Sunday, January 27, 2013

All Over 'cept the Shipping

     Here's the first photo of the custom chess piece case completely finished:

Ready to be Shipped to Washington D.C.

     I'll be the first to admit that this project took a lot longer and was much more complicated than I initially planned for.  Let's just say to duplicate it will cost about $200.00 more than this one does and leave it at that!  That being said, this was a wonderful project, one that definitely kept me on my toes and thinking every step of the way.  When you open it up, it will lay completely flat and look like this:

Open with Half Exposed
    If you're a chess player you're familiar with the pieces, there is space for 4 pawns on the left, then comes the bishop, castle, and knight, while the king and queen go at the right.  Under the cover is the same arrangement for the pieces of the opposing team.

Installing Hinges
     The final stages of a project can be some of the most challenging.  As an example, let's talk about the hinges.  I'm using quality brass hinges so naturally brass screws are a must.  Even though they're a bit touchier to install I prefer to use a traditional, slotted screw.  Anytime you use brass screws you run the risk of twisting them apart.  This is especially true with a hardwood like Walnut and a small, #4 screw.  Each screw hole was first pre-drilled and then pre-screwed with a steel screw.  Once all of them were installed, the steel screw was removed and carefully replaced with a brass screw.  Yes, that's beeswax there, that's my insurance and not one of these little screws twisted apart.

     Once the hardware was installed it was time to get the grid work in place.  Talk about a jigsaw puzzle!  Each piece is numbered on the end and installation starts by placing the long pieces along with the required spacers in to the case.

Long Dividers and Spacers In Place

      Once these are installed, they will be held in position by the two, short end pieces. You can see one laying outside of the case in the above picture.  Putting these in position requires everybody to cooperated and stay in line!

Side One Installed, One More to Go
     The final piece to this puzzle are the long, outside pieces.  The way I designed this is that they will hold the entire grid in place.  There are only four screws that keep the grid in place, two in each of the long, outside pieces.  There is enough space for the grid to "float" within the box.  That part of the design is to compensate for seasonal changes that will probably occur in the eastern part of the United States where this box is headed for, not too much of a concern here in the desert where are average humidity is well below 10%!

Screwed in Securely

     Getting those four, little screws in was a challenge and I knew it would be.  I was showing a fellow woodworker the grid and he was wondering how I'd accomplish that.  On the pawn side of the box there is only 1 5/8" to work in and the king/queen gave me about 2 1/4".  Well, I pre-drilled the holes to begin with.  The tool I'm using in the picture above is an old Stanley No. 3400, Yankee screwdriver.  It's one I bought at Silvera Lumber in Antioch, CA when I worked there as a teenager in the 60's!  At that time I probably didn't have any real use for it and bought it because it was a cool little tool.  If you check Ebay, there are 3 available ranging for under $20.00 each.
     To sum it up, this was a great project and I'm grateful for the trust my client put in my work based on my website and Etsy store.  I've been fortunate to have positive feed back from other clients on these and that's the only way to build my reputation.  Couldn't have done this without the internet and it's long distance reach.

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