Hand Tools Archive

Re: Anyone ever build a chess set?

Warren in Lancaster, PA
About twenty years ago, I was demonstrating the pole lathe and I made pawns from hard maple. It was a nice demonstration because I could make one from start to finish within a modest attention span. Like Rum, I would say by the time you make a dozen they start to get pretty uniform. And it is not like you are wasting a lot of material. The other pieces are not so critical for uniformity because they are not lined up in a neat little row.

I have an old chess set that was my grandmother's, boxwood and ebony. Stuff like this and rosewood etc could be scraped; these are what Holtzapffel called hardwoods. Stuff like hard maple and beech, "softwoods" in Holtzapffel lingo, really out to be cut with chisel and gouge for a nice surface.

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