Blocky Chess Pieces

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Project by Aaron McCain posted 12-23-2015 04:56 PM 3191 views 8 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A friend approached me with a design for chess pieces that would be a Christmas gift for her husband. I don’t own a lathe, so I was a little hesitant until she showed me some sketches. The pieces are all cubes and shaped based loosely on the movement of the piece.

The pawns are 1”x1”x1” cubes. The rest start as 1.5”x1.5”x1.5”. Rooks are cubes due to straight movements. Bishops are crosses due to diagonal movements. Knights are missing corners to form an “L” representative of their movement. The king are queen are just a bit taller by adding a head: cube for the king, ball for the queen.

The basic construction was pretty simple it just took forever to sand all the pieces by hand. Finished with a coat of Danish Oil.

*note: I did not make the chess board

7 comments so far

View Knothead62's profile


2600 posts in 4124 days

#1 posted 12-23-2015 05:06 PM

Someone was thinking waaay outside the box on this one. My complements on the fine job on the chess set. Thanks for sharing the set and the detail of wood and finish.
Edit: For the knights, you could have used a piece of wood for a “base” and then cut a corner out with a band saw, then glued them together. Just my idea of another way to do the one piece.

View wiser1934's profile


530 posts in 4310 days

#2 posted 12-24-2015 04:34 AM

always wanted to make a chess set. this would be easy for me!! the concept is completely mod, and i love it. thank you for posting this. once you get the hang of sanding quicker, you would be able to sell these anywhere.

-- wiser1934, new york

View holzwurmbr's profile


23 posts in 2374 days

#3 posted 12-24-2015 09:44 AM

Hallo ,
Das schachspiel sieht sehr schön aus. Sie haben eine “saubere Arbeit abgeliefert”.

-- holzwurmbr Großräschen Deutschland

View cebfish's profile


181 posts in 3851 days

#4 posted 12-24-2015 11:33 AM

The king looks like a blockhead. Great job. Count me in on favorites

View helluvawreck's profile


32122 posts in 4030 days

#5 posted 12-24-2015 02:11 PM

This is a very creative project. Nice work.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Mambrax's profile


167 posts in 2655 days

#6 posted 12-25-2015 07:19 PM

very cool !!!

-- Let's do the best we can !

View metolius's profile


430 posts in 1894 days

#7 posted 05-26-2016 05:46 PM

Great work !

I stumbled on this as I have been thinking of making the same set.

I’d like to provide some details of what I know or have heard of the design.

The set was designed by Josef Hartwig in 1924. He was a stone/wood sculpture artist in the German Bauhaus movement which emphasized design with simplicity and function.

From what I have gathered, of the original, pawns were 14mm square, the rook, knight, and bishop were 28mm square as were the queen and king bases. The queen is a rook with a pawn on top. The king is a rook with a sphere of 13mm radius.

By FIDE board standards of a King occupying about 75% of the area of a square, the dimensions above would be appropriate for a board of 32mm squares ( 1.25” ). So, a standard 2.25 square board would use a large cube (rook piece) that is a hair less then 2”.

Also, an interesting thing I noticed about the knight is that the original appears to be constructed with 3 rectangular pieces that were 14×14x28 with two horizontal and one vertical.

-- derek / oregon

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