Hand carved/turned Chess pieces with Chess table

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Project by JimArnoldChess posted 11-10-2012 09:53 AM 10863 views 10 times favorited 25 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Just another variation on the Staunton offerings at the website. Thought I would try a four-legged table with the storage drawers. Still messing around with the drawer!

Table dimensions are 32” wide by 27” across by about 28” high. Made from Walnut taken from a very old collapsed Virginia barn and hard Maple. The chess pieces are made from some of the same barn Walnut and American Pear wood. Pear wood was used in chess pieces in Europe in the 1700 and 1800s, then it just disappeared from the chess scene. Pear wood is GREAT to carve and I am constantly searching for more.

Kings stand 5” tall, pawns about 2 and 5/8ths tall. One thing I do different from everybody else is that my knights are one-piece construction, a carved turning. Jacques, HOS, (even their over-priced $1500 sets) they have their knights made in two pieces, the base is separate from the horse body and head, for mass production considerations (the original Jacques also sent their queens and bishops to other companies for the knops (the little round balls at the very tops of those pieces). Doesn’t sound like a big deal, and my pea brain thought everybody made their knights this way, but you should see the reactions of the chess people, its the first thing they notice!

Anyway here’s the first of many I hope.

No more boring Staunton chess sets I promise! Got 6 new designs to get out over the next couple months that are more in line with my ‘normal’ fare.


25 comments so far

View icemanhank's profile


528 posts in 3069 days

#1 posted 11-10-2012 09:59 AM

Fantastic work, I love it.

-- "These are my principles. And if you don't like them, I have others." ... Cheers, David from Sydney Australia

View HillbillyShooter's profile


5811 posts in 3205 days

#2 posted 11-10-2012 01:02 PM

Nicely done—the Knights are quit destinctive. Look forward to seeing your future posts of new designs.

-- John C. -- "Firearms are second only to the Constitution in importance; they are the peoples' liberty's teeth." George Washington

View Dale 's profile


415 posts in 4093 days

#3 posted 11-10-2012 01:38 PM

Beautiful job on both the table and the players, what craftmanship. I enjoy all of your projects but I think my favorite is the War of 1812 (I’m an old sailor). With regard to this table it appears that the playing squares set slightly proud of the table top which adds to its interesting appeal. Thanks for posting, can’t wait for the next one.

-- Dale West Central Pa. Do it all, before last call.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30576 posts in 3251 days

#4 posted 11-10-2012 02:13 PM

Strength, conviction, skill and the patience of a saint

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Dennis Zongker's profile

Dennis Zongker

2836 posts in 4505 days

#5 posted 11-10-2012 03:20 PM

Very Nice Craftsmanship!!! Rich and ellegant!

-- Dennis Zongker

View BTimmons's profile


2303 posts in 3398 days

#6 posted 11-10-2012 04:32 PM

Very handsome set.

-- Brian Timmons -

View a1Jim's profile


118144 posts in 4490 days

#7 posted 11-10-2012 08:43 PM

So very impressive Jim excellent work.


View BenI's profile


333 posts in 3091 days

#8 posted 11-10-2012 09:31 PM

Great job! Looks absolutely fantastic and the drawers for the pieces was a nice touch.

-- Ben from IL

View Gpops's profile


248 posts in 4357 days

#9 posted 11-10-2012 09:37 PM

Beautiful craftsmanship. But like the card shark with the cards up his sleeve, the picture shows TWO QUEENS, that’s just not fair ! I am not playing with you. ;0) Don

View Spoontaneous's profile


1338 posts in 4243 days

#10 posted 11-10-2012 09:41 PM

Love those knights! Your work is always beautiful Jim.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View Matthew Harrold's profile

Matthew Harrold

32 posts in 3067 days

#11 posted 11-10-2012 09:49 PM

beautiful, just beautiful, and all those pieces are hand carved? i admire your work sir! very well done!- matthew

-- ''if you don't know what it does... don't f*** about with it'' - Ivan Hill, my grand farther

View JimArnoldChess's profile


210 posts in 3907 days

#12 posted 11-10-2012 10:50 PM

thanks you guys! I’m making a set of Staunton pieces that are going to be used in the championship match of the Phoenix Open Thanksgiving weekend that are similar to these. What I’ve been working towards, for the last dozen sets of these things (18 months), is to make a reproduction set based on the original drawings submitted to the British patent office in 1849 by Nathanial Cook. Even the original Jacques Staunton sets were made different from the original patent drawings so I really appreciate your comments on those guys…I still am not any good at taking pics of ‘lacquered’ stuff, the Walnut pieces are very cool, but look mottled from the light

When I finish this next set, I’ll post pics of the 1849 set, the original Jacques set alongside my rip off designs. The hard part for me is weighting them, 18 months and still using different methods and I’ve destroyed dozens of pieces along the way..getting a little better at it, still trying to come up with a jig that will hold a piece in place and allow a bit to remove almost everything inside it without marring the sides or making me have to re-sand every piece. I’ve used fishing weights from wally world to buckets of old sinkers given to me by fishermen and getting ready to just use tungsten powder and be done with it, but its expensive.

Dale, I sold that War of 1812 Set to a museum in Turkey of all places! I just updated some pics here on that one.

Gpops, I always include an ‘extra’ queen on each side for pawn promotion, like HOS and Jacques. Where I really take advantage of my friends is playing them on the themed sets when they are seeing them for the first time, they don’t have a chance!

thanks again everybody,


View Paul Mayer's profile

Paul Mayer

1136 posts in 3978 days

#13 posted 11-11-2012 12:48 AM

amazing work!

-- Paul Mayer,

View LeroyTheLips's profile


248 posts in 3160 days

#14 posted 11-11-2012 02:10 AM

That is one beautiful set

View LarryB's profile


114 posts in 3541 days

#15 posted 11-11-2012 03:31 AM

Just a thought…..would it be possible to weight your pieces before carving them?

Awesome work, Jim. You’re a true craftsmen!

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