I needed to make some kind of froofy storage for my chess pieces. One
thought was to just Forstner some holes in a block, and leave the pieces
standing up inside the rather large box I built. I also considered various
trace/cutout routes designed to have the pieces lay flat.
After I put the velvet in the box, the flat idea won out. I spent a couple
of hours fooling around with ways to get the cutouts made with the tools I
had available (no scrollsaw or bandsaw, and my jigsaw is pretty lame...)
including trying to hog out some shapes with paring chisels.
I was getting pretty frustrated with my results, and was about to give up
when I had a marvelous idea.
I cut two boards at king height, and two boards at pawn height, both to the
width required to fit into my box. I bored and marked sizing holes in a
piece of scrap. I determined what size bit to use for the bases, then I
picked out the best fit for the widest part of each piece, with the king
requiring a third size for the cross.
After picking my bits, I clamped two of the king boards together. I laid
out the pieces by eyeball for the best fit, then traced them. I set up a
fence to ensure that I would be going precisely down the center. Next, I
bored the base holes first, taking care to use backup blocks and to keep a
pair of clamps right where the action was. After boring down until the
Forstner bit was flush with the wood surface, I switched to all the
secondary bits in turn, using the dimple from the first bit as a reference.
I determined the depth I needed by frequently test fitting. Once I could
drop a piece of the correct type into the hole with 1/16" of extra space at
the bottom, I set the depth adjustment on my drill press so that I could
bore the other hole(s) to the same depth. I continued in this fashion
until I had bored holes for all the pieces, and then I repeated the process
for the pawns.
I went back with a chisel and made some minor adjustments to the spaces for
the king and knights. Then I cut off a bottom piece, bored holes for a
couple of dowels in each set of trays, then glued and clamped everything
together. When the glue was dry, I planed both trays to roughly level up
Then I made judicious use of Aileen's tacky glue and carefully attached some
red velvet. After doing this, I realized that the edges looked stupid. I
had cut them too close to size to have room for even a 1/4" tray
surrounding them, so I made little edge wrappers out of aluminum angle
I didn't get all the wrinkles out of the velvet. The pieces protrude a bit
more than I would have liked, and these recesses don't have the sharp,
form-fitting look I could have achieved with one of the sawing methods.
Brass would have been better, and it would look better if I hadn't had to
pop rivet corner pieces on, but all in all they look pretty damn
presentable in spite of the flaws. I open up this box and I can't believe
I actually MADE this thing. It looks awesome!
Best of all, I think spending two weeks making a chess set (well, all but
the pieces) has done wonders for my game. I slaughtered Dad tonight,
trying out my new baby. It's about damn time!
I'm going to borrow a digital camera tomorrow and post some pictures. I
don't have shots of the work in progress, but I'll photograph some early
prototypes to put some pictures behind these words.
Anybody with a scroll or other suitable curvy cutting saw would probably do
better to use a more traditional method for this, but if all you have is a
drill press and some Forstner bits (or spade bits, hole saws, etc...) then
this technique yields pretty impressive results IMHO.
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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