Happy New Year !!!!! I hope your holiday was as magical as mine – it feels SO GOOD to take some time off ! At first my brain went numb – detox style ! But after a few good nights’ sleep and a whole load of family time, it started kicking back in with tons of new ideas for the new year… I still have a few days to go before I’m back in London but I can tell you now, 2014 is looking good already !
Meanwhile, here is a peek at a project I had fun with over the break. Thanks to my talented step-dad Robin and his super cool machines for cutting wood, we made a chess board ! It was a gift to my Mr Marcel and since I spent so much time and love on it and the outcome is pretty awesome, I’m hoping it will go down in the family for hundreds of years ;-) A massive thanks to Robin for all his help !!!!!
To make our chess board, we used :
- Dark and light wood as well as a intermediate colour for the frame. The whole lot cost us circa £3. – Wood glue – Sand paper – A wooden base (we recycled an old shelf) – Wax – Nuts and bolts to make the chess pieces, I bought a whole selection for about £25 – Black spray paint to paint half the pieces
The first step was to cut out and sand all the square pieces. Because out wood was long and thin, we simply measured the width and cut the same size long-ways to make squares. Our wood wasn’t all the same thickness but that was OK we simply sanded it all down at the end. We needed 32 squares in each colour. Each square was lightly sanded on all sides to make it neat.
The next step was to cut out our base. We started by taking an old shelf and cutting a perfect 90° corner. Then we clamped in two sides of the frame (joined at a 45° angle) and started sticking down the squares… All 8 rows of them !
The most important part was to make sure all the squares were put down with the grain in the same direction. This makes it much easier to sand and the result looks more professional. Don’t get it wrong because the wood glue dries very quickly ! Apparently, if a wooden toy breaks, it is more likely to break in the middle of the wood than where the glue stuck it together – that’s how strong this stuff is ! When all the rows were down we put heavy wood on top of the whole board and clamped it all down to dry. The whole project took just 1:30 hours to dry.
Meanwhile, it was time to make our pieces. I messed around with the nuts and bolts for a while, trying to figure out what I wanted them to look like. You can design them however you like but I think the main thing is to vary width and height so that you can really differentiate the pieces. I used everything up except for two bolts – that’s a lot of hardware and it’s nice and heavy, I love the feel.
To join all the bits and bobs together, I cut down a long screw. I had never seen anything like it but apparently it’s a common tool ! It was about 1m long and was 8mm thick. I used a metal saw and blimey did it take forever ! That was my Christmas workout sorted ! I cut the pieces over a few days to break down the job. In the end it was definitely worth it as I am so proud I made these myself ! What do you think ?
As soon as the glue was dry, we removed the wood from on top of the board and finished the frame. We used the same machine as to cut out the squares but this time with the blade at a 45° angle. As soon as we had stuck down the frame and let it dry, we cut the base into a neat square and CHECKMATE !
The final stage was to sand the whole thing down…
I’m so proud of the result and even though the project is a little time-consuming it’s definitely worth it. Thanks again Robin !!!
Happy new year to you all again, I hope all your wildest dreams come true ! See you soon on Clones N Clowns for a fantastic year of fun !
xx from peaceful France