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Chess Table II

7855 Views 42 Replies 18 Participants Last post by  TwoSkies57
Welp, finally got her finished up. As some may recall about a year ago I made a chess table for a good friend. When I delievered the table, another friend came over to check it out. Right away he asked, quite convincingly I might add, that I build him a table. After a few conversations going back and forth over what he wanted, we came to an agreement and this is the end result.
The chess board is comprised of African Blood wood and American Holly. the table top is figured cherry, the body is comprised of 6 layers of white oak and a veneer of figured cherry. Line work is American Holly. Pedestal and legs are cherry.
The chess table is made up of 3/16" thick squares, 2 1/8". Once glued up, I took and had it vacuum pressed onto a 1/2" sheet of baltic birch. I could have pressed it myself but thought to give having it vac. pressed to see if there was much of a difference. Honestly at this point, can't really see any at all. Only time will tell I suppose. Surrounding the playing board is figured cherry. I chose two distinct figures to highlight the varying figures cherry can have. Since the new owner is a huge fan of cherry furniture I thought he'd enjoy seeing a bit of a difference between sides. At 1" thick, just a hair over 24"s diameter and splinned at the corners, I think it came together very nicely.
In an attempt to minimize wood movement, I cut out the center of the table, routed out where the playing board would go then fit the board into position with a few screws and glue. At their widest, the side of the top are no more than 7"s.
The body of the table was constructed using 4 layers of 1/16" thick straight grained white oak that I milled. I made a heat bending rig. I made a jig to clamp the layers to while glueup was curing.The rig for the sides was a half moon. I let sit for a couple days and when removed from the jig, springback was LESS than 1/8 of an inch. Parts sat around for a couple weeks while I worked on other things. When I got back to the table, I placed the sides back on the jig and they fit as if they were just taken off. Most cool I thought. This was my first attempt at a 'round' body. Alot of homework, a little experimenting and ALOT of holding my breath, I'm pleased with the results. Now I had two halfs to work with. each one would be a side and 1 drawer. My math was off by just a tad, and not even noticeable in the end. But lessons learned as they say. Next time around, she should be dead on.
Drawers are made to look like half-blind but are actually thru dovetailed. Let me tell ya, on a curved front, dovetailing is labor intensive when you go about it for the first time or 10. But I finally got it and the end result was most pleasing. Drawer sides and back are maple, bottom is baltic birch. Sides and back are too wide, plain and simple.. not happy with how they look, but for whatever reason, Never noticed until the drawer was glued up and I was fitting the slide. Drawer sides I went with a stopped dado and for the guides, I made the guides so that there was/is some adjustment available. Really not necessary, but this was something I thought about at the time and just went for it. Adjustment is simply a couple oblong screw holes. Worked out nicely, but again, probably overkill to most.
String inlay work on the drawer front is American Holly. For this, I used tools gotten from Lie Nielsen. Straight line cutter and a radius cutter. Was really too terribly difficult, just nerve wracking. One "uh-oh" and its back to square one with the sides. Hardware is just something I like the look of and thought it fit the piece very nicely.
Pedestal is solid cherry as are the legs/feet. Pedestal was miller on a Craftsman router crafter. A pretty slick piece of equipment. I made up a couple different pieces and went with this one only cuz it was thicker. At just over 3"s. it provides enough mass to make the table sturdy/stable. The legs/feet are pretty straight forward again, nothing fancy since I didn't want to take away from the top. Originally ball and claw feet were requested, but I just ain't there yet with carving. Besides, I didn't think that 3 feet was cool.... but that just me I suppose. I explained things to my friend, and he was cool with it...
So there ya go, a brief look at what went into it.. As always, I'd appreciate your feedback, critiques, comments and suggestions. Thanks for looking'


please excuse the residual wax in someplace, a little touch up is need before delivery tomorrow.


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Bill....this is a beautiful table. My dream is to build a really nice chess table to give my son when he graduates from Med School 2 years from now. He is a former state champion, and what you've done certainly befits a player of his caliber. If you don't mind, I'd like to incorporate your ideas in the one I build for him. Thanks for sharing. Jim
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