About 5 years ago I carved my own set out of ann dowel and sticks from important trees. Now I feel inspired to take the next step and build a boardbox. This is gonna be fun.

I started by planning out the cuts. I was inspired by an article that helped me think through some of the details.

board is coming along. After cutting eight 12" boards I sanded them down and made sure the edges are flush. Next is the fun part... staining and finishing.

After two years, I finally obtained my own saw and have been able to start up again on the box. Excited to dive back into this project (see above thread for details).


It looks like I need to generate another 16 or so squares. Luckily I have spare wood, and now I have the equipment!

Did a redesign of the board, now that I'm pretty sure I can cut joints.

I'm just so pleased. I started cutting two years ago feeling certain that the squares would be all wonky. And they aren't; they're perfect. Huzzah for good equipment.

It looks the same as the last shot, but the two halves are now glued together in complete units.

The more I use the more I like it. Did you know it has a reflective symmetry painting option? I'm using it to design patterns that I'll carve into the dark wood of the box.

Experimenting with junk wood to see whether I can recreate the pattern I made in Gimp. Yes and no, and it's harder when the finish is over thick.

Tested a brown stain to pair with the black and white. It looks good, but i wonder how good it will be for my Dremel idea. I'll have to test. And should I stain a second time?

And now with stain!

Man I love having a dedicated crafting space in my new home.

Now I have to figure out my strategy. Am I going to dremel patterns? If so I need to hold off on polyurethane.

the walnut stain looks good with my hand carved chess pieces. phew!

Some of the wood I purchased for the sides is bent, so I'm steaming the wood with a clamp in the hopes to straighten it out.

Now I'm cutting up the straightened boards to make the "box" part of the chess board box.

When things go right, makes me feel so content. My attention focuses down to a point and all the churn dies away.

Tonight I used the miter box to cut out the sides of the box. It's going to be a real thick boi (I think it looks like a brown wooden doublestuff Oreo) but I've decided that's OK. I'll need to steam and straighten the boards just a little more.

Bronze box corners have arrived. Nailing them in broke the wood glue, but I'm hoping this re-application, plus nails, will improve the bond strength.

box corners hide messy miters!

practice (clearly I need it) inlaying hinges. It'd be so much simpler just to attach them to the outside of the box but the gap between the boards would be 2mm+!

I've struggled with the project this week. I broke no fewer than three screws and had to excavate them.

Last night I had a breakthrough; extracted all the broken screws and attached the hinges. Now I'm attaching the hinged boards to the rest of the set.

Coming to live with this things imperfections.

hinges work. The board pieces are slightly unaligned and separated. I may be able to address the latter...

After years of work, I have a DIY set, complete with hand carven pieces.

There's more polishing I can do (weighting the pieces, lining the board interior) but it feels good to see this project come together.

A little about the pieces: I started this project in 2014. I only had a few pocket knives to work with but that was enough.

Most of the pieces were carved from a dowel, but the Kings and Queens were special. I carved the white pieces from trees growing at my parent's home, the black pieces came from a tree growing outside my apartment.

Carving, I cut my hand so many times. There is so much of my blood in these pieces they are technically a close relative.

Now to weight the chess pieces. Except for the Kings and Queens, the pieces are made of poplar and very light. (~10g).

So i'm hollowing out the pieces with drills and dremels, and filling the holes with weights!

While i'm waiting for the weights (heh) I'm practicing with a test piece of wood and a nut. The steel nut is only 5g and the tungsten weights will be at lest double that, but I still need to perfect the drilling, gluing, and fabric cutting process.

Plenty of lessons learned. i'm satisfied that I can drill and awl a regular shape. The weighted piece feels great and the felt bottom adds a satisfying sound to the piece as it lands. BUT felt absorbs glue like a sponge; I've got to be careful how much I apply.

The tungsten weights have arrived. They are a fraction the size of my pieces but will more than double their weight.

The tungsten weights work great for reducing wobble. Very pleased! 👌

padding looks OK (I‘ll get better) and now there's a soft 'thunk' when I place it down.

@Argus I just went through the whole thread. It looks great! An heirloom for sure.

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