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My technique for finishing

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  • My technique for finishing

    Compound cut chess pieces.
    After measuring and carefully cutting all the blocks needed to make a set of chess pieces, drill a pilot hole in the center of the bottom of the block large enough to insert an eye hook. Then proceed to cut out all the pieces, use a brush to remove the cutting dust.

    There is usually no sanding required depending on the blade used, but if some fuzz remains use a fine sanding sponge to remove it, then buff each piece with extra fine steel wool. Blow off any debris with an air gun or hair dryer.

    Insert an eye hook in the pre-drilled hole in the bottom of each piece, the eye hook does not need to go all the way in, just enough to hold the piece.

    I use varnish in a tin deep enough (approximately 5") to submerge each piece. You of course can use your finish of choice, I find varnish makes the grain pop in most unstained wood. Whatever finish you choose, please use safely and in a well ventilated area.

    Holding the eye hook dip each piece in the finish making sure the entire piece gets covered. After dipping, turn each piece to allow the runoff to pour back into the tin. Hang the piece by the eye hook on a drying rack, similar to the one pictured below. Do not allow the pieces to touch, they might stick together and leave marks when pulled apart. While the pieces are drying I periodically check to make sure there is no bubble of finish accumulating on the top, now the bottom of each piece, if a bubble is forming, use a folded paper towel to draw the excess finish off by dapping the piece, the paper towel acts like a sponge and pulls the finish to it.

    After the pieces have thoroughly dried 8-12 hours depending on the product you use, buff each piece with extra fine steel wool. Always remember to blow the steel wool dust off with the air gun or hair dryer.

    (I dip my pieces a minimum 3 times. This is a matter of choice depending on how you want the finished pieces to look).
    After the final dip, when the pieces are completely dry remove the eye hooks and give each piece a final buff with a crumpled piece of brown paper bag, this creates a silky feel.

    To hide the drill hole, cut pieces of felt, large enough to cover the entire bottom, don't worry if the felt is a bit larger this can be trimmed away once the glue has dried. Sand the bottom of each piece using a sanding sponge, this will release some of the finish, and give the glue some bite. Use ordinary carpenter's glue to affix the felt to the bottom of each piece, lay the piece on it's side while the glue is drying. Once the glue has dried you're ready for a game of chess.

    Last edited by Marsha; 06-18-2006, 10:15 AM.

  • #2
    Marsha, Thank you for that. One of my 4H kids has cut the chess set from D.T.'s chess set book, and is having a terrible time getting them looking right. The set he chose was the woodworking tools set. Although cedar wouldnt be my choice of wood for them, thats what he used. It was originally going to be walnut and maple, but after he tried a practice cut on a walnut piece, he knew he would have trouble with it, so chose a softer wood.Anyways, some of the pieces didnt cut out cleanly and evenly for numerous reasons,and hes sanding them with fingernail files now to make them acceptable, and the cedar tears out or chips off some of the fragile parts. He cut enough pieces for a few spares of each color, but slowly that extra stash is dwindling. Hopefully he will get to the finishing stage, and this posting you created will help heaps. Thanks. Dale
    Dale w/ yella saws


    • #3
      Sometimes the posts come so fast I miss some of them.

      Great technique!
      I know this is finishing but I thought it was suited to the Info Exchange thread
      "proud member of the best scroll sawing forum on the net."
      Ryobi SC180VS scroll saw EX21


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