build your own chessboard

If you love playing chess, you probably want to know how to build your own chessboard. The process of its construction is akin to building a cutting board. Unlike doing the exterior restoration like roofing, this DIY project is simple and you can do it with little to no help from those around you. Here are some simple steps for building your own chessboard.

Materials Required

  • 8’ 1*4 board of Light wood (Aspen)
  • 8’ 1*4 board of dark wood (Mahogany)
  • Table saw and miter saw
  • 18 gauge brad nails and nail gun
  • Router
  • Clamps
  • Wood Glue

Steps Involved

Cut Boards to Length

Begin by marking and cutting the boards to length of 18 inches long. You will end up with 4 boards that are 18 inches long.

Rip the Boards

Take all the boards and rip them to 1-1/2 inches on the table saw. It is advisable to use a table saw as it will give you accuracy and consistency. However, if you choose to use a circular saw, ensure that you put a straight edge that the saw can run against. If the boards measure 1*2, you can skip this step.

Glue the Strips Together

After cutting your strips, arrange them in an alternating pattern of light and dark woods. Clamp the strips together with glue and spread it evenly at the edge of each strip. Use a bar clamp to clamp the strips together and allow the glue to dry. Wipe off the excess glue at the top of the strips with a wet rug.

It is also recommendable to number the strips so you can have reference guide later on.

Sand or Plane the Board

When clamping, the edges of the strips are likely to curl upwards. Sanding at this stage is important in order to get rid of the unevenness. Consider using a chessboard sand or plane to get the board flat.

Cut Off Rough Edges

Using the meter gauge on the table saw, cut off any rough edges of the board.

Crosscut the Board

Once the glue has dried, cut 1-1/2 inch strips out of the board you just made. Use a crosscut sled to crosscut 8 strips from the board. If you are using a table saw, run the edges of the square along the fence.

Glue the Strips Again

By now, each strip should contain eight even squares. Take the strips, lay them out and start flipping each one end-for-end until you can see the chessboard taking shape. Note that two squares of the same color should not be next to each other. Number and glue the strips again, and clamp them together. When the glue has dried completely, remove the clamps and cut the panel length.

Sand the Board

After unclamping the board, sand the newly created board to smoothen its surface. Of course, the time spent on sanding the board will depend on how well you kept the board flat when gluing the strips.

Add a Border

To give your chessboard a nice finished look, add a border around the board. You can choose a dark or light strip and miter them to fit around the outside. You can drill some dowel holes in order to help keep the border aligned when attached to the chessboard. Then, glue the boarder strips in place and sand if necessary. Instead of using glue, you can nail 1-1/2 inches 18-gauge brad nails to secure the border.

Apply Finish

Finally, apply any type of finish to give your chessboard a nice look. For instance, you could use bamboo veneers to make the board pop out, vanish spirits to give it a hand-rubbed look, or waterlox to give it an amber look. Allow the finish to sit for at least 15 minutes.

A chessboard is not as hard to make as many people believe. With the right materials at hand, you can make your own chessboard and start playing chess as soon as possible.