Chess board - Three Dimensional

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Project by ferstler posted 05-20-2013 10:23 PM 3039 views 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Some time back, I posted info about a project that involved building a chess board. It was conventional in scope, but did involve some interesting construction tricks. Read about it at:

OK, now I have built another one. This is a “3D board,” with the front ranks at either edge higher up than the next rank, and the next after that lower still. Only the two central ranks are down at the lower level. The result is a battlefield where the two armies march downhill, battle in the plain, and then scale the heights of the enemy to win the war.

As with the earlier board, this one is made up of select pine pieces, roughly 2 inches square and 0.75 inch high. However, they are mounted on mdf strips, themselves mounted on an mdf bottom board, that allow for the slopes on the top. The cuts were basic, using both a table saw and miter saw, with a jointer to smooth the pine boards prior to cutting them into chunks, and the glue used was PL construction poly, which allowed me to set the squares with a 30-minute work time. To keep them uniformly separated I used tongue-depressor style hobby sticks, cut down and inserted in the gaps.

The dark squares were stained with Minwax Red Mahogany and the lighter ones were not stained at all. The frame around the perimeter is redwood (reclaimed) and it is also not stained. Once the glue work was done I hit the thing with five coats of Deft semi-gloss spray lacquer. I used Minwax spray varnish on the earlier board, which explains why in the comparison photo it has the lighter squares being somewhat yellower than with the new board

The new board is not only thicker than the earlier one, but is also bigger overall, and it weighs considerably more, too.

I did not make the chess pieces in the comparison photo, but I did purchase ready-made jobs constructed of pine and I drilled into the bottoms (basically hollowing them out), installing lead fishing sinkers held in place by two-part epoxy. That gave them some serious heft.

Howard Ferstler

5 comments so far

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 5171 days

#1 posted 05-20-2013 11:55 PM

An interesting field of battle, nicely done. Does it feel much different when you play it?

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Tim's profile


273 posts in 3316 days

#2 posted 05-21-2013 06:11 AM

Wow 3-D thats awesome. Great work its amazing.

-- No tree was harmed in the making of this project...... wait a minute, yes there was, uh oh

View Sanding2day's profile


1018 posts in 3305 days

#3 posted 05-21-2013 03:39 PM

Cool board… And neat concept adding the extra weight to the pieces… Thanks for sharing…

-- Dan

View ferstler's profile


342 posts in 4979 days

#4 posted 05-21-2013 05:40 PM

Mark, I have not played with it yet. I keep the other board (the flat-field one) loaded and ready to go, and to tell the truth I will probably keep the 3D board in temporary storage with some of the wood collages I have been building, and continue building. I may build a third board, too, and am tempted to build one with an even steeper pair of gradients. Once I have a portfolio of items ready I hope to get a local art gallery or two interested in showing the stuff off. I would imagine that some players would get a kick out of it. At the worst it could be outfitted with pieces and put on display as a conversation piece.

Thanks to Timzo and Sanding2day for those nice comments.

I am retired (70 years old) and my wife is pressing me to get a part-time job. (Have been retired for almost ten years, now.) I am hoping that if my various items earn money she will give up on the idea.

View JimArnoldChess's profile


210 posts in 4453 days

#5 posted 05-23-2013 10:37 AM

Nice twit and great looking board.


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