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 Wooden Chess Board with wall hanger sketch 1  Wooden Chess Board with wall hanger photo 1

Wooden Chess Board with Wall Hanger

This is the construction notes for our wooden chess board with a wall hanger. This board has 2 inch squares of two different wood colors. The hinger lets you display the board like a picture on the wall while hiding the hanger.

This project is not hard to do but it does require the use of a radial arm or table saw. The cost of the materials is around $75.00.

There is a single, simple trick to making a wooden chess board which is explained below in the construction section.

 Wooden Chess Board wall hanger photo 1

If you would like to build addition game equipment, like a table for this board or a metric version, please e-mail .

Rockler order link to first page
  1. Board Construction

    You can make this board by:

    1. Ordering the drawings
    2. Printing out this text.
    3. Purchasing the materials locally.
    4. Cutting the boards.
    5. Gluing up the board
    6. Gluing up the wall hanger
    7. Finishing the pieces
  2. Download the Detailed Drawings

    This design includes three detailed sketches. You can get them with our Freebie form. Look for "Wooden Chess Board" in the list.

    The plans for our Freebie projects are provided free in the hope that you will buy plans for our major projects.

  3. Discussion of Sketches

    After you download the sketches, these notes will help you understand them more completely.

    1. Chess Board with Wall Hanger

      The front and side views show the main features of the board and hanger. The board has 2 inch squares in two wood colors and has a one inch boarder. The corners on this board's boarder are cut off at 45 degrees and fitted with strips of the dark wood.

      The hanger is a simple wooden frame that the board sets in. It can be fitted with felt to cushion the board. The hanger wire is hidden when the board is on the wall. There is a small brass hook at the top to hold the board in place.

    2. Chess board, Boards, Sketch #2

      This sketch shows all the wooden boards that are needed to make the board and wall hanger. The light wood can be maple, ash, or oak. The dark wood is usually American walnut, but can be mahogany.

      Note that one more light wooden board is needed than the dark wood.

    3. Chess board, The Trick, Sketch #3

      This sketch shows the trick to make perfect squares. It take two gluings. The first gluing starts and ends with a light piece. The strips are long enough to have some extra for trim and to cover the saw cuts.

      The first gluing is then cut into strips the width of a square. These are rotated 90 degrees and offset by one square for the second gluing.

      The extra light squares are then trimmed off.

  4. Materials

    This chessboard is made from a light hardwood (maple, ash, or oak) and a dark hardwood (walnut or mahogany). The parts are assembled with glue and biscuits.

    1. Wood l
      • 3 bft -- Light Hardwood, Maple, 0.75" thick ------- $25.00
      • 2 bft -- Dark Hardwood, Walnut, 0.75" thick ------- $14.00
      Wood Subtotal: $39.00
    2. Hardware
      • 1 -- Brass Hook -------------------------- $ 3.00
      • 8 -- Felt feet -------------------------- $ 4.00
      • 85 -- Biscuits, 20 ----------------------- $ 6.00
      • 8 oz. -- Woodworker's Glue --------------- $ 4.00

      Hardware Subtotal: $17.00
    3. Finish:
      • 1 qt. -- Polyurethane, satin finish --- $10.00

      Finish Subtotal: $ 10.00
    4. Omissions and Contingencies (~12%) ( Tax, sand paper, etc.) $9.00.
    5. Estimate Total Cost $75.00
    Rockler order link to first page

    This is only an estimate (made in the August 2008). The price may vary in your area.

  5. Tools

    This board was designed to be build using the woodworking tools found in a small shop. The most difficult to find tools are:

    1. Electric saw, table or radial arm
    2. Biscuits Jointer

    All fasteners, including brads, must be predrilled into hardwood.

    Rockler order link to first page
  6. Building Your Board

    This is your board and you can build it to suit your likes and needs.

    1. Customize Your board Design

      • Square Size -- The drawings are for two inch squares, but you can make them some other size if you like.
      • Wood Choice -- You get to choose the light and dark wood.
      • Jointery -- The notes assume that you will be using biscuit jointery but if you do not have this tool available, you could use wooden splines or simple edge glue the boards.
      • Edging -- You can make the edges wider if you like. You can also work the corners differently.
    2. Cutting the pieces for the board body

      Cut out the nine pieces that make the board body. Five are of light wood and four of dark wood. They are the width of the finished square but a little longer than eight times to width of a square so that you will have some trim material.

      The board is shown as 3/4 inch thick but this is a bit thin for heavy use. You will want to make the board as thick as your wood allows, perhaps 7/8 inch.

      Mark the best side of each board as the "Top" in pencil.

    3. First Gluing

      Glue the nine body strips together, starting and ending with a light strip. Be sure that all the sides marked "Top" are up.

      A good piece of hardwood furniture should last at least 75 year. To achieve this longevity for a chess board you must have very good joints. The problem is that the two woods will expand and contract with changes in humidity and temperature differently which leads cracks over time. There are a number of ways you can achieve a long life:

      1. Edge Glue -- You can simply glue the board edges together. The lifetime of the board is then dependent on the quality of the glue used. Modern glues are great but may not last 75 years and keeping the front face of the board flat is difficult.
      2. Biscuits joints -- This process works great but it requires a special tool. The biscuits allow aline the front of the piece very well. You will need four biscuits for each joint.
      3. Splines -- You can cut a grove down each edge of the pieces and then fit a thins strip of wood in the slots. This works very well but is a lot of extra work. A table saw is best by far for this task.
    4. The Big Trick, the second gluing

      After the first gluing is completely set, at least 12 hours, turn it side ways and trim the edge off square. Then cut eight strips the exact width of your square. Keep the strips in order so that grain in the finish board is consistent. Be sure the "Top" of each piece is clearly marked.

      Make a second gluing with the strips shifted by one square. Check on an official chess board to be sure that you are placing the dark square in the correct corner. Be very careful to line up the squares exactly and that all the "Top" sides are up. Use a square on the edge of the first strip to check all the alinement of all the other strips. Even minor errors will show in the final work.

      After the glue is completely set, at least 12 hours, carefully trim off the extra light squares.

    5. Add the edge

      Joint edge strips to two sides with some extra length sticking out both ways. Let the glue set. Carefully trim the ends of these sides and then glue on the other to sides.

      After the glue is again set, trim the corners and add the cornier pieces.

    6. Building the Wall Hanger

      Cut out the pieces of wood for the wall hanger. They can be made from any wood but matching the Light wood in the board looks good.

      The bottom piece has a dado groove for the board to sit in. It is best to make this piece extra long and trim the ends later. You may need to custom fit the groove to your board. You may also want to leave room for a felt lining.

      The top piece is 1/2 inch think by 1 inch wide and has half laps joint with the sides.

      The two sides are also 1/2 inch thick which allows enough space for a common picture hanger. There length has to be set so that the top of the top piece lines up exactly with the top of the finished board. This allows the simple brass hook to line up properly. You will want to wait until you have completed the entire board before cutting these side pieces. This allows you to easily get an exact fit.

      The hanger is held together with glue and small brads or screws. You will need to predrill hardwood for either of these fasteners.

      Rockler order link to first page
    7. Finishing

      You may finish this board any way you see fit. I recommend a seal of thinned shellack, and then finish the board with three coats of oil based polyurethane.

    8. Completion

      All that is left is to is to install the brass hook and the hanging wire. You may want to also put felt between the hanger and the board.

    Rockler order link to first page


    Thanks again for using a Woodware Designs computer furniture plans. We very much want to know how you are getting along with your project and would be happy to answer any questions by email.

    If you send us a picture of your finished board, we would be happy to put it on our web page. We need pictures of projects with real people standing beside them.

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