Drop leaf chess table and chess set

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Project by rilanda posted 07-07-2012 06:00 PM 3214 views 3 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made this table about 5 years ago as a Christmas present for my wife’s cousin, she had wanted her own chess set for a number of years. The main sections of the table was made with European Oak a variety known locally as Pippy Oak (sometimes referred to as Cat Paw Oak) because of the numerous small knots within it. The playing surface was made of American Black Walnut (dark squares) and Sycamore (light squares), These were 50mm square, and 6mm thick obviously a high degree of accuracy was required to avoid “creep” in the row and/or columns. These were glued to 9 mm thick ply with a corresponding layer of squares glued to the underside of the top. PVA was my choice of adhesive for the whole table the square were placed and “rubbed” into position, avoiding the use of a press and the risk of movement of the squares in the press, The legs were tapered using a jig and a straight template cutter in 1/2” router, as you will see from the photos the legs had a small spade end for feet. All joints on the table tops and main frame were hand cut mortice and tenon, the T & G boards in the drop leaves were hand made and tongued into the table frames, the centre top playing surface was also tongued into the playing surface. The table contained 2 drawers that passed one below below the other, these were all hand cut dovetails all round and were on timber runners recessed into the drawer sides. The drop leaves were supported on lopers that hinged away from the end rails, these hinges were hand made using 6mm brass rod as a hinge pin.
The chess pieces were my own design, the larger pieces about 100mm high and 38mm diameter. The dark pieces were made from Laburnum, the lighter pieces were Sycamore, they were all turned and finished on my lathe using a friction polish. The knights were made by turning the bases on the lathe with a 6mm hole to take a spigot that was turned onto the base of the head before being carved and shaped by hand.
The table was finish using 2 coats of a cellulose sander sealer, and 2 coats of Melamine lacquer. Finally a wax coat was applied with a very fine abrasive pad to give the table a low luster and a nice “feel”.

-- Bill, Nottingham. Remember its not waiting for the storm to end, but learning to dance in the rain that counts. If you dont make mistakes, you make nothing at all.

8 comments so far

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

22904 posts in 3527 days

#1 posted 07-07-2012 07:34 PM

Bill, that is an outstanding table and chess set. You do some real fine work!! thanks for sharing!!........Jim

Say hi to the sheriff…...................... from Robin

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View sras's profile


5115 posts in 3550 days

#2 posted 07-07-2012 09:25 PM

Very nice! I like the creativity of the drawer layout. Chess pieces look great too!

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View luv2learn's profile


2949 posts in 2724 days

#3 posted 07-07-2012 09:25 PM

Great table and chess set. I really like your choice of materials.

-- Lee - Northern idaho~"If the women don't find you handsome, at least they ought to find you handy"~ Red Green

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3309 days

#4 posted 07-07-2012 10:59 PM

Simply beautiful.


-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View MoreWoodPlease's profile


95 posts in 3594 days

#5 posted 07-08-2012 12:58 PM

Wow! That is some great work. Beautiful. I want to make a set myself in the very near future. How long did it take to make the pieces for the set?
Thanks for sharing.

-- Integrity is who we are when no one else is watching.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3288 days

#6 posted 07-08-2012 03:08 PM

Bill, this is so nice and very impressive. Congratulations.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View David's profile


199 posts in 3085 days

#7 posted 07-20-2012 04:14 PM

Wow, very nice. This is on my bucket list of woodworking projects.

-- Perilous to all of us are the devices of an art deeper than we ourselves possess. --Gandalf the Grey

View  woodshaver Tony C   's profile

woodshaver Tony C

6689 posts in 3774 days

#8 posted 08-28-2012 10:44 PM

I played this game when I was younger and had people to play with. No one around to play with now. I had a plastic set nothing like your beautiful work of art I see here. You did an ecellent job on this entire project!
Maybe if I build it they will come!
Great work !
Thanks for sharing!


-- St Augustine FL, Experience is the sum of our mistakes!

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