This is Part 1 of a 15-page tutorial (in three parts) that will show you how to build an heirloom-quality, all-wood chess or checkers board with just a few small pieces of lumber. (Use the page navigation at the bottom of each post to change pages within each part.)
This part covers planning through first layer glue-up. You can also:
- Skip to Part 2 (5 pages), which covers cutting the squares through planning the inlay.
- Skip to Part 3 (4 pages), which covers cutting the inlay through finishing.
- See a gallery of reader-built chess boards here: Reader-built Chess Boards
This is a great project for using up some small, otherwise unusable pieces of wood you may have laying around your shop. It’s very easy to build even with woodworking hobbyist tools, and it doesn’t consume a lot of expensive wood. The method described here will result in a handsome board with perfectly aligned squares, a sophisticated (but simple) inlay, and a polished finish.
Tools Used For This Project
- Hand plane
- Yellow wood glue
- Six 24-inch bar clamps
- Four C-clamps
- Ryobi BT3100 table saw (with router table attachment)
- Shop-made crosscut sled
- Glue brushes
- Grizzly 14” band saw
- Ryobi handheld belt sander
- Dewalt handheld router
- Pattern router bit
- Combination square
- Porter-Cable 557 biscuit jointer
- Tung oil finish
- Wax finish
- Clean cloth rags
- Small human buffer (you’ll see…)