Chess Board: Episode 4

Chess Board 4

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Having done a dummy run to check the fit, Paul glues the top onto the substrate board using cam clamps (see how to make them here) making sure everything is tight and lined up. Once that has been left to set overnight, there is the final fit of the skirt before it is glued in place. The skirt is planed and scraped flush before the final scraping of the surfaces. Then Paul shows how to fit an optional dovetail spline to the corners.

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  1. STEVE MASSIE on 3 August 2016 at 4:49 pm

    Really enjoyed this project Paul it turned out really nice. When I am able I will be making ( 3 ) of these, ( 1 ) each for my Son, Grandson and me. I liked the handout Dovetail splines at each corner, added some class to an all ready classy Chess Board.

    I haven’t made any of those clamps yet but I think about 12 to start, they seemed to work amazingly well.


  2. beach512 on 3 August 2016 at 5:09 pm

    Great episode! I really love the hand cut dovetail splines and I plan to do that on mine. You won’t see that demonstrated anywhere but in these masterclasses. My miters did not come out as nice but they are very close and I still have a great piece. I have learned so much from watching and building along during this series. One of the most challenging projects I have ever attempted but my skills have improved. I may build another based on what I could do better now. Thanks so much for this project. One of my favorites. Paul, your finished board looks beautiful! What a wonderful combination of wood and grain patterns.

  3. Eddy Flynn on 3 August 2016 at 6:43 pm

    fantastic project, thank you so much for your dedication to the art teaching, your attention to detail is amazing

  4. David B on 3 August 2016 at 10:04 pm

    man, I gotta make some cam clamps! Beautiful chessboard. It’ll take me a while before I’m ready to tackle it but it’s on my list!

  5. knightlylad on 3 August 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Thank you for the lessons on this great project.

  6. david o'sullivan on 3 August 2016 at 11:26 pm

    i love it.

  7. 5ivestring on 4 August 2016 at 1:24 am

    I am so glad you did this project. The techniques you used are going to be a real challenge for me as I am still learning. But each time I do something I’m getting better and better. If it weren’t for the accuracy, I could do this type of build no problem. It’s the “spot on” accuracy I am after and just lately, I’m getting it. Going slow, taking my time, enjoying the process is the key for me. Stopping and taking a break if I find myself starting to hurry or accept lesser accuracy and then coming back fresh and going for the perfection.

    I think the dovetail spline alone was worth the whole build. That can be used so many places in the projects I like doing.


  8. Gary on 5 August 2016 at 8:33 am

    I believe I’ll do as you said you were going to do and build a table that this will fit on. I may also make another interchangeable top with a backgammon board. A great lesson! Thanks to you and your team.
    Gary Blair
    Lander, Wyoming

  9. Joseph Palas on 6 August 2016 at 12:57 am

    Wonderful series – I just ordered some Ebony to go with some quilted maple. I’m excited to finally make a chessboard!

  10. Mooncabbage on 8 August 2016 at 1:49 pm

    I like the idea of using this as a side table of sorts, with the top left loose to lift up, with the game pieces stored below. Now Paul just needs to show us how to turn the pieces and carve the knights!

  11. James Savage on 8 August 2016 at 3:02 pm

    Something I’ve always wanted to make is a Chess table with drawers to store the pieces, thank you for this project.

  12. drdee1280 on 8 August 2016 at 5:46 pm

    I’d also like to echo the sentiments above. Will you be showing us how to make the actual chess pieces? I have found some plans on the internet, but they all involve a lathe…Thanks for your patience.

  13. arnold on 13 August 2016 at 6:01 pm

    love it love it love it. I never get tired of watching this man work. and I learn and learn. thanks paul for all your efferts

  14. David B on 27 February 2018 at 7:29 pm

    I have now made 2 of these and have been very pleased with the results. The biggest challenges have been: 1) gluing up the strips—while the tape works nicely, making sure all edges are square is critical to having seamless joint lines, 2) it seems inevitable that a couple of strips will not glue correctly and break and I must re-glue them (likely a result of imperfectly square edges). 3) getting perfect mitres on the border without ending up too short takes a lot of finagling for me and I have probably relied on excessive clamping force to make sure everything seats perfectly.

    I have given both boards that I made away to friends’ kids who are learning the game. The last one took me about 4 months to complete—mainly because 1) it got too cold and I didn’t want to be in the wood shop in freezing temperatures, and 2) anxiety about finishing and fear of things not fitting perfectly. I need to make a new shooting board.

    And I too love the splines—they are a nice accent.

  15. mark leatherland on 16 August 2020 at 11:33 pm

    I love playing chess. I’ve made this for my regular opponent who is my friend and it’s his 50th birthday present which I am sure will be appreciated. Thanks for the first class instruction. I am very pleased with the outcome and the skills learned in the making. Particularly cutting the mitre joints gave me great satisfaction and confidence for the future

  16. Colin Wheeler on 27 January 2022 at 6:17 pm

    I am really enjoying this project, I haven’t quite finished it yet (I still have the frame to make) but thought I would share a couple of things. I was pleased to see Paul make a jig for getting the pieces to thickness as I had made a similar jig to thickness some slats for louvre doors I was making. My jig needed a slight modification to take the wider pieces and worked a treat. I got tolerances around a quarter of a millimetre. Paul didn’t tell us how he got his pieces to width but I made yet another jig, which worked on the long grain as well as the cross grain pieces and I got even better tolerances of about a tenth of a millimetre. Although I spoilt that a bit trying to eradicate some tiny gaps. Today’s job was the second glue up and rather than the way Paul did, tape then glue, tape then glue etc. I clamped the pieces, using the method Paul did, then adjusted and taped all the pieces on the face side, flipped it over just the once, applied the glue and clamped up again. Didn’t bother with any tape on the non face side, just kept hammering them down as I progressively tightened the wedges. I have now left it with some weights on to stop any buckling up and have to try to keep my hands off it until tomorrow.

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