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Reply by JBrow

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Posted on Chess Board Buckled

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JBrow

1368 posts in 1400 days


#1 posted 07-27-2017 02:03 PM

rustin,

I agree with Loren that the chess board expanded and buckled upward since the expansion was restrained by the mitred frame. Fixing the problem would be a lot of work but may be possible.

The idea would be to release the chess board from the table, provide for some expansion of the maple and walnut that is fixed to the birch plywood substrate, and then re-attach the chess board to the table so that the chessboard sets atop the mitred frame, rather than inset in the frame.

Releasing the chess board from the frame could be done with a router and a straight bit. A groove would be routed in the mitred frame along the edge of the field of the chess board deep enough and wide enough so that the birch plywood substrate can be lifted upward and freed from the table.

Once freed from the mitred frame, the birch plywood could be cut flush to the walnut/maple squares around the perimeter. Since the walnut/maple squares are glued to the plywood and the plywood may resist expansion, kerf cuts in the plywood substrate could be introduced. The kerf cuts would be deep enough to cut through the plywood but not so deep as to cut into the walnut/maple squares. Each kerf cut would run parallel to the grain of the walnut/maple squares ideally at the joint where one row of squares meet the adjacent row of squares.

Two edges of the chess board could then be edge-banded with a hardwood strip so that the hardwood strips run parallel to the wood grain in the walnut/maple squares. The edge-glued strip would be as wide as you like but wide enough to cover the grooves routed when releasing the chess board from the table and thick enough to conceal the plywood. The edge-banding would be just long enough to be flush with the ends of the chess board. However, the edges on the ends where the end grain of the walnut/maple appear would receive no edge-glued strips.

At this point the chess board is ready for re-installation into the table, but the table must be modified to support the chess board. The support could consist of three or four stretchers that run from one side of the mitered frame to the other. Some means is needed to secure the stretchers, but without a better understanding of how the table and frame were constructed, I am of little help in identifying options for this attachment. Perhaps rabbets on the ends of the stretchers could work. Once installed, the up-side surface of the stretchers should be flush with the upper surface of the mitered frame.

Before installing the stretchers, stopped through slots would be cut into the stretchers wide enough to accept screws. The slot will accept screws that will install into the plywood chess board’s birch plywood substrate and hold the chess board in place while allowing for expansion. Pan-head screws could be used, but if the slots are chamfered, bugle head screws could be used and the screw heads would set flush with the underside of the stretchers.

At this point, the chess board can be installed in the table. The chess board would be position on the stretchers so the stretchers run perpendicular to the wood grain direction in the walnut/maple squares. One screw though the slot in the stretcher into the center of the plywood substrate between each kerf cut would provide the greatest support, but perhaps skipping every other space between the kerf cuts would be adequate.

The last step before applying finish would be to add trim strips to the mitred frame to cover the end-grain raw plywood edges. These strips could be the same width as the edge banding and long enough to be flush with the edge banding previously glued to the chess board. There should be no glue in the joint between the chess board and mitre frame installed trim strips.

The result would be an elevated chess board free to expand and contract.


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