Large chess board

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Project by Cobra posted 07-28-2010 03:40 AM 2369 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This project started as a result of giving a friend an end grain cutting board. She loved the board and soon asked if I could make her a chess board. So, here is the result, my first chess board and really the first piece I was ever asked to make for money. I’m quite happy with it. The last photo is the bottom. She has ceramic pieces she and son made and needed the squares 2.25”. So without border it’s 18×18”.

Walnut / Hard maple. 2 coats minwax wipe on poly and briwax polish. One thing I need to fix and advice on is one of the corner mitres opened up. I want to tint some epoxy to fill the crack. I have a oil based walnut stain but I wasn’t sure how it might react with the epoxy. Any tips on what works best to tint epoxy for this or a different type repair. Thanks for looking and tips appreciated.

Oh, the assembly method was to make a groove and spline that went around the edges. I learned to never put glue on the splines as they swell really quick and actually forced me to abort my first attempt and make a new border since I couldn’t get anything to line up or even move for that matter. My friend thought it was the glue setting up real fast but I realized right away and demonstrated just by wetting the splines to show how fast they “set” in position. Anyway, that’s the story and that’s what I learned.

-- Nathan Ward, Fort Saskatchewan, AB

8 comments so far

View John's profile


341 posts in 4604 days

#1 posted 07-28-2010 03:45 AM


-- John - Central PA -

View Alan's profile


443 posts in 4211 days

#2 posted 07-28-2010 05:35 AM

Looks great. I don’t really know why the corner mitres opened up, maybe due to different wood movement with change in grain direction?? If you don’t get an answer with the project you might want to post the question in the forum.

-- Alan, Prince George

View lilredweldingrod's profile


2496 posts in 3913 days

#3 posted 07-28-2010 06:03 AM

Hello Nathan,
What about sanding some of the wood used in the miter and mix the dust with the epoxy. You will need to “push” the mixture into the space. Maybe a small putty knife? I hope this is a bit of help. Good luck on a very nice chess board. Rand

View Maveric777's profile


2694 posts in 3883 days

#4 posted 07-28-2010 02:44 PM

Good looking chess set Nathan. As far as the miter splines go I ran into similar issues on a couple of boxes. I am sure there is most likely better advice here on LJ (I’m still new myself) but I found making my splines just thick enough to pass into the slot without force worked for me. I made them a tad snug (I wanted it tight fit) at first and had big issues getting them in place with glue on them. Hope that helps….

-- Dan ~ Texarkana, Tx.

View Monty Queen's profile

Monty Queen

1594 posts in 4058 days

#5 posted 07-28-2010 05:33 PM

Awesome job on your chess board, looks fantastic.

-- Monty Q, Columbia, South Carolina.

View bondogaposis's profile


5804 posts in 3158 days

#6 posted 05-07-2012 07:29 PM

Nice looking chessboard. The problem with the miters opening up is due to the design, which does not allow for wood movement. If you had left the border off you would not have had a problem. The problem comes from the fact that wood moves almost not at all in the longitudinal direction, your mitered pieces will not change in length. The squares however will expand and contract with every change in humidity as wood moves most in the tangential direction, that is in width because they are plane sawn. Had each of the squares been quarter sawn then you could have cut wood movement in half width wise, but you still would have the same problem just to a lesser degree. One possible solution might be on your next one is to allow the board to “float” in some sort of construction similar to a panel door. For this one I think filling w/ epoxy is going to work to a degree but I wouldn’t be surprised if somewhere down the road another miter opens up. I don’t mean to be too critical here, you did a really nice job. I just want be helpful and point out the why of your open miter so you can take it into consideration for the next one.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View Rex B's profile

Rex B

320 posts in 3057 days

#7 posted 05-07-2012 08:00 PM

See here for more info on what Bondo is talking about. Basically, because wood expands/contracts more across the grain than along the grain, as the seasons change this board will become very slightly rectangular, then square again, etc.

I don’t know it there will be any permanent fix for the problem. That said, I would be very interested to hear what could be done to make a board that looks the same but won’t experience this issue. It certainly is a very nice looking board.

-- Rex

View Theewoodworking's profile


106 posts in 1727 days

#8 posted 02-05-2016 02:05 PM

Nice chessboard

My wood project

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