How to Make Chess Pieces Out of Wood

how to make chess pieces

Handmade wooden chess pieces are some of the most unique items you can add to your chest set—and surprisingly, they aren’t all that difficult to make! You can make your very own wooden chest pieces right from home as long as you have the right tools, material, and a little patience to carve and craft a completely unique set of chess pieces that are sure to impress anyone who steps into your living room for a competitive game of chess.

What You’ll Need

Making wooden chess pieces requires the right tools and supplies. You will need the following basic items in order to make your own wooden chess pieces UK.

  • Uncarved wooden blocks (You can find some sold specifically to make chess sets online)
  • Sandpaper and filing paper
  • Wood glue
  • Wood stain and varnish
  • Paper and pencil
  • Carving tools (there are many types—base this on your personal preference)
  • Optional: lead balls (for weighting)
  • Optional: felt

Step One: Design Your Pieces

Before you start making your wooden chess pieces UK, you should have a firm design set down on paper. A firm design will help you ensure that you have a cohesive design when you start to carve your pieces out. You can find many chess piece patterns online or you can design your very own unique handmade wooden chess pieces.

Step Two: Start carving

Now that you have your design ready, you can begin carving out your chess pieces. You should ideally start by carving out the basic shape of the piece before moving on to the finer details with more exact tools, such as special carving knives, which require a more steady hand.   

Step Three: Sand your wooden chess pieces

Once you have the pieces all carved out, it’s time to sand down the wood. This will create a smooth, even surface that can be treated in order to help the wood stay pristine for years to come. There is no exact grit of sandpaper you have to use, but test out the sandpaper on some test pieces if you want to get a better idea of how they will impact the look and feel of your finished pieces.

Step Four: Polish your handmade wooden chess pieces

Once the pieces have been carved and sanded down, you can finally polish them with the varnish or finish of your choice. You should look for a varnish that is designed to help preserve the lifespan of the wood, as this will help your handmade chess pieces last for a longer time.

Optional: Attach Felt to Your Pieces

If you’d like, you can use wood glue to add felt to the bottom of your chest pieces. Felt will help reduce the sound each piece makes when moved around the board and can help prevent your pieces from accidentally scratching your game board. 

And that’s it! All you have to do to have your very own handmade wooden chess pieces is follow the above simple steps and you’ll have a conversation piece that doubles as a game in no time.

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