Chess Board: Project Info

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This is the introductory page for a paid video series. Want to watch more of this project? Select the best option below to get started.


Have you ever wanted to make a chess board for your own use, or as a gift? Making a chess board trains you in various aspects of accurately dimensioning stock, geometric arrangement and exacting joinery. This includes many interesting extra details and a high level of finish.

The tools you will need are:

  • Knife
  • Square
  • Combination gauge or marking gauge
  • *Cutting gauge
  • Tape/Ruler (or both)
  • *Micrometer (optional but very useful)
  • Sliding bevel
  • Chisel hammer
  • Chisels (1″ & 1/4” for spline)
  • Smoothing plane (No 4)
  • Plough Plane
  • Handsaw
  • Tenon saw
  • No 80 Cabinet Scraper
  • Card scraper
  • Hand drill/drill driver
  • Small steel hammer
    * = optional

Joints List:

  • Mitre (with optional hand-cut dovetailed spline)


  1. STEVE MASSIE on 8 July 2016 at 12:33 pm

    Oh I am so looking forward to this project. My Grandson loves playing chess and I have all way’s wanted to learn. Looks like a fun project and can’t wait for next Wednesday to come.


  2. brianpburch on 8 July 2016 at 1:48 pm

    I am so looking forward to this project and plan on building one for my son and I to use. Thank you for all you offer us Paul.

    Brian Burch

  3. Mexiquite on 8 July 2016 at 9:46 pm

    I used to pay chess with my dad growing up in Zacatecas and would love to make one for him. Looking forward to this project and making a dovetail spline.


    Caleb Pendleton

  4. knightlylad on 8 July 2016 at 10:02 pm

    Good idea, I love chess.

  5. billlatt on 8 July 2016 at 10:30 pm

    I’ve been wanting to make one of these since before I became a woodworker.

  6. Tony Acero on 9 July 2016 at 4:54 am

    What an exciting project, can’t wait!!

  7. mertle509 on 9 July 2016 at 6:40 am

    This looks great, I am officially the worlds worst chess player so what better an excuse to try to improve.

    Thank you


  8. beach512 on 9 July 2016 at 11:22 am

    Great project! I love all the little details that will make this a really special piece like the dovetail spline. Look forward to seeing how this will all be done. I plan to make one as I know it is designed so that the skills learned with translate into other projects. Starting to gather my wood now. Thanks!

  9. Dan Roper on 9 July 2016 at 11:24 am

    One of my most treasured possessions is a chess board that my father built for me over 40 years ago. Dad built the board and Mom made the chess pieces. It was/is a stunning piece of work by my parents who are gone now. I encourage anyone who has a desire to leave something to treasure …. build this board with Paul for someone you love.


  10. Sandy on 9 July 2016 at 12:32 pm

    I was never a very good Chess Player but the project looks like a good one and I do know someone who would love to have on of these… But that’s why I make most of my projects, to give them away. This looks like a fun one. I’ll be patiently waiting till Wednesday

  11. davedev on 11 July 2016 at 9:31 pm

    I will love to make this one Paul. I have several chess-playing relatives and it will make ideal presents.

  12. petervalcanas on 19 July 2016 at 10:11 pm

    I love this project. I already have the stock but was wondering about movement. Everything looks like a real tight fit. Are there any chances the squares will crack with no room to move?
    Just a beginners silly question.

    As always, thanks!

  13. 5ivestring on 26 March 2019 at 12:00 am

    Hi T eam Sellers,

    I’m one of the people who requested the chess board project, a long time ago. After watching how Paul made the board, I very quickly realized it was beyond my ability at the time. Might still be. But I’m at the point that I want to give it a try now.

    I saw on another website, yes they do exist, a guy who built a board and showed it a year later with one corner blown out from the pieces expanding.

    So, I have a question for you. Has your board had any problems? I’ve had two minor projects that did have bad results. Both took over 4 years to show up, but none the less, I had contraction on two projects, keepsake boxs, where the top pulled back some. I had moved from the beach inland 30 miles and a few months later, boom.

    So, should I be aware of anything here for the chess board? I’m finding out wood has the strength of superman when it wants to move.


    • Izzy Berger on 27 March 2019 at 3:39 pm

      Hi Gary,

      Thank you for getting in touch, I passed on your question to Paul and his answer is below:

      This is a good question. This would be a common problem when people cut solid wood to make up a chess board. Chess boards don’t lend themselves to solid wood construction because the wood expands and contracts at a different rate. In my case, I made veneers to form a panel which are constrained and don’t expand and contract because the substrate prevents it.

      Kind Regards,

  14. Parker White on 12 November 2021 at 2:50 am

    I love hand made chess boards. I think that you should make a video on making chess pieces.

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