chess set

Past weekend i've spend making a chess set. The reason for it is that in a few weeks time i'll be going to Guild School (i'm so excited again, yah!! :))), and one of the classes i'll be taking is a painting class with Mary Grady O'Brien. She'll be teaching us paint techniques and styles on a game table made by Mark Murphy. At the end of the week there's always a short display of all class results and i figured it would be fun if it would be staged with an actual chess set?

They're turned out of round acrylic stock, 2,7 mm in diameter. The advantage of acrylic material is it takes a lot of detail and can be polished to a high sheen.

I started out with all the pawns to get a feel of the material and proportions. After that is was on to the fancy pieces. I don't own a duplicator so the same pieces are all measured up by eye. When finished one set was colored black with a standard Edding or Sharpie. To complete the set i made a chess board out of veneer on a core of 1,2 mm multiplex.  

ps. poke on any picture to open it a new screen. It will let you zoom in for more detail.  


  1. Hello Deborah,
    Your skills always impress and delight. The chess set is just gorgeous and so well made.
    Big hug,

  2. Hoi Deborah,

    Ik ben erg onder de indruk van wat jij allemaal kan maken. Ook dit is weer zo gedetailleerd.
    Het ziet er allemaal zo mooi en netjes afgewerkt uit.
    Je kijkt je ogen uit, het is net alsof het 1 op 1 is.
    Je zou je zo vergissen.
    Mooi hoor.

    Groet, Alexandra.

  3. C'est incroyable de réalisme ....

  4. Niet te geloven dat je dit zelf hebt gemaakt. Wat een kunstwerk.

    Groeten Xandra

  5. O jogo de xadrez é perfeito.
    Um trabalho maravilhoso!

  6. You never fail to blow me away with your talent. I LOVE the chess set. I can't believe how perfectly you copied the pieces with out a duplicator. It is a beautiful set!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Magnificent!!! And I will get to see them for real at Castine too, yeah, see you soon! :-)

  8. Dit vind ik zó ontzettend mooi............ respect Debby!!! Ik wens je alvast veel succes en plezier bij de Guild School!

  9. это потрясающе!!!!!! А вы можете дать подробный урок на эту тему?????????????

  10. Do not laugh, but I'm almost shocked!
    Your talent is worthy of a Queen's dollhouse: a pity that these days the Queens are uninterested in this topic :-(
    Your Chess is FABULOUS :-)
    Lovely hugs

  11. Beautiful work Debby! I think I have said this before, but you've got a real carpenter's eye, which shows in all of the pawns being of equal size.
    Next step: ebony and ivory pieces?

    Such a nice thought to make something beforehand to complement one of your class pieces. I think your fellow students and teachers at Castine will really enjoy seeing this!

  12. wow, thats amazing! Are you sure you don't own a duplicator? ;)

  13. I hardly belive what I see, it`s fantastic!!!
    I`m so impressed!

  14. Simply beautiful Debora! Fabulous work :) I must have read your mind because a few days ago I was turning acrylic vases getting ready for the Cleveland show and I thought ---chess set! Just flashed through my mind ---

  15. Those are incredible! Well done. What tools did you use to make them?

  16. Hi Debora, the chess pieces look stunning!
    Enjoy Mary's class it was one of my favorites for this year and love to see your finished piece.

  17. Je ne sais pas quoi dire ....
    Je suis juste admirative de votre travail et j envie votre talent .
    Je vous souhaite un très bon stage . J espère que vous nous montrerez des photos de votre table peinte .

  18. Wow! Amazing chess pieces. It's hardly believable they ar miniatures. Excellent
    Hugs, Drora

  19. Nou daar ga je zeker hoge ogen mee gooien....schaak mat zou ik zeggen! Prachtig stukje vakvrouwschap:))))

  20. O`wow! Wonderful work!

  21. So amazing. The detail is fabulous. Thanks for sharing. IndyPoppy

  22. Thanks everyone, glad to hear you all like it so much. So much went wrong initially that, for me they are not what i had envisioned upfront, but they are a bit of a compromise? Still a good compromise though :)

    @ Josje, you mentioned ivory and you know i love it when i can match up materials with the original... But certified ivory is hard to get your hands on and given it's source not my first choice in this case (or any case). Cos there is this wonderful alternative; Tagua nuts, also known as vegetable ivory. I started out cutting and turning tagua to make the pieces... but it drove me wild. It's extremely hard (on the tools) and i had a really hard time even making plain round stock out of the square pieces i'd cut. The slightest increase in tool pressure let to flakes flying round or even breaking off and me saying indecent words :/ Keeping the cutting tools as sharp as possible It took forever to make just two paws so i swapped to acrylic stock i'd lying around. Far more easier to turn but a bit too white to represent ivory. Seeing them now I think ill give them a patina this afternoon?

    I haven't made much pics during the make, but i'll post how i'd made the board and set.

    @ linda, you're telepathic? :D I've had it with the footstool you chip carved. Days before i thought of doing one of those. Funny!!! l Best of luck in Cleveland, i wish i could visit your table.

    1. True, old ivory is hard to get, although I saw a cheap old piano at the Westfriese Beurs a few months ago, giving you enough material to last a lifetime. Old billiard balls are another good source. I don't have a problem with old ivory coming from these sources, I think it would be a shame to waste these materials. New material of course is a whole different story.

      I can imagine which words you were saying when things didn't go the way you wanted them to, haha!

  23. Beautiful work and some lovely photos.

  24. It is difficult to believe that they are miniatures! Just beautiful....


  25. OOOOOHHHHHHH!!!!!!! this is absolutely amazing!
    I can not believe my eyes, these pieces are perfect, though I think they are made by hand I go crazy! LOL
    I do not I understand what materials you used, the translator says "acrylic"... ???? perhaps you mean plastic?
    where you can find the plastic to do this?
    Finally, you cut with the lathe electric?
    excuse the many questions, I am very curious, I'd like to see how you did the work, step by step...
    a big hug from Italy, with affection and a ray of sunshine :)

  26. So beautiful and perfect! I agree it's a bit white, but the shape is perfect.

    Have a great time in Castine!

  27. That is seriously amazing Deborah! They are so well made, wow!
    Yes, enjoy your time at the Guild School, must be something like a child at Disneyland right?

  28. Bonjour,
    J'admire beaucoup votre travail! C'est magnifiquement réalisé.
    Merci pour vos explications.

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  30. Great collection and I sure wish I could write stories for these pictures!Look how lovely these are. I wish I could draw like this. I will miss you, my sweet friend. Looking forward to when you're back.I really appreciate all your comments, thank you! I’m back behind my desk and hope to start blogging again and catching up with all your lovely blogs in the coming days.............

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