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Default Bowed chess board...would like to find a big planer

Hi all. A chessboard I had made for me is quite bowed, and I'd like to
fix it. It is big though--almost 22" square. The stock is thick enough
that I think this could be corrected.

Can I find a planer at a furniture shop so big? Otherwise it looks like
a lot of sanding is in my future.

Getting it flat by hand: I was thinking of glueing the sand paper on a
board and then placing my chessboard face-down and moving it back and
forth for a few weeks. I don't have a better idea on getting it flat,
and I probably can't hold a belt sander at the right angle to fix the
board and not ruin it with wrong and excessive removal.

I'm hardly a woodworker so a better solution is always welcome.

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Doug Miller
 
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In article .com, wrote:
Hi all. A chessboard I had made for me is quite bowed, and I'd like to
fix it. It is big though--almost 22" square. The stock is thick enough
that I think this could be corrected.


I think your first step ought to be to talk to the guy who made it for you,
and see what he can/will do to fix it.

Can I find a planer at a furniture shop so big? Otherwise it looks like
a lot of sanding is in my future.


Possible, but somewhat doubtful. You're *much* more likely to find a cabinet
shop, or hardwood dealer, with a thickness sander wide enough to handle that.
Post your location here, and I'll bet somebody chimes in to tell you who to
contact.

You probably don't want to plane it anyway. Chessboards are usually built with
the wood grain in the dark and light squares mutually perpendicular, like
this:

||==||==||==||==
==||==||==||==||
||==||==||==||==
==||==||==||==||
etc

and no matter how you plane that (except diagonally, in which case you'd need
a 30" planer) you're going to get some tearout. A sander avoids that problem.

Probably, it will be necessary to shim it on the bottom side as it goes
through the sander, to keep it stable and level. After one side is sanded
flat, turn it over and sand the other side too. Try to remove an equal amount
of wood from each face; otherwise, it's likely to cup again.

Once it's flat, you should use a random-orbit sander to remove the ridges and
grooves left by the thickness sander. I'd start out with 100-grit sandpaper,
then 150, and then 220. Apply the finish of your choice, and you're done.

--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)

Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt.
And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
  #6   Report Post  
loutent
 
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Check out the current issue of Wood magazine.

They have an article on how to flaten any board
using a router and a pretty simple jig.

This would get it down pretty quickly compared
to sanding with a hand sander.

Lou

In article .com,
wrote:

Hi all. A chessboard I had made for me is quite bowed, and I'd like to
fix it. It is big though--almost 22" square. The stock is thick enough
that I think this could be corrected.

Can I find a planer at a furniture shop so big? Otherwise it looks like
a lot of sanding is in my future.

Getting it flat by hand: I was thinking of glueing the sand paper on a
board and then placing my chessboard face-down and moving it back and
forth for a few weeks. I don't have a better idea on getting it flat,
and I probably can't hold a belt sander at the right angle to fix the
board and not ruin it with wrong and excessive removal.

I'm hardly a woodworker so a better solution is always welcome.

  #8   Report Post  
 
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Doug Miller wrote:


I think your first step ought to be to talk to the guy who made it

for you,
and see what he can/will do to fix it.

Can I find a planer at a furniture shop so big? Otherwise it looks

like
a lot of sanding is in my future.


Possible, but somewhat doubtful. You're *much* more likely to find a

cabinet
shop, or hardwood dealer, with a thickness sander wide enough to

handle that.
Post your location here, and I'll bet somebody chimes in to tell you

who to
contact.

You probably don't want to plane it anyway. Chessboards are usually

built with
the wood grain in the dark and light squares mutually perpendicular,

like
this:

||==||==||==||==
==||==||==||==||
||==||==||==||==
==||==||==||==||
etc

and no matter how you plane that (except diagonally, in which case

you'd need
a 30" planer) you're going to get some tearout. A sander avoids that

problem.

Probably, it will be necessary to shim it on the bottom side as it

goes
through the sander, to keep it stable and level. After one side is

sanded
flat, turn it over and sand the other side too. Try to remove an

equal amount
of wood from each face; otherwise, it's likely to cup again.

Once it's flat, you should use a random-orbit sander to remove the

ridges and
grooves left by the thickness sander. I'd start out with 100-grit

sandpaper,
then 150, and then 220. Apply the finish of your choice, and you're

done.

--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)


Thanks. I have some cabinet shops not so far away from me. Thanks for
the advice.

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Andy Dingley wrote:


What's it made of ? If it's veneered, then you'll take the surface
off it and lose the board.

If it's made from glued up solid blocks, then it shouldn't have

warped
so much. This type would be thicknessable to flatten it, but then it
shouldn't need to have it done.

What's it made of, and how much bow is there ?


Hmmm, about 1/4" bow. The board is 3/4 walnut and soft maple. There
should be enough thickness that it could be fixed.

Why the bow? Maybe the amateur board maker didn't use seasoned wood,
and he didn't quite sand it flat either.

I've read that finishing the playing surface but not the underside can
induce stresses? The bottom panel looks like ash to me and is
unfinished.

Well, I got it for cheap. I hope one pass at fixing it will be enough.

I'm an avid chess player and I really enjoy fine pieces and boards (I
don't know how many thousands of hours I have left to stare at a chess
board in my life but I'd like a nice board to size-match my nice House
of Staunton Collector pieces).

I maybe ought to have a professional (instead of my good-natured eBay
contact above) make my next board to my specs, and get a guarantee
against warping and splitting, etc..

Live and learn I guess. I knew I was taking a chance going the cheap
route. Apart from the bowing the board was quite good for its colors,
contrast, geometric precision of the squares, and satin finish though.
A good practical board for a "serious" player.

That can run from a couple hundred dollars to a thousand, depending on
materials--or more for boards that use exotics like Brazilian Rosewood,
which I don't have to have.

Anyone interested can poke around here for what HOS buys for its
customers:

http://www.houseofstaunton.com/board5.html

HOS gets some of its boards from Europe and some from domestic makers.
When the pricetag rises above $200 you begin to get away from veneers.

This one I like, a simple and traditional design:

http://www.houseofstaunton.com/boards/SigTradPH25x.jpg

but $1000 seems a lot for it, even if there is a lot of purpleheart in
it. Maybe an experienced woodworker could look at it and say that's a
reasonable price.

Thanks for your time, Andy.

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J. Clarke wrote:


I'm curious--do you just need to flatten the bottom so it doesn't

rock or is
it bowed enough that the pieces move around and you have to flatten

the top
as well? If the latter, then consider that the playing surface is

almost
certainly veneer and likely only a fraction of an inch thick.

There are shops around with planers big enough to handle stock 22"

wide.
Best bet is to call around.

Might do better to put it on a flat surface with some weight.

--
--John


Hi John,

Both top and bottom need flattening. I already flattened the bottom
(just the bottom of the frame needed it; it has a recessed panel). The
bottom has bowed since then and I think the top as well. Maybe I
accelerated that process by removing material from the bottom of the
frame?

As I said above, the squares are 3/4 walnut and soft maple, the frame
3/4 soft maple, the panel looks like ash.

I'll give some effort over time and try to fix it. If the wood doesn't
move over several months I'll put a finish on it.

If all goes well I guess I should finish the underside panel as well or
face the same problem later as leaving just the top finished may induce
stress?

Thanks for your reply John.



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Mike Marlow
 
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wrote in message
oups.com...


Both top and bottom need flattening. I already flattened the bottom
(just the bottom of the frame needed it; it has a recessed panel). The
bottom has bowed since then and I think the top as well. Maybe I
accelerated that process by removing material from the bottom of the
frame?


Here's what concerns me as the plot thickens... This board is continuing to
move. So yes - if you take material away you are just going to make it
easier for the board to move again, and possibly more. You've got to
address the underlying problem before you can deal with the impact of that
problem.

- How old is this board? Perhaps it needs drying time. If so, then don't
take any more material off. You can only hope that it will not move past a
point that you can save it after it reaches it's stability level.

- Any idea how well dried the wood was when it was built? Knowing this
will at least get you barking up the right tree. As well, you may have a
recourse against the person or company from whom you bought the board.
Don't know, but it's worth investigating.

- How humid or dry is the area where you live? This is going to give you
an idea how likely it is that excessive movement is a result of your
environment, which could possibly point to other relief techniques. For
example, if you suffer some pretty large swings in RH you can expect some
pretty significant movement in your wood. Sealing the surfaces all the way
around may provide the ultimate solution for you, but you also may find that
having someone cut a kerf around the outside perimeter of the playing
surface to provide relief for wood movement will work. I'm not suggesting
that approach, I am just trying to suggest alternatives that could be as
different as night and day which will be based on a number of factors
including your environment.


--

-Mike-



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Hax Planks
 
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says...

Both top and bottom need flattening. I already flattened the bottom
(just the bottom of the frame needed it; it has a recessed panel). The
bottom has bowed since then and I think the top as well. Maybe I
accelerated that process by removing material from the bottom of the
frame?

As I said above, the squares are 3/4 walnut and soft maple, the frame
3/4 soft maple, the panel looks like ash.

I'll give some effort over time and try to fix it. If the wood doesn't
move over several months I'll put a finish on it.

If all goes well I guess I should finish the underside panel as well or
face the same problem later as leaving just the top finished may induce
stress?

Thanks for your reply John.


If the board has unfinished solid wood, then that is probably why it
warped. If the bottom panel was unfinished solid ash, then it would
expand and contract across the grain making warp inevitable. A plywood
base might have actually been more stable, but in any case the builder
should have sealed the board top and bottom to minimize moisture
exchange with varying humidity. If you flatten it and leave part of it
still unfinished, then it will likely warp again. Your best bet is to
flatten it, and seal any exposed wood with shellac. Unfinished wood may
be the root of your problem--don't leave it that way for long. But if
for any reason you want to remove Shellac, you can with some denatured
alcohol and elbow grease. Shellac would be a good choice for a finish
on a chessboard, and is an excellent base coat for just about any other
finish.

You might want to try exposing it to differing humidity levels to see if
it straightens out some. A cheap humidifier, if you don't already have
one, in a small room could raise the humidity, and raising the heat in a
small space can lower it. Of course the effects, if any, could take a
while to see. I haven't actually tried this, but in theory it may bring
the board back to a condition more like when it was new. You may be
able to guess if it gained or lost moisture from the warp. If the board
has a concave warp, then it probably gained moisture, and vice versa for
convex. Of course, it could be inherently unstable since it is
basically a two-ply laminate of very different wood layers. You may
want to seal it and leave it in the conditions where it will spend most
of its time for a good long while and let it finish doing its thing and
then flatten it.
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Andy Dingley
 
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It was somewhere outside Barstow when wrote:

Hmmm, about 1/4" bow. The board is 3/4 walnut and soft maple. There
should be enough thickness that it could be fixed.


My question was really "Why did it bow".

Most chessboards I've seen have been made in one of two ways;
sheetgoods (plywood, MDF, etc.) with veneer on it. Or else
glued-together blocks of contrasting timber. Now the glued-block form
may well distort, especially if poorly seasoned, but because it's
small block it should form small per-block ripples, more than one big
curve.

I've read that finishing the playing surface but not the underside can
induce stresses?


That's certainly a bad idea. The finish doesn't stress it, but it
changes the moisture absorbency. If one side is wetter than the other,
then that will certainly cause warping.

The bottom panel looks like ash to me and is
unfinished.


Bottom panel ? So this board sounds like a 2-ply lamination.
"Chequered" on the top (squares of contrasting timber), and a layer of
solid underneath. Now this construction is just a bad idea from the
outset - a two-sided lamination like this is asymmetric and will
_never_ be stable.

If you're going for this sort of construction, make it in 3 layers.
Duplicate the top layer on the bottom layer as well - it needn't be
chequered, but a plain veneer or one of the timbers would certainly be
a structurally good idea.


IMHE it's not worth repairing game boards like this. They either work
right from the start, or they're never going to work, no matter what
you do to them afterwards. Sand it flat in the winter and it might
just warp back the other way come summer. If it went wrong at all,
it's because the construction technique was wrong to begin with.

I'm not a chess player, but I do play go and make boards for it.
If you think chess boards can be expensive at the high end, you
haven't seen what a "good" goban sells for !

IMHE, there are two ways I make goban. One is traditional - take a
huge slab of a perfect tree, dry it carefully for years, then finish
the top surface beautifully by hand work. Some of these were
traditionally a "low table" in themselves, several inches thick and
with small feet so that they make the right playing height when
kneeling alongside.

Alternatively, veneer some MDF. This makes a _great_ board and is
little more than an exercise in simple plain veneering. MDF is simple
to work with, stable against warping and when around an inch thick it
has sufficient mass to be stable when playing. Go is a bit more
tactile than chess - the "feel" of the board is important when placing
stones. As before, veneer both top and bottom equally.

As a "thin" board (i.e. under 1") then I'd rather play on an MDF board
with a plain veneer top than on a solid timber board.



--
Inbreeding - nature's way of always giving you enough fingers to count your cousins
  #15   Report Post  
Rob Mitchell
 
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Doug Miller wrote:

You probably don't want to plane it anyway. Chessboards are usually built with
the wood grain in the dark and light squares mutually perpendicular, like
this:


Doug, do you know why this is so? Is it appearance, or structural? My
first thought was that reversing the grain would introduce more strain
from expansion/contraction.
Rob




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All my commercial board have the light/dark grains in the same
direction. Ditto all the pics of boards I have on my hard drive.

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All my commercial board have the light/dark grains in the same
direction. Ditto all the pics of boards I have on my hard drive.

Trying to place the grains perpendicular is a try, I think, at getting
a better adhesive bond.

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Doug Miller
 
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In article , Rob Mitchell wrote:
Doug Miller wrote:

You probably don't want to plane it anyway. Chessboards are usually built

with
the wood grain in the dark and light squares mutually perpendicular, like
this:


Doug, do you know why this is so? Is it appearance, or structural?


Appearance.

My
first thought was that reversing the grain would introduce more strain
from expansion/contraction.


It does.

--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)

Nobody ever left footprints in the sands of time by sitting on his butt.
And who wants to leave buttprints in the sands of time?
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As you say, it may just be a lost cause. I'll give it some time
though--partially out of curiosity and a seed of hope here and there.

I'll get a pro to make my next board, but I may attempt one or two on
my own in the meantime. What do you think about cutting up some craft
maple/walnut and press gluing to mdf,,,assuming I can cut excellent
squares by clamping my fence down.

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