A Timeless Game for A Timeless Craft

Posted: May 30, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

In a time before man became civilized some battles were too costly. Civility had begun to make its way into the minds of the leaders of the clans. In the darkness of a cave resides the old wizard, mystic, master of fire and shaper of iron. He has developed a new tool to develop the strategic thinking. Here one is made,  reminiscent of days of old and yet somehow a reminder that all that was still is.

Hi Guys!
I made this for my friend. The idea came to me, and probably had seen one before, when I was looking at some Medieval stuff for a book that I was, might still do later on. Since my friend lives in Germany it just clicked in my mind. There are some leaps to connect these dots for sure. Hahaha.


I like to make things with a minimum of tools and this was no different. I don’t have a lot of tools in my shop at this point anyway so sometimes it makes me be work differently than I am still inclined to do so. Ah if only I had a machine…. 🙂


Miniatures are a bit of a PIA to make. I deviated a little in design and they all fit on a 3.5cm square. The Pawns are 2 different style anvils, one an English style, the other European style. The European style fit on the diagonal as they kept coming out slightly longer. I think I was having too much fun making them and the size was small enough, but easy enough to make, so I just kept making them. Yes I could have filed them down to size and I did clean all the pieces up in a few spots, but I wanted them to be off the anvil as much as possible. Why? It is what I wanted.

Waiting for Rook Bodies to heat up
The Kings are about 12 cm tall, Queens about 11.5 cm, Bishops 11 cm, Knights 10.5, Rooks 8 and the Pawns about 5 cm tall. Pretty much straight forging. I started with the Pawns (anvils), then the King and Queens (hammers) and moved down the line. The Bishops are Tongs as we all know the Francis Whitaker’s quote, “If you cannot hold it, you cannot work it” and so rightly belong in the hierarchy of tools. The knights (files) were originally going to have a punch and chisel with them, but that was a lot to fit on that base so I set the punch and chisel aside. The Rooks were a challenge, what could represent them. Ahh, ha! A Swage Block upon an obelisk would do the trick.

2015-04-15 16.27.36     To dress things up a bit I had originally thought of using copper and steel wire to wrap the King and Queen handles in, but discovered all the solid wire was too large. I had copper wire, what I would call a #12 and even that was a bit large. 14 or 16 gage was what I had in mind, so I did away with the wrap down the handles and used it just around the heads and 3-4 turns under them. I had plenty of steel wire to use, but matched the copper wrapping for some balance between the pieces. I did drill the hole for the Tong Rivet and the Hammer handles. I allowed myself this luxury. Some guy’s voice in the back of my head kept telling me to make it easy on myself. Hahaha. He knows who he is. 🙂

20150425_13310720150425_133313    The box was an afterthought that my wife put there. I was going to have a wooden one made, but she reminded me I could just make one out of wood or metal myself. Yeah, but…. And the next day I looked around, I had some galvanized sheet that I am never going to use, so… a bend here and there later, Viola! I had a small piece of copper sheet and a brass dial holder from a long ago project still in my repousse tool kit that is what is on the top. The belts are new and I just cut and tipped them with the same galv. sheet. It has been a long time since I made a sheet metal box and I made several mistakes, but managed to make is all work. Finish is just wire wheeled and clear coated. I did use a regular rivet gun and then flattened them with a hammer. The metal guys didn’t have any smaller stock and I didn’t feel like making (50) 1/8” rivets out of my ½ round or square bar. Call me lazy. 🙂

There you have it. Oh the best is my friend loved the set, so it is a success. 🙂

DSCN2239Historical Note: No one really knows who invented Chess, but surely it could have been a Blacksmith! 🙂


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