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Chess Tables... :S

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thomaskennedy

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Hi all,

Once again i have decided to ask for help ('tis the best way to learn you know :p )

My dad (who lives away from me) is a chess enthusiast. But as i dont see him very often he doesn't really see any of my "work" :roll: ....

So i would like to 'impress' him with a lovely chess table (he can forget the chess pieces as i am no carver by any strectch of the imagination)...

The only trouble is i have, really, no idea of what to do :? :? :shock:

I am stuck in the first, and most important part of the make....Yup...'tis the designing... :? It seems that i have just hit a brick wall *ouch* :oops: All i seem to be able to get are really, really rubbish ideas :x ..

As i said, i want to impress him...I have been browsing the net for bloody hours and i still kind find anything that i want to even use for ideas :( :(

Has anyone made an, "Eleagant", "Stylish", "B-e-a-utiful" Chess table before and could anyone give advice on "A first timer" :p

I thought to give it an elegant look i would use cabriole legs...but i have no idea really :(

I would REALLY appreciate some advice and help here!

Ta

Tom

ps. I have around 2/3 months to make this one so theres no real time scare :shock: :eek: :D
 

Philly

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Hi TK,
James Krenov made a nice one, I dont know if you have any of his books?
I will post a pic if you want.
Philly :D
 

Adam

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Thomas,

I made a chess table a while ago, using veneered squares stuck to MDF with PVA glue. I used burr maple and walnut to give me the contrast of the light and dark squares. This was recessed below the surface and in the centre of the table (over the playing area) I placed a piece of glass. This not only protects the table, but also covered over a few places were their was a gap between the squares.

I cut the squares using the following method. Get a large cutting board (MDF sheet of similar) Use a sharp knife* (scalpel or stanley knife - brand new) and cut each of the veneers into identically wide long strips. Next lay strips in alternate colour, light dark, light, dark etc. Next join them togehter with veneer tape so you effectively had a large sheet of veneer, only made up of stripes! You need 9 stripes even though their are only 8 squares on a chess board. Next you move the ruler 90 degrees round, and cut across the stripes. This means each square in each cross cut is the same width, even if you make a small mistake. Finally, going from top to bottom of your cross cuts, you move every other line 1 square to the left, giving you your chess board. You then discard the few squares which are not needed. The benefit of this technique is that is doesn't matter if you get any width slightly wrong, as all the squares in that row will be the same.





Hope that helps

Adam

* I really can't reccomend a scalpel as they are lethal. One slip and you'll cut to the bone. They are not really designed to work on hard surfaces, and they bend under high pressure and snap - leaving you with a piece embedded, or searching to find it so you don't step on it barefoot. It is however, what I used, and it worked. I couldn't find a sharp stanley at the time :oops:

PS: I reckon after doing the veneering you'll be better off making a simple table, as the squares really do take a lot of time. By the way, when it came to gluing, I did each column individually, and let it dry. I'd brush PVA on eight squares, brush glue on the MDF and then place them on. I'd then use a different brush to wipe water on the upper surface (which you play on) so each veneer strip has a balanced amount of water each side (i.e. 1 side wet glue, 1 side clean water). I'd then lay cling film over the top, before a thick piece of board, and then finally put loads of books on top to wiegh it down. I didn't own a clamp when I made this veneered top!
 

thomaskennedy

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wood100-Thanks for the help on the cabriole legs :D :D 8)

philly-Unfortunatly i don't own any of his books, so some pics would be great :D :p

asleitch-sooo......thats how you make it :roll: ... there was me thinking i would have to cut each invididual square :roll: :shock:

although i didn't really understand the part with the equal amount of water and glue :? :shock:

Can you explain why this has to be don please :D

Ta

Tom
 

Adam

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thomaskennedy":1003aat8 said:
asleitch-sooo......thats how you make it :roll: ... there was me thinking i would have to cut each invididual square :roll: :shock:
Well you do, kind of, but always in strips, so you are really cutting an entire edge at a a time.

thomaskennedy":1003aat8 said:
although i didn't really understand the part with the equal amount of water and glue :? :shock:

Can you explain why this has to be don please :D
Ta Tom
Veneer, being so thin, has a tendency to curl, when wet only on one side. Basically, as you provide moisture, the cells on the wet side expand, causing it to curl, as the opposite side remains the same. By wetting both sides, they both "curl equally and in opposite directions" hence the square stays basically flat. Worked for me anyway. Veneering isn't something I've done much of, Gill or others may be the best person to ask. So the water is just counteracting the moisture in the glue on the opposite side. This helps to keep things flat (I think).

Adam
 

thomaskennedy

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Oh i see now :D

One thing i forgot to ask before, how did you get that fancy edge around the side of the board? I think its called marquetry :idea: :p

I am still stuck on the design of it :(

How do you guys design your projects? Ive got some software but i always prefere a pen and paper! :p

What i mean is, what is it that makes you think, "hmph, i will put a groove there and these bits there" :?: kinda thing :? :? Am i confusing anyone yet :oops: :oops: !! :roll:

I seem to be able to get the basic shape etc. out but like where Adam put those rails, how do you think of that, or decide how many :? I know it may seem a little odd to ask this but this is where i get stuck on all my projects :roll:

Ta

Tom
 

Adam

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thomaskennedy":et2dtiq8 said:
Oh i see now :D

One thing i forgot to ask before, how did you get that fancy edge around the side of the board? I think its called marquetry :idea: :p
Cheat :lol: You buy it in 6mm strips, in about 1m lenghts. You simply route a 6mm slot (easy as 6mm routers are easy to get - or maybe it was 1/4 inch can't remember) about 2mm deep. The veneer strip sticks out by about 0.5mm which you sand off to get a perfectly flush surface. It's actually really really easy!
thomaskennedy":et2dtiq8 said:
I am still stuck on the design of it :(
How do you guys design your projects? Ive got some software but i always prefere a pen and paper! :p
I don't do any design, i just get on and make it. Half the pleasure is being able to change and adapt as the project progresses, and if you find an awkward knot, you just make it shorted by an inch say.
thomaskennedy":et2dtiq8 said:
What i mean is, what is it that makes you think, "hmph, i will put a groove there and these bits there" :?: kinda thing :? :? Am i confusing anyone yet :oops: :oops: !! :roll:
Just guess! Or perhaps you get an eye for it? Dunno, I certainly don't have a full plan in my head when I start building things. It always just seems to work out OK. (although you are more prone to mistakes I think, as you are not following a clearly defined plan.

thomaskennedy":et2dtiq8 said:
I seem to be able to get the basic shape etc. out but like where Adam put those rails, how do you think of that, or decide how many :? I know it may seem a little odd to ask this but this is where i get stuck on all my projects :roll:

Ta

Tom
I was actually going to have rails all the way up each side, but got bored :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: SO decided that'd be enough.
 
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Thomas

You can follow Adam's advice using solid wood on the tablesaw quite easily - I have often seen articles in mags using this approach. Cut 10 strips of each wood on the saw, glue them together using alternate colours. Cut strips at 90 degrees to the first set and then simply slide alternate strips across by one square and glue up again. Trim edges where they stick out down to 8x8 squares and glue to a backboard.
If any dont' quite fit, then run a plane along the edge usinga shooting board.
Works really well in the articles I've seen.
 

StevieB

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Hi Thomas,

Design of a project is really a personal thing. Personally I like you prefer to sketch things out on paper before I get going, but only to the stage of a rough plan, not a detailed measured drawing. Some people will use software if they produce alot, want to reduce waste to a minimum, want a computerised cutting list or just like to fiddle with computers, some will just get into the shop and start with an idea in their heads and see where it takes them :wink:

You asked how Adam decided to put that number of rails between the legs of the board because it looked good. Instead of asking why that number, think 'would it have looked better or worse with one more or one less?' Is it the impact of the overall piece that you like or the fact that there are 3 rails that makes it appealing to you? Design is subjective, and the design and manufacturing process can often lead you away from the overall first impression that someone else gets seeing the finished article for the first time.

While there are obviously some asthetically pleasing proportions for furniture that appease the eye (look at the proportions of drawers in a chest of drawers for example) dont be afraid to have a go at producing something and altering it afterwards if it doesnt look quite right, or making a prototype in MDF or making a mock up of the front face of a piece before commiting to it fully. With time and experience you will start to know what will look pleasing to the eye and what will not, why 1 piece of banding accents the edge of a piece and 3 strips look too much etc.

My advice would be to sketch you ideas on paper as you have been, have a good idea of what you want to produce, but be flexible during construction so that if something doesnt look quite right you can adapt your design rather than sticking to the plan because it looked OK on paper. Finally, remember that experience is what everyone else seems to have, and you never get until its just too late :)

just my 2p worth :wink:

steve.
 

Bean

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I think I approach design in a simular way to SteveB, I start with what used to be called a fag packet sketch and work out what timber I will need but the design is fairly fluid. If what you have made does not look quite right then change it. I find that the change from a 2D/3D drawing to an actual piece transforms the design and you can only see what does or does not work when you have the work in your hands.
If you have a set of drawings which have been approved by the customer then you may well be stuck but if its for yourself enjoy the freedom.


Bean
 

Alf

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All this sideways scrolling is "doing my head in" as they say, so perhaps this is already redundant? Anyway, the Art Veneers manual and catalogue is on-line on their site. Go to page 96 and it'll explain the technique for cutting the squares. Plus lots of other useful veneering info.

Cheers, Alf
 

Midnight

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Tom.... that's a nice idea for a challenging project.. I like that..

Personally I'd be inclined to back engineer the entire thing, starting with selecting a fine set of chess pieces, scaling the top to suit them, making a fitted drawer to store the set when not in use, then building a table around that. To judge size, I'd allow a generous border around the periphery of the board; space to rest an elbow or something along those lines..

I came across specs for an occasional table that looked like it would be ideal with a little modification.. If you're interested, drop me a note and I'll pass the dimensions etc to you...
 

thomaskennedy

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oooo.....what alot of replies :D 8)

Thanks for the tips with designing everyone

Midnight-That'd be great, i need all the ideas i can gather up at the moment!!

Gosh it seems a little pointless saying everyones name with a thanks, so, thanks to everyone :D :p :p :roll:

I am going to see what i can draw up, although not now, *must sleep* (as i am re-doing our kitchen, as you do, :roll: )

Ta

Tom
 

Pete W

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Tom,

another thought before you get too far into the design process... I'd be inclined to let your dad's taste in furniture guide you. If he lives in a modern, glass-steel-blondwood environment, dark wood and cabriole legs might not be favourite.

As something of a novice meself, I'd also lean towards a simple design that I could execute well, rather than a great design that I'd probably botch :).
 
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