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3D Chess

This is a DIY project that sells really well for me. I don’t make them that often simply because they are pretty labor intensive and you know the old saying “time is money”! That being said, this is an item that typically always sells within the first week of listing it. It sells well and it sells for a decent price. So here are the steps:

Step 1: Lumber! I have tried several different sizes and it seems to be a fine line as far as what becomes way to big and bulky compared to what is way to small to actually play a game on. I have found that a stock 2 x 2 from any lumber store seems to be just about right. Feel free to experiment with different sizes, maybe you will find you prefer a true 1×1 or 2×2 square is best for you. Please keep in mind the cost, availability, and diameter of the Chessmen when experimenting with board size. Looks pretty stupid if the pieces don’t fit the board!

Step 2: Once you have decided on a size that works for you it’s time to get to it and start cutting. You will end up with 64 pieces total when done. Here is a pic of my cut sheet and layout of the board. I have the tallest columns at 7″ on the outside which puts the shortest at 1″ in the middle. I find this layout visually appealing, don’t be afraid to experiment and play around with it.

Chess Cut Sheet

Step 3: You should be sitting there looking at a pile of 64 cut columns, something like this.

3D chess 1

Time to start sanding! I find it easiest to just lay a piece of sandpaper on the bench and go to town. I have tried this with just about every sander you can think of but the manual method still seems to work the best when it comes to how they fit together when your all done. I also sand just enough to make it smooth to the touch but am careful not to round off any edges or change the shape. Laying it flat on the bench helps a lot with the edges.


Step 4: Now that you have everything sanded you are pretty much done. Mock it all up so you have the pieces arranged to your liking.

3D Chess 2

Only thing left to do is glue them up and finish to your preference. I glue them one complete row at a time and then glue all the rows together. For me this is the easiest way to do it with my current collection of clamps. If I were making these all the time I would invest some time in making a clamp station or a clamping box and glue larger sections or all at once if I could. The finish is just a matter of personal preference. I prefer a rustic burnt wood finish. It’s cheap and easy! Then I finish it off with a few coats of spray Poly and voila! 3D Chess Board!

3D Chess

I am sure there are all sorts of better and more efficient ways to do this but this is the way I do it. If you have a better way good for you. Please do an instructable and share so we can all benefit from your knowledge. If not, I hope this helps you if you decide to make one for yourself. Happy Building!

P.S. I will be posting a lot more DIY projects as we get going. If you like please follow our blog, Thanks.