail that might be 2” wide and and one edge attached to the leg and the other side floating out in space. So the glide would be horizontal and not vertical. I’m having a hard time explaining it I guess I’ll have to drawit and then post the picture.

-- 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 oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4787 days

#7 posted 12-05-2007 05:01 PM

I think I know what you’re talking about, but if you get the opportunity to post a drawing I’d appreciate that. I may need it for my next project. Thanks!

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6866 posts in 4456 days

#8 posted 12-06-2007 04:09 AM

Great table Mark;

The fine art of fixing boo boo’s. Yup that’s woodworking for you!

Hope the surgery goes splendidly for you.

I’ll say a prayer as I’m certain a lot of other lJ’s are doing.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View oscorner's profile


4563 posts in 4787 days

#9 posted 12-08-2007 11:19 PM

Lee, your prayers are needed and appreciated. Your support and that of my fellow LumberJocks has sustained me as I await the surgery. Thanks!

-- Jesus is Lord!

View Karson's profile


35197 posts in 4877 days

#10 posted 01-04-2008 09:49 PM

This is Mark’s blog and I sent his wife a message asking if there was anything that the LumberJock community could do to make sure that this table is completed.

Mark was in so much pain that he was unable to complete it.

She told me that Mark’s son Johnathan had ben helping him on the table and he want to complete it.

I told her that I think that is the best thing because in my mind it will bring a great bonding between them both.

She said if he runs into any problems she will let me know. I will probably call upon Cajunpen or CharlesM1958 both fine gentlemen who live withing an hour or two from mark’s home.

I’ll keep you informed of anything that I hear.

-- 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]

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