Care for wooden chess pieces
Load a wooden chess set
Felt chess Pieces
...load a chess set
Loading a chess set is not difficult - if you have the appropriate equipment at hand. Which sets to load and for what reason, is something to decide beforehand - if the set is antique it is probably better to leave well alone.
The ideal set up is to have
- a vertical drill with bottom fixtures for the pieces to drill, preferably small to medium size (ca. 800 W) (a drill depth scale on the side is useful)
- or at least a lever-operated stand to hang Your power drill into for precision drilling,
- asmall measuring rod with a scale,
- a selection of wood drills in various forms,
- precut cylindrical sections of lead, preferably in standard weights of 5 g, 10 g, 20, 30 g and even 40 g,
- white wood glue.
As perfection is difficult to achieve, I had to make do here with a large power drill, unsuitable drill heads, and round fishing weights - but these at least in standard weights.
My procedure of placing the power drill onto the table, and pushing the pieces up against the rotating drill head is risky to say the least, imprecise and potentially self-mutilating - and can not be recommended. Here goes!
Conclusion and secondary technique
On this set - massive pieces king size 100 mm - I used 40 g weights on kings and queens, 30 g weights on the lighter pieces, and 20 g balls on the pawns. I repeat that having precut cylindrical weights - fe sections sawed off a lead stick - would be much better, as would be the use of proper drill heads and a vertically fixed drill.
Another technique if you do not want to go to all this trouble and get Your waistcoat smattered with sawdust - or if the chess pieces are fine and fragile - would be the following:
- get precut lead disks - (for small pieces fat steel or copper washers might do),
- contact glue,
- glue the disks to the appropriate chess pieces bases AFTER paring them to a flat surface,
- let dry and then add felt pads.
This is much easier, and will get good results as well. The problem lies in precise lead disks - washers are an alternative, although they usually do not provide sufficient weight.
....to felt a set of chessmen
Felting is definitely useful to improve the handling of chess sets, especially tournament sets. It makes sense in order to protect veneer surfaces from scratches, to allow sliding movements of pieces, and to cushion their landing on delicate board surfaces, let alone hide the boreholes from leading. Nicest is natural felt made from wool - not thicker than 3 mm - but wool felt will be attacked by moths! There are quite good felts on fibre basis, and any reasonably soft cloth material will do as well - but felt is felt!
Stamping out circular pads with round forms and hammer on a wood base, is very tedious and slow. Besides, it is not easy to find these circular cutters in large enough sizes. Better use scissors or paper knifes.
Use semi solid glue - You do not want to soak the pads as they then will harden and become scratchy - exactly what we do not want. One might find self-adhesive paper or cloth pads in crafts shops - these usually are not thick and soft enough for our purpose, but will do to felt plastic chessmen.