Dustin’s African Hardwood Chess Board

Viewer Project - By Dustin Smith
Added on July 27, 2013

I built this chess board for myself over the course of a year or so (this was my “toy” project so it stayed on the back burner for the duration of the build). I wanted an exotic hardwood board, with a case underneath to store the pieces and raise the playing surface up off the table. I decided on wenge for the case and ebony/zebrawood for the light and dark squares. Originally, I intended to turn my own pieces on a lathe, but to be honest I am not a turner and didn’t want to invest in a lathe and turning tools for what would probably be a one-time project/occasion. I ended up buying the pieces online for about a hundred bucks and was done with it!

All of the moldings were made on the router table with some specialty bits from Rockler. The drawers are tongue and dado joinery for simplicity and since the drawers will see very light use. I made a my own drawer pulls using scrap ebony, the pulls are mortised into the drawer fronts.

The finish is a couple coats of shellac both inside and out, topped with Deft spray lacquer (spray can, nothing fancy). I rubbed out the top, starting with 320g and working my way up to Rottenstone.

This was a very fun project to build, and my first project with no real “due date” which was a big plus in making it fun to build. No rush!