Chessmen design

I am new to turning and so need to keep things simple. There are some chessmen designs I have seen based around the hourglass shape. Two good examples are this and this.

My design will be based around a no-frills hourglass motif. In theory the pieces will look like this:

chess piece design version 1

Here are the general dimensions (piece, height, base diameter):

King,      4″ (to base of crown),  1 1/2″
Queen,  4″,         1 1/2″
Bishop,  3 1/2″,   1 1/4″
Knight,   3″,         1 1/4″
Castle,   3 1/2″,   1 1/4″
Pawn,    2″,          1″

In many sets, the knights are carved, but I practised on a piece of pine and soon found that it would take a lot of time for me to become anywhere near competent! For now, I’ll opt to make a purely turned knight with an armour helmet-shaped head. They should be easy to identify as the other pieces will resemble the classic shapes we expect.

The castles are, unlike in traditional sets, taller than the knights. I like the sweeping profile of the back row pieces that taller castles create. Also, it embodies the power of the castle relative to the knights – if height is somewhat proportional to power, a traditional small castle would not be appropriate.

I guess making the pieces will be relatively easy, but making sure that like pieces are identical will be the learning experience!


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