I needed a small project that will get me started on the lathe. I figured making a turned chess set would be good because it can be as simple as I need it to be and I can do a piece here and there as time permits.
Before I dive in, I found it useful to look around at designs that would be achievable given my equipment and skills. Firstly, I read Mike Darlow’s Turning Chessmen. This opened my eyes about how to design chessmen in terms of the pieces looking like they belong to the same set and also how diverse chessmen can be historically – there is life beyond Staunton! There are some cool modern designs out there, too.
The internet provided some instant gratification while waiting for the book to arrive. Edwards Smith talks through the process of turning a set of chessmen in great detail. I’ll follow in his wake by documenting my own experience.
Lastly, on the subject of literature, I picked up a copy of Elementary Turning on Chris Schwarz’s suggestion. I’ve not yet completed the lessons, but it seems to be a great introduction into turning and I will keep it beside me at the lathe.