Anyone make their own chess set?

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Dave Poehlman, Jun 19, 2007.

  1. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    My son just learned how to play chess... and I had some scrap wood lying around.. so I put together a chess board with some spare plywood to replace the cheap plastic one we've got:

    [​IMG]

    I'm really surprised how well it turned out considering just a few days ago it was a piece of 1/4" plywood lying on my garage floor and the only tools used were a miter saw and a circular saw.

    So, now I'd like to hand craft some pieces for it... or at the very least find some unfinished ones that I could stain to match the board. I'm not a carver by trade.. I'd probably sever an artery if I attempted whittling. [​IMG] Surprisingly there's not a lot out on the web about making your own pieces.

    I stopped by a local craft store to see if they had some sort of beads and dowels I could glue together into pieces. They had some that could work.. but not enough to make an entire set.

    Anyone out there make a set of their own?
     
  2. ZacharyTait

    ZacharyTait Cinematographer

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  3. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Yeah, that book came up in a few of my searches. Maybe I'll check it out.

    Part of the challenge is I want them to all appear as a set... not a hodge-podge of styles. I did find this page, however:

    http://www.craftparts.com/mall/Little_People.asp

    I could use these as pawns:
    [​IMG]
    They have a taller version that could represent the king...

    and I could use these as bishops:
    [​IMG]

    and they have a taller version that could represent the queen.

    But then I'm faced with the problem of what to use as a knight.. and a castle. I suppose I could saw the head off of the "boy" shape and put some sort of castle top on 'em. I'd prefer the knight to resemble a horse to stick with the Staunton style (I'm learning so much about chess pieces here. [​IMG] ) because it's easy to identify. Plus, most of these pieces are pretty skinny. I'd have to find some sort of base to stick 'em in.
     
  4. Greg_R

    Greg_R Screenwriter

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    Look in your area for a Rockler or Woodcraft... they have a lot of dowel and wood bead options for sale. They also sell carving equipment (and usually offer classes) if you really wanted to get into it...
     
  5. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    Many many years ago, when I was 11 or 12, me and a friend (or is it "a friend and I"?) Made our own chess board (but not nearly as nice as yours) out of necessity. We needed a board with 4" squares as we decided to use Matchbox cars as our pieces. His were all foreign cars, mine American. I think I used a bunch of Ford Falcons for Pawns, a couple of Chevy trucks for Rooks, a pair of Mustangs (what else?!!) for Knights. a Lincoln Continental conv as the King, and I painted a Cadillac pink (the first Mary Kay car?) for the Queen. On his side I remember Volkswagon Beetles. Ferrari's, and a Rolls or Jag for the King. It took a few weeks of riding our bikes to all the dime stores in the East Bay looking for just the right pieces. After putting it all together we only played it a few times and then lost interest. Kids.
     
  6. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    That's a good story, Gene. I'm also considering having my son build some out of legos to tie us over.

    I'm amazed there aren't any kits out there. With all the pieces precut and unfinished, it's a great craft project for kids to paint/stain and glue together.

    [thought to self] Hmm... perhaps I should market this. [/thought to self]
     
  7. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Nothing to add here, but very nice!

    Jay
     
  8. Chris Lockwood

    Chris Lockwood Producer

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    They have chess sets in stores now.

    I'm too busy mining my own salt to make a chess set, too.
     
  9. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Okay.. I happened to swing by my local home improvement center today and, just out of curiousity, I found some wooden wheels that would work as bases and some tiny balusters to work as "bodies".

    Later in the day, I happened to be going past the local craft store and found some finials and some spools.

    So, here's my prototypes for a rook, bishop and a pawn:

    [​IMG]

    The wood from the craft store seems cheaper than the wood from the home improvement place, so, I don't know how they'll look when stained.

    The spool on top of the rook is cut in half. I had to do this by hand.. so, it looks a little rough. I have to figure out how to cut that accurately. I'd also like to cut some notches in the top to give it that castle look.. but, I don't own a scroll saw, so I'm not sure how to pull that off.

    I have some ideas for a king and possibly a queen... I'm still stumped on the knights.
     
  10. PhillJones

    PhillJones Second Unit

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  11. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Here's the full set.. unfinished:

    [​IMG]

    I thought about your idea about the horsehead cutout for the knights, Phill. But, I wanted something a little more three-dimensional. Although, I'm not completely sold on the "half-egg" shape I've got now... it gets the point across though, I suppose.
     
  12. BrianW

    BrianW Cinematographer

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    Dave, that looks pretty good!
     
  13. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    Thanks, Brian.

    Turns out, HOBBY LOBBY wound up being the "go to" place for parts. They even had unfinished checker pieces:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Jay H

    Jay H Producer

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    Not to be picky... (ahh who am I kidding.. this is being picky [​IMG]) but the correct orientation of a chess board is that the white square is always on the players right. So your picture it seems, shows the wrong orientation of the pieces since your right rook is on a black square...

    Jay
     
  15. Dave Poehlman

    Dave Poehlman Producer

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    You're right, Jay. LOL.. here's a picture of the finished product with stain that should also drive you nuts. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    The whole thing has a hand-crafted look that looks pretty handsome on my coffee table, I must say.

    If anyone is looking for a parts list, let me know.
     

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