Finish for chessboard

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Established Member
22 May 2003
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portsmouth, UK
Hi all

Just finished making a chessboard, and need some advice on how to finish it,. Have used brazilian mahogany for dark squares, and maple for the white squares. I am willing to spend what ever time it takes to get the best finish

Thanks In advance

Hi Simuk..welcome aboard.

Personally I wouldn't think twice about finishing that with a wiped on coat of Organoil burnishing oil, followed by some paste wax.
Hello Midnight,

Thanks for advice on what product to use.
Has anyone else got any other options that i can consider using



You mention a "best finish" but I think you need to be more specific. A chessboard could be finished in a number of ways - it doesn't need a great deal of protection against spills for example - and it therefore depends what you are really after.

Would you consider a "piano finish" to be the best, or a silky, oil-type finish to be preferable?
How about blonde shellac-it will leave the maple a beautiful pale colur, unlike oil finished which tend to yellow paler timbers. It is easy to apply too!
Philly :D
waterhead37":3i5nwqzk said:
A chessboard could be finished in a number of ways - it doesn't need a great deal of protection against spills for example
Hah. Unless it's going to someone like my brother, who managed to spill a glass of wine all over his within days of me giving it to him. :roll:

Too many possible options; more data required. :wink:

Cheers, Alf
More information well here goes

I play for portsmouth chess club, so this board will be in regular use.
Would like the maple and mahogany squares to stand out to the eye as much as possible.

The pieces need to glide across the board.

The board needs to be able to take a pounding from opponents who slam there pieces down and also handle pieces being knocked over over by bad losers. :evil:

I play friendlys in the pub when there is no leauge games on, So needs to be waterproof, foolproof, and double vision proof.

Let me know if anymore info is needed, and thanks to you lot who have responded already really appreciate it.

given the abuse you're talking about... I'd stick with wax.. it'll shed fluids easily. Granted it's easily marked, but it's easily repaired too...3 mins with a lint free rag and it's good as new again..

As for the tantrums.. I'd smack em..!!!
Contrary to Mike's advice, my view is that a wax finish by itself would not stand up to the sort of use you describe.

I would "pop" the grain as the Americans say, with BLO and when that has dried thoroughly, give it three coats of waterborne poly or acrylic varnish. The waterborne finishes are less yellowing than the oil based finishes and you will want to keep the maple as white as possible.

You may need to denib between coats.

Finally, use webrax or 0000 wirewool and then wax with a clear paste wax like Liberon Black Bison.
Hi Simuk

Have you considered Rustin's Plastic Coating? This will give a very very tough finish which should be suitable for the abuse it sounds like your chessboard will have to endure; it is very popular on marquetry work and gives a high gloss, smooth finish. Of course, it is a very thick coating and can look a bit plasticy (hence the name) which isn't always to everyone's taste.

An alternative would be our Acrylic aerosols; probably the Acrylic Sanding Sealer followed by either the Acrylic Gloss Lacquer or Acrylic Satin Lacquer (depending on your preference for sheen) will give you the protection you need without being quite so plasticy.
It would be quite acceptable to use wax afterwards.

Good luck!
Hello all,

Thanks for all the advice, plenty to think about .
Will post picture of chessboard when finished detailing what finish i went for.


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