The real secret to the top was a tip I stumbled across in a magazine:
Start by gluing up 8 alternating-color strips in whatever width you want
the final squares to be. In other words, for a 16 x 16 board, use 2" x
8" strips. Once this dries, recut the panel into 8 strips again going in
the opposite direction across the two colors. Now if you invert every
other strip and glue them back together, you are left with a perfect
chessboard (hopefully). I came back and glued trim around the outside
edges just to finish it off.
It was not too hard, but I would caution that you try to be very precise
in your cuts. I have a cheap table saw with a fence to match, and that
made the process a little more difficult than it should have been.
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