Regulation Size End Grain Chess Board with Gold Leaf
Several viewers have reached out to me and asked me to make them custom
boards based on a couple of other videos that I released earlier this year. I'm gonna batch out four of them at the same time in this video but I'm gonna feature one that the client has requested me to frame and then to hand-carve his intials and then apply a
leaf. So, when I bath them out together that saves me a little bit of time and saves a little bit of material waste, as well. I'm gonna make the
boards out of walnut and ash and you can see that the ash is pretty severely cupped. So, I'm gonna run that through the planer with a concave side of the cup face down. It doesn't have to be perfect and I'm not gonna worry about jointing it right now; I just want it to be flat enough that I can run it through the table saw to cut it into the individual lengths for the
chesssquares. I only need about 15 inches of length for an entire
boardso I'm cutting these to be about 60 inches long and that way I'll have enough material to make all four
boards. At this point, I'm just rough cutting everything to the approximate
sizeand then I'm going to run these pieces through the jointer and then through the planer to get the exact dimension that I want. Now running these through the jointer I want to get two sides of the
boardflat and square and then I can run the other two sides through the planer. When I'm running them through the planer, I...
want them to be over
sized in one dimension because I'm going to run them through the sander afterward and in the other dimension, I want them to be the exact
sizeof the square. So, if I was making a 2 1/4" square, I want them to be 2 1/4" in one dimension and in the other direction I want it to be about 2 3/8". I don't want to skimp on the glue because this is the time to get it all glued up properly. And then when I put the pieces together I'll wipe off the excess with a damp rag before I clamp it I want to put a couple of cauls on the top and bottom to make sure that the
boards glue up flat -- or relatively flat. So, this is the dimension that I planed to be over
sized so when I run it through the sander I'm gonna be able to sand it down to the exact dimension of the square that I want. Now, I should mention that the two pieces on the end are over
sized in both dimensions. That way, after I glue up the
board, I'll have a little bit of excess that I can cut off to make it all square in the end. Now, this first glued-up
boardis pretty heavy and pretty long, so when I set it on my crosscut sled it had a tendency to tip off. So, I'm using a dumbbell that's heavy enough to hold it in place while I run it through the table saw and I can cut the individual pieces for the next glue up. I have a stop block clamped to the fence of the crosscut sled. That way, each piece that I'm cutting is going to be the same
size. I know my...
fingers looked really close to that spinning blade, but the camera angle can be deceiving. They really were not that close. Now it's time for the next glue up of the four different
boards. I put down parchment paper to prevent the
boards from sticking to the table because it's going to be a lot of squeeze out in this glue up I used cauls on one end just to help get everything in line before I clamp it up. After the glue has cured, I'm gonna run it through the drum sander to get it down to the final thickness of the
board. It's important to keep the sanding belt as clean as possible while you're doing the sanding to maximize the life of the sanding belt. Now I'm preparing the
boards for the frame. I've already cut and planed these
boards and what I'm doing now is I'm running a dado down the middle and that's where I'm going to place edge banding using tiger maple. I'll just cut a thin little piece of tiger maple off this
boardand then run it through the sander until it fits into the slot. I'll glue that up and let it sit overnight and then the next day I can trim it off on the table saw. Next, I'm going to miter the corners at 45 degrees. Then I'm gonna cut a dado down the middle of the
boardon all four edges and then the frame is going to insert into that slot. So, in this case I'm making a 2 1/2" frame and I have a 1/2" that's going to fit into the slot that's on the
board. Now that I have the frame pieces cut I'm gonna use mortise and tenon joinery to strengthen the corners. I'm using a mortising jig that I saw on a Fine Woodworking YouTube video and I'll put a link to that in the description if you want to make one of those for yourself. I'm going to use floating tenons to join the pieces together so it doesn't matter it is exactly where I put them as long as they match up with the mating piece. For these mortises I haven't set up any stop blocks because every time I change one of the frame pieces in and out of the jig, I'd have to reposition the stop blocks again so I'm just doing it freehand. I've already milled some walnut down to the thickness of the mortise and now I'm just using my belt sander to round the corners so that it fits into the mortise You could also do this with a router but I think sanding by hand is fine. Now I'll use that piece to cut the individual tenons on the bandsaw. After cutting them I'm going to smooth the ends to remove all the "fuzzies." Another feature of this frame is that it's going to have a brass border. I'm adjusting the fence very carefully on this first piece to make it perfectly
sized rabbet to hold the brass bar and once I've got it set up then I can run the other pieces through fairly quickly. Now that all the frame pieces are prepared and properly
sized it's time to start carving the initials. In this case my client's...
first name is Sam but his initials also spell SAM so that's pretty cool. I just slipped a piece of carbon paper under the initials that I printed on the computer and now I'm gonna trace it by hand but, for any of the straight lines, I found it easier and faster to use a ruler to make sure they get really straight Now it's time to do the carving and it may look daunting if you've never done anything like this before but it's really not that difficult. It just takes patience and you need to proceed carefully to make sure that you don't accidentally slip outside the lines and then it's hard to recover from that. For almost all of this carving I'm just using a V gouge. I'm using my right hand to push forward and the fingers on my left hand are helping to control the motion so that I don't go outside the lines. My hands were pretty wet while I was carving because it was almost 100 degrees F in my workshop -- probably around 37 or 38 degrees Celsius. When you're applying
leaf, the smoother the surface you're applying it to, the better results you're going to get, so I'm using some little Dremel bits just in my hand just to remove any burrs and to smooth the surface as much as possible. This takes patience, as well. You really don't want to take any shortcuts because surface preparation makes all the difference. Next, I'm getting ready to cut the brass bars so I'm making this little jig out of a piece of wood...
and I'm cutting a slot down the middle that's the same thickness as the copper bar, which is 1/8". Next, I'm using this old-fashioned miter saw to cut a 45-degree slot in the end and the reason I'm using this saw is it has a very thin kerf on the blade and that's where my Dremel cutting blade is going to fit into. I bought this set of Dremel cutting blades and I'm gonna use the thinnest one. I thought that was the best solution for cutting big brass bars. So, I'm gonna take the bar and mark where the corner needs to be and then I'm gonna cut off the piece at a 45 degree angle using the Dremel cutter. It doesn't need to be exact because I'm gonna finish it up on the grinding wheel You want to be careful that you don't overheat it so I dip it in water when it gets a little hot. I'm doing a test fit and I'm proceeding very carefully because it only takes a second or two to grind off too much material and then you have to start over again. After cutting that first piece of brass, now I'm clamping the pieces of frame to the
boardand that way everything is going to be
sized correctly as if it's already glued up. After clamping it together, I was kind of worried that I wasn't gonna be able to get it apart especially now that the brass pieces are in place. Without the brass pieces, I would have been able to insert a screwdriver and carefully nudge it apart. But, with the brass in there, there's no place to do...
that so I'm gonna use a trick where I'm going to use one of my pipe clamps and reverse it and use that to put pressure on two C clamps that I've got attached to the frame pieces and that will gently push it apart. Now it's time to glue everything up and I'm gonna start by using epoxy to glue in the brass bars and my supply of epoxy from Total Boat is looking a little grungy because it's got sawdust that's stuck to some of the old epoxy on the outside but nevertheless everything that's inside the container is very clean and still works really really well. I really like using this pump system it makes it so easy to measure instead of guessing at the amounts. I'll mix it up really well and then I'll mix it up even some more because it's important to have it all thoroughly mixed together. I want to apply plenty of glue onto the mitered corners because this is practically end
grain-- it's a cross between end
graindoes not glue up very well because it just sucks the glue into the wood. So, I actually didn't show this on camera, but I actually put two coats of glue on before I stuck everything together because the first coat actually did get sucked right into the wood. I'm putting a little dab of glue only in the center of each of the frame pieces and that will allow for expansion and contraction of the
boardI clamped everything up and now I'm using cauls on the corners to make sure that...
the top and bottom surfaces of the frame pieces are lined up. Now I'm sanding everything starting with 80 grit and working my way up all the way to 220 grit. Next, I'm at the router table and I'm cutting finger slots on the two sides. Now it's time for the gilding and I'm gonna start by applying this burnish sealer. This is a yellow -- almost like a primer -- that seals the wood and prepares it for the next step which is to apply the sizing. After I apply this sealer I'm gonna let it sit for 24 hours so that it can fully cure. After that's cured I'm gonna sand off the excess and next I'm going to apply the sizing and this is an oil-based sizing which is an adhesive for the
leaf. Ideally I'd want to paint this just where the
leafhas to be applied but these lines are pretty thin so it was pretty difficult to paint just between the lines and I let that sit for about one and a half hours to get tacky. Now I'm applying the
leafjust by tapping it with a brush. Then I removed the excess with a brush. I used only one sheet of
leaffor this so it's really not very expensive because
leafis sold in packs of 25 sheets for roughly $30 so it cost about $1 for the
leaffor this. At this point the brass rods don't look very good because they look all scratchy from the 220 grit sandpaper that I used so now I'm gonna use these ultra fine scuff pads and they're equivalent to 1500 grit sandpaper so...
I'm just gonna rub that back and forth on the brass and that's gonna polish it and make it look nice and shiny. Now it's time for the finish I'm gonna start with dewaxed shellac. This is a nice finish to work with. It penetrates into the wood very quickly and it dries very quickly. That's just the first coat. After it dries, I will sand it lightly with 600 grit sandpaper and then I will apply five or six coats of urethane. I'm starting with a gloss urethane and I will build up five coats and then for the sixth coat I'll use a semi-gloss urethane finish. After the varnish is cured then I will hand rub it with a mixture of paraffin oil and pumice stone. This really smooths out the finish that removes some of the gloss and gives it a nice hand rubbed look. Then at the very end I will apply a coat of paste wax and then polish it off. Here are a few shots of the final product. I think it looks pretty good. So, I gotta ask.... Would YOU make it?