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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Some time back, I posted info about a project that involved building a chess/checker board. It was conventional in scope, but did involve some interesting construction tricks that made it different from the run of the mill. Read about it at:

http://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f13/chess-checkers-board-24609/

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 inward, 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 face each other across a valley and march downhill, battle on the slopes and in the valley, 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 smooth the frame sides, and the glue used was PL construction poly, which allowed me to set the squares within a 30-minute work window. To keep them uniformly separated I used tongue-depressor style hobby sticks, cut down and inserted in the gaps. A photo in the earlier article referenced above show how the sticks can be used.

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), and installed lead fishing sinkers held in place by two-part epoxy. That gave them some serious heft.

Howard Ferstler
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Jerry. One thing I like about the PL construction adhesive is that for a decent bond solid clamping is not required. Clamping would be in order if the pieces were going to be under strain, but given the way they are used simply pushing them down hard after coating the bottoms lightly with the adhesive will do the trick. To keep them separated while I push, I use spacers between them as I go along.

I have attached a photo of how the tabs were used with the earlier board. (The two far edges initially had boards clamped in place to keep the pieces aligned along those edges; after the pieces were in place I could remove the boards and clamps.) Once the glue dried, I pulled the tabs and used the table saw to cut the two other edges of the mounting board just close enough to give me the same spacing along the edge as I got with the tabs between pieces.

I made a point of having the visible edges of the darker pieces be side grain, because the end grain edges were too dark. The lighter pieces were unstained, and I made a point of picking the ones that had minimal dark/light grain lines on their end-grain edges so as to not make those edges look odd. The lacquer did not cause the end-grain edges to darken appreciably more than all the other surfaces.

MidKnight. I have only made items on demand in a few situations. This board will either go to the consignment store I normally use or go to an art gallery that will hopefully take it on for display along with my collage wall art. Most galleries do not handle JUST pieces like this, but if an artist has wall art in quantity they might take on table items, too. The local galleries here feature art pieces for sale at MUCH higher prices than my consignment outlet.

Sanchez. Yes, no matter how the pieces are colored or not colored, it is aesthetically best to have them at 90-degree positioning. If all the pieces are the same height this is no big deal. However, if a stair-step design is used the end grain of the pieces showing that grain has to be carefully selected to minimize weird-looking edges. I have to confess that during my assembly I chose one light piece that had a funny edge (I should have spotted it), with dark/light alternations, and it shows. No big deal, but it is the only flaw that bothers me.

Al. OK, you found me out.

Howard
 

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