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Project Information

I had a request to make a chess board. Never having done this before, I thought it would be quite a challenge. It actually went really well and was a lot of fun. Nice diversion from cabinet building.

I started by making a 2" strip of plywood with a sandpaper bottom to be used as a cutting guide. And then sharpened my veneer saw. I cut 2" strips of maple and rosewood veneers to make the field. I then taped these together in an alternating sequence. Next back to the strip saw setup to make more 2" strips for the checker board pattern. I taped up the pattern, flipped it over, added veneer tape over all the seams, and then removed the blue tape from the first side.

I spread glue on a piece of ½ inch MDF that was slightly larger, and placed the pattern. I glued a sheet of cherry veneer on the bottom. Then off to the vacuum press for an hour. I cut the board to size, removed the veneer tape, added a walnut boarder, sanded, put a top and bottom chamfer all around the outside, and applied a finish.

I am very happy with the result. There are no gaps, even though I just used a veneer saw. And it went quite quickly. I could see myself building another one someday.

Steve

Gallery

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Well done !....The rosewood and maple contrast perfectly. Thank you for a detailed explanation
 

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Hi Steve,

That looks more like a checkers board to me.

Nice job though.

Lee
 

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Sweet! Having never done veneer work, your details lend quite a bit of knowledge.

The board look great - job well done!

Cheers,

-bob
 

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You are right Lee. It is for checkers.
 

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very elegant. is there a sub-strut the veneer is mounted onto?
 

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Nice work Steve! You made it look so easy with your step by step photos that I might try one myself sometime. That maple was very white and it looks great with the rosewood (just echoing kdc68) but it does. A good sharp veneer saw is adequate in the hands of a master!
 

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Hey Purp,
Just straight on top of MDF. The tape keeps it from shifting.
I used glue from VeneerSupplies.com, and also their foam roller to spread it. Really easy.

Here it is in my press with a caul on top, but just using clamps would work as well.
.
 

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Hey Mike and KDC,
The maple is quarter sawn maple veneer so it does not have any swirls in the grain. I really like it. I used it to make the panels for my bathroom cabinets. The main problem is that it only comes like boards - 5 to 8 inches wide.

These guys are a great source of veneer. Really helpful family kind of place. And they charge a flat rate of $10 for shipping smallish orders - like under a couple hundred board feet.
http://www.certainlywood.com/

Steve
 

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Very nice, Steve. I use the same technique with solid wood, but I think I'm way too ham-handed to pull it off with veneer.

By the way, what's the difference between a checkers board and a chess board???
 

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Hey Charlie,
I don't think there is a difference between checkers and chess boards. The request was for a checkers board though, so that is what I made.

Lots of trouble with solid wood boards like this. If you do edge grain like this one, you are gluing endgrain to endgrain. And then you also have wood movement. You could do it with the endgrain pointing up, but then you have a cutting board. Cutting boards remain flat and don't have much movement because they are constantly oiled. But an oiled checkers board is kind of weird - I think. But what do I know?

I guess you could build it with individual 1/4" thick squares glued to a substrate, but then you just have really thick veneer.

Steve
 

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very cool! need to make one of those at some point.

by the way - the difference between a chess board and checkers board is that "chess board" uses less characters to spell out ;)
 

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Putting the finishing touches on one made from 1/2 inch maple and walnut - not really concerned about movement, as many others have made them the same way.
 

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Beautiful board, Steve. As perfect as I've ever seen. Nice choice of veneers!!.............Merry Christmas, Jim
 

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Dave,
Nice to know. I guess I have seen solid wood ones on LJs. I really don't know much, but Fine Woodworking recommended veneer so that is what I went with. It was nice and quiet to work with too. And fast, basically built in an afternoon.

Steve
 

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You are the man Steve. Like all your work, it has that fine woodworking, excellent craftsmanship look about it. Well done. Since I didn't comment there, I will say that your blog on shop jigs was pretty cool too. Between you and Wilson (blackcherry) I can't decide who wins the ingenuity prize.
 

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Great job, and love the craftsmanship
 

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Steve, I've made a number of them from solid wood and had no issues, including these two:



 

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That's a beauty, Steve!

I've never tried veneering- looks like fun.
 

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Yikes Charlie! Those are beautiful. I think I remember them being posted here. Not fair, showing me up like that in my own post. :)

I don't want to get into a tussle over veneer vs solid. I saw an article in FWW that steered me to veneer. And it was faster, cheaper, quieter, and came out great. I was shocked. And this was just made from scraps that I already had.

Here is a quote from that article:
If you haven't worked with veneer, you may be tempted to make your game board from thick squares of solid wood. Don't. You'll have to contend both with wood movement and weak end-grain joints. Veneer is much easier to cut accurately, and is easy to apply to a stable MDF substrate.

But hey, he is just probably a veneer guy anyway. But he scared me into a fun project.

Steve
 
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