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Step By Step Buide to Creating a Chess Board

If you're looking for a fun and easy woodworking project, try this simple chessboard. It makes a great gift, and anyone with basic woodworking skills can build it.

Step 1

How to Make a Chess Board - Step 1

First, you'll need eight strips of 2" wide solid wood in contrasting colors. Maple and walnut work well together, but there are several other good combinations. Cut our strips of each material to 2" on the table saw. Measure one of the strips with a digital caliper and record the measurement; you'll need it later. Your measurement needs to be accurate, so be sure to use a precision instrument like our 6" steel digital caliper. Each strip should be about 18" long.

Step 2

How to Make a Chess Board - Step 2

Now edge-glue and clamp those strips together, alternating the light and dark woods. When the glue has dried, use a crosscut sled to square up one end of the panel on the table saw.

Step 3

How to Make a Chess Board - Step 3

Next, you'll need to cut the panel into 2" strips, which need to be exactly the same width as the first eight you cut earlier. Set the fence to 2" and cut a piece of scrap material. Measure the piece with a digital caliper and adjust the fence as needed. When the fence is properly set, cut the panel into strips.

Step 4

How to Make a Chess Board - Step 4

Lay the strips on your workbench, flipping every other strip end-for-end so that no two squares of the same color are next to each other. You'll clamp these strips together to form the chessboard.

Step 5

How to Make a Chess Board - Step 5

But before you do that, drill a few holes in the edge of each strip with a dowel jig so that you can keep the parts from sliding around during glue up. Our Deluxe Doweling Jig Kit is perfect for this project. The squares of your chessboard need to line up perfectly, so be extremely careful when drilling the dowel holes.

Step 6

How to Make a Chess Board - Step 6

Glue and clamp the chessboard together. You should see some glue squeeze out on the surface of the panel. If you don't, you didn't use enough glue. Let the squeeze out get tacky and then scrape it off with a putty knife. Remove the clamps when the glue has dried and cut the panel length.

Step 7

How to Make a Chess Board - Step 7

To give your chessboard a finished look, add a 2" border around the outside. Rip a few strips of either your light or dark stock and miter them to fit around the board. Then drill a few dowel holes to help you keep the border aligned when you attach it to the chessboard. Glue the border strips in place and sand the completed project to #220-grit.

Step 8

How to Make a Chess Board - Step 8

How to Make a Chess Board - Step 8b

You can finish this project any way you like, but a blend of equal parts oil, varnish and mineral spirits will give it a nice hand-rubbed look. You can also use a bamboo veneer to make it pop even more! Wipe a liberal amount of finish on the wood and spread it around evenly. Let the finish sit for about 15 minutes and then wipe it off. Don't leave any wet finish on the wood. You might want to apply two or three coats. Let each coat dry several hours and buff the last one with #0000 steel wool for a satin sheen.

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