Making a Giant Chess Table

I bought a giant chess set, with 8″ kings, for my daughter’s birthday. The chessmen are awesome, but the board, a flimsy fabric with too-small squares, left a lot to be desired. I was looking on craigslist for a table that might work as a board for this set when I found this perfect, square, solid-oak, 41″ x 41″ coffee table.

Rather than paint squares on the table, I was inspired by elegant wood boards the likes of this FIDE board or the professional DGT boards to make the squares via light and dark stained wood.

A little googling, and I came across a technique for making designs in wood using stain and wood glue. After masking off your desired design, you paint wood glue mixed with water over the areas where you don’t want the stain to take. With the wood glue dried on the light colored squares, I applied stain to the whole board. No worries about getting stain over the light colored squares, since they’re sealed with wood glue, the stain just wipes off of them – awesome. To protect the table, I finished with a few coats of satin polyurethane.