Chess Board: Episode 1

Chess Board 1

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For the making of the Chess Board, we are focusing on hand tool methods showing how to cut and plane stock to thickness. Paul shows a couple of techniques that help to guarantee sizing. Once cut to size, the sections can be glued up to provide the contrasting strips.

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  1. petervalcanas on 13 July 2016 at 5:23 pm

    That jig is definitely going on my to do list.
    Looks like a new saw Paul. What brand is it?

    • iang on 13 July 2016 at 8:24 pm

      Believe its a Spear and Jackson Traditional, which he touches on in the following blog post:

      Anyone know what sorta oil goes in the tomato can? Silly question probably…

      • Glenn on 13 July 2016 at 8:27 pm

        I believe it is just machine oil , I use Singer 3 in 1 sewing machine oil in mine , but any sort of mchine oil is good


        • ehisey on 13 July 2016 at 10:27 pm

          Marvel Mystery oil would also probably work well.

          • iang on 14 July 2016 at 11:28 am

            Thanks Glenn, ehisey! Much appreciated

        • Alan on 15 July 2016 at 8:37 pm

          Paul s using 3-in-One general purpose oil.
          Sewing Machine oil is actually much thinner than 3-in-One.
          3-in-One should never be used on sewing machines – although it does say it’s suitable, it’s not. UNLESS you’re in the USA and using blue-cap 3-in-One, which is thinner than the UK red-cap variety.
          I hope that clears it up.

          • dancbarber on 19 July 2016 at 5:23 am

            3-in-one light machine oil has worked well for me.

    • ehisey on 13 July 2016 at 10:28 pm

      As mentioned below he has blogged on the saw. It is a new made Spear and Jackson he has been testing for as a recommendation option for new hand tool would workers.

  2. STEVE MASSIE on 13 July 2016 at 5:44 pm

    Thanks Paul and crew for this, I really like this new project, I also learned something new in how you ripped alternating ends after 10 or so strokes. I also liked the jigs you made, all in all this will be a fun project. I could see making a cutting board this way also yousing thicker wood of course.


    • Glenn on 13 July 2016 at 8:36 pm

      The Butchers chopping block is a classic example of a large square endgrain cutting board


  3. dicksters on 13 July 2016 at 6:27 pm

    I agree with Steve. Thanks, Paul; I tried a chessboard as my first project after “conversion” to hand tools. Had I known what you just taught me, it likely would not have been a disaster! – dick

    • ballinger on 20 July 2016 at 1:57 pm

      Wow, you did a chessboard as your first hand tool project. Fair play to ya, that’s a challenge. We learn much more through mistakes than getting it right I have to say (or so I keep telling myself).

  4. Sandy on 13 July 2016 at 7:55 pm

    Very good lesson Paul and crew. I’ll start working stock tonight. 🙂

  5. billblab on 13 July 2016 at 9:52 pm

    Paul, I also use homemade wooden cauls to keep a wide glue-up flat. However, I recommend placing wax paper under them to prevent any excess glue from making them a permanent part of the project. If you use “black” pipe clamps, the wax paper also protects the wood from discoloring. cheers, bill.

  6. beach512 on 13 July 2016 at 11:15 pm

    Great start to this project. I have always had a hard time ripping wood, but I will try the alternating ends after 10 strokes method. Looks like a terrific idea! Thanks.

  7. knightlylad on 13 July 2016 at 11:16 pm

    Thank you for the lesson.

  8. thumz on 14 July 2016 at 5:25 am

    Great lesson on getting all the strips down to the same thickness.

    Is there another lesson the explains how to plane all the strips down to the same width and so that they’re all square? Is it simply just a matter of putting them in the vise together all at once, flush with each other and planing them altogether all at once?

    • beach512 on 16 July 2016 at 10:59 am

      Yes, I was concerned about how to get all the strips down to exact equal width prior to glue up also. I may try to make a jig with 1.75″ high rails for the plane to ride on. I am still not the best at jointing a perpendicular edge with a plane so something like this will ensure equal width and squareness of each piece.

      • thumz on 16 July 2016 at 11:06 pm

        Thank you. Using the jig is a great idea. If you do give that a try, please let me know how it goes. I won’t be getting around to this project for a little while.

        • beach512 on 18 July 2016 at 4:51 pm

          I made a simple shooting board out of 3 pieces of scrap wood. Used a side fence positioned 1.75″ from edge and had a stop at the top while I used #4 hand plane for the edge. It worked out very well. Pieces are now all at 1.75″ and all have square edges for glue up.

          • thumz on 18 July 2016 at 4:58 pm

            I get the picture. Thanks very much for your help.

          • dreman on 18 July 2016 at 8:02 pm

            The same idea came to my mind. Thank you for confirming it.

  9. bobnt on 16 July 2016 at 2:47 am

    Lovely stuff. Your new workshop is a little brighter than the old one. Thanks for everything you do lads

  10. billlatt on 16 July 2016 at 3:15 pm

    I will definitely be attempting this project. It’s been on my “bucket list” for years.

  11. markclegg on 21 July 2016 at 9:18 am

    You saw straighter than an archer shooting an arrow

  12. 5ivestring on 24 July 2016 at 5:44 am

    I used to hate cutting with a hand saw, all my cuts came out looking like the letter C. Just lately though with your teachings and stressing not to hurry, I have finely learned to cut a straight line. Truly, I can’t believe it after all these years. And what’s more, it wasn’t hard!

  13. Nico Ricci on 1 April 2022 at 12:31 pm

    Is it possible to use the wedge system to do the glue ups in this first stage? I mean, as a clamp alternative! Thank you very much!

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