A Chessboard Made Easy
Synopsis: At some point in your woodworking life, you’ll probably make a chessboard. The classic parquet pattern adds fun and function to an ordinary table. And a chessboard on its own makes a great gift, especially when surrounded by your favorite banding or inlay. When it comes to making a chessboard, veneer is the way to go. It is easy to cut accurately, easy to apply to an MDF substrate, and comes in hundreds of species and grain patterns. Even if you’ve never used veneer before, just follow these step-by-step directions and you’ll soon have your own handcrafted chessboard.
From Fine Woodworking #219
At some point in your woodworking life, you’ll probably make a chessboard. The classic parquet pattern adds fun and function to an ordinary table. And a stand-alone chessboard makes a great gift.
If you haven’t worked with veneer, you may be tempted to make your game board from thick squares of solid wood. Don’t. You’ll have to contend both with wood movement and weak end-grain joints. Veneer is much easier to cut accurately, and is easy to apply to a stable MDF substrate. Also, veneer is available in hundreds of beautiful species and grain patterns. By the way, the following technique works for other parquetry patterns, too, such as diamonds.
Standard chessboard squares range from 2 in. to 2 1⁄2 in. square, but you can size the squares to fit the chess pieces you have on hand.
Veneer taping 101 Because of the V-groove that a knife or veneer saw leaves behind, it’s important to keep track of your “glue face” and “show face,” as they are called. When cutting the veneer, keep the glue face on top, which guarantees that the lower edges…