Two-In-One: Chess Board and Chess Pieces

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Project by drlamb posted 11-16-2021 03:13 PM 812 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch

These are actually part of two separate projects, both the subjects of classes I taught at the local Lee Valley Tools in Kelowna BC. The first was a pyrography project on a basswood slab. I wanted to teach the basics of pyrography, showing how to create different textures. The common way to do it is to make up a practice board, usually on plywood, made up of 1” squares that get filled with different ways to shade or texture an area on an art piece. I thought that the concept was great, but it would be even better if the students also got a finished piece out of the deal too, and decided that I would instead let the texture/shade areas be the dark squares of a chess/checker board. There was also enough room on the ends to do a decorative motif, which I burned then coloured with some brush pens.

The second project was a beginners carving/whittling class where over the course of 2 hours, the students would learn all the basic cuts necessary to learn how to carve chess pieces out of a 1/2” maple dowel. Most students had enough time to finish one and sometimes two pieces during the class. As I taught quite a few of these classes over a couple of weeks, I was able to assemble a full set of chess pieces of both colours. Oh, and the dark pieces are also carved out of the maple dowel, but I also showed them how to make a really rich brown stain using instant coffee granules and water – about 2-3 Tbsp of granules to a teaspoon of water gives a very concentrated stain that smells great! I used a spray semi-gloss varnish over top to seal and protect the pieces. I have a PDF write-up of the carving instructions and patters available for free to anyone who wants a copy…just message me!

-- Dan

3 comments so far

View TxSurveyor's profile


110 posts in 226 days

#1 posted 11-16-2021 04:28 PM

Looks great!

-- Will, TX -- "You may all go to hell and I will go to Texas" - Davy Crockett

View Woodforbrains's profile


64 posts in 77 days

#2 posted 11-18-2021 05:50 PM

Great work! did you whittle extra queens?

-- Go team!

View drlamb's profile


18 posts in 3716 days

#3 posted 11-28-2021 04:21 PM

No extra queens were whittled – but it is pretty quick and easy to do. If anyone is interested in a PDF of instructions for whittling the chess pieces I’d be happy to share – just message me.

-- Dan

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