Mission Style Chessboard

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Project by handplane posted 11-03-2007 08:22 PM 2887 views 4 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This is a chessboard I made as a gift for my father who is a golf fanatic. The chessboard is made of quilted maple and claro walnut. The frame is quartersawn white oak. The finish is tung oil with polyurethane topcoat.

The chesspieces are called the “History of Golf” chess pieces from Studio Anne Carlton.

Getting the polyurethane finish on this glossy smooth and free of air bubbles just might have been the most frustrating experience of my life. I am saving my money for an HVLP sprayer so I never have to brush on poly again!

-- - Scott "handplane"

13 comments so far

View TomFran's profile


2961 posts in 4529 days

#1 posted 11-04-2007 12:08 AM

Absolutely beautiful! And, the finish turned out great.

Did you use foam brushes or bristle type to apply the poly?

-- Tom, Surfside Beach, SC - Romans 8:28

View Daren Nelson's profile

Daren Nelson

767 posts in 4440 days

#2 posted 11-04-2007 12:54 AM

I like that board alot, very pretty.

View Bill Cowan's profile

Bill Cowan

110 posts in 4641 days

#3 posted 11-04-2007 03:01 AM

Great chess board. I also finshed the ones that David Marks designed. These look great. thanks for sharing.

-- ICN, Bill, (

View handplane's profile


36 posts in 4395 days

#4 posted 11-04-2007 04:08 AM

Thanks Tom,

My experience with foam brushes is that they cause lots of air bubbles so I used a natural bristle brush and had thinned the poly about 50% with mineral spirits. Then I basically put on a good wet coat and went around making sure that I popped any air bubbles I did see. Then I left it alone and hoped for the best while it dried. I did this board in December and it worked. I tried the same technique in July (when it was humid) for the Firefighter chessboard with nothing but miserable results. It just would not dry without bubbles in the finish. So I sanded it all off and switched to aerosol lacquer to get it glossy. The fumes were nasty but the end result was great.

-- - Scott "handplane"

View Karson's profile


35207 posts in 4935 days

#5 posted 11-04-2007 04:11 AM

That is a great looking board.

Nice 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 Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 4492 days

#6 posted 11-04-2007 11:10 PM

Another amazing piece! I like the frame on this more than the mitered blood wood in your other chess board.


View HandsOgold's profile


95 posts in 4539 days

#7 posted 11-07-2007 06:59 PM

Im a “chessboard” man myself. They make great gifts. They are large and “showy” and the recipient almost “HAS” to display, (lol). Perhaps you might give a try to WIPE-on polys and gel forms of urethanes. They dont provide as glossy a finish , but bubbles are not a problem.

-- Dan

View toyguy's profile


1702 posts in 4372 days

#8 posted 12-27-2007 04:02 PM

I really like the board and the “History of Golf” chess pieces are great…...

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View mot's profile


4926 posts in 4571 days

#9 posted 12-27-2007 08:03 PM

A very nice piece!

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View CoolDavion's profile


461 posts in 4359 days

#10 posted 12-28-2007 06:04 AM

I did not realize that a chessboard could be made in a style.
Are the through tennons real ?

-- Do or do not, there is no try!

View handplane's profile


36 posts in 4395 days

#11 posted 12-29-2007 04:25 PM

Well, I suppose the chessboard itself isn’t in any style, but the frame can be called mission style. As for whether or not the through tenons are real, I guess it depends on how much of a purist you are. The tenons are real, there are no screws or any other metal fasteners in this project. The tenons are however, loose tenons. I had a Christmas deadline to meet and didn’t want to encounter any problems that might cause me to miss it. I’ve done the true through tenons on other mission style things before and it can be quite tricky to get them to work out well.

-- - Scott "handplane"

View Chessnut's profile


24 posts in 4300 days

#12 posted 02-12-2008 08:28 PM

I was wondering if the quilted maple and claro walnut solid right thru and if not how thick?

-- Mike, Airdrie Alberta

View handplane's profile


36 posts in 4395 days

#13 posted 02-15-2008 02:13 AM


Both woods are solid, 1/2 inch thick, resawn from 12/4 and 16/4 air dried pieces I had at home for a couple of years. I cut them 5/8” thick and then left them to further acclimate for several months (because that’s how long it took me to get around to working on it, not because I had some genius master plan to deal with wood movement). After I checked to see they all had uniform moisture content with a moisture meter I jointed, planed, and sanded them to final thickness with a drum sander. The quilted maple wanted to explode whenever touched with a blade.

-- - Scott "handplane"

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