Top Secret- American Chess Table- Drawer inserts
The drawer for the chess table needs an insert in order to keep the chess and checker pieces neat, organized and displayed in a pleasing manner. I started with a few ideas on paper, and submitted the plans to the kangaroo court in the workshop. After a few minutes of explaining what the drawing was depicting, we had a few discussions on the best way to try and realize the design. After a few revisions and some needed feedback, we had a great plan, albeit an unproved set of skills needed to accomplish the tasks. I have never done any upholstery for my woodworking projects, and this would require a degree of skill in order to get a good look. Another question was the PVC pipe that I planned to use for the piece holders. I had to be able to glue them together, with enough strength not to break apart when they were put in the drawer. So with more questions and concerns than experience, its off to see what we can do!
First things first, A finalized plan on paper –
The next step is to play around with the PVC pipe and see how the concept is going to work. I took a 2 inch pipe, a 1.5 inch pipe and a 1.25 inch pipe and cut them in half on the bandsaw. After using them to size the chess piece bases, and what would fit best, it was decided the King and Queen would need a 2 inch pipe, the rook, knight and bishop would need the 1.5 pipe and the pawns would need the 1.25 inch pipe. The design requires some of the pipes to be glued together in order to be organized and look good. I glued a few test pieces together, and to my surprise, the glued pieces bonded very well, and the bond was extremely strong. The glued pieces were plenty strong enough for being in the drawer.
Some test pieces being glued together –
Testing is over, and now we need to cut enough pipes for both sides of the drawers. I also need to cut some dividers out of wood for the spacing and to keep the pieces from rolling around the drawer. After cutting out the pieces, a dry fit was tried, just to confirm all of the measurements would work.
Pipes cut for both drawer inserts glued up and ready to go –
Dry fitting the pieces for the drawer insert –
So before we go any farther, I apologize to anyone who is an actual upholstery artist. In no way shape or form, will i EVER be confused as an upholsterer. Remember, this is my first project using fabric and lining in a woodworking project! I proceeded to cut out fabric and the padding to fit each of the cut tubes. Some of the pipes are singles, and some are the glued together pieces. I used a fabric glue in order to attach the padding to the fabric, and then a 3M 45 spray adhesive to attach the fabric and padding to the pipes and the wood dividers. Lots of sticky fingers, and fuzzy padding on my fingers!
Fabric squares cut and ready to glue to the padding (the weights and the board were used to press the fabric to the padding after the glue was sprayed for about 5 minutes) –
The fabric is then glued to the padding using a fabric glue –
The padding and fabric combination is now glued to the pipes and the dividers –
This was the most frustrating part of the project for me. I had to trim up the padding on most pieces, because I did not cut enough overhang on the fabric to glue over the edges. Fuzzy fingers and very frustrating to get these to lay flat and look good.
The insert without the sides attached –
Now it was taking shape, and all of the planning and madness started to make sense (this does not happen that often, so please let me bask in the glory for just a moment!). My measurements were off a little, due to the inclusion of the fabric and padding on the divider pieces. I ended up about an eighth of an inch over my drawing measurements because of the fabric and padding. I had to adjust the edge pieces on the left and right of the insert accordingly.
I trimmed up the edges, cut the sides and added the cloth and padding. I was not able to get to a few of the divider pieces today, so you will see some spots still open, but that is on the list of things to do tomorrow. A quick note. When I planned the insert out, I had an idea about the size and dimensions, but did not take into account the height dimensions. With the pipes being different sizes, the insert did not look very good when i laid the pipes on a flat base. I had to cut some spacer blocks which raised the 1.5 inch pipe and the 1.25 inch pipes up to the level of the 2 inch pipes. It made the insert look much more pleasing to the eye with the pipes at the same level.
Insert completed, except for a few divider blocks –
From left to right, the compartment are for checkers, King/Queen, rook/knight/bishop, two pawns, and six pawns. I will add a small compartment at the top of the insert for a checker king compartment, which I will also use as a multiple Queen base for the pawns.
The drawer is empty-
The drawer with the insert –
A close up of the drawer insert –
The other drawer insert now needs to be built and upholstered. The fabric that I have chosen for the other drawer is a red and white stripe fabric, to contrast the blue with white stars. I ordered the drawer pulls for the front of the drawers and also need to install those. Once I build the other drawer insert, there will be a small 1 inch piece that will need to be built to separate the two sides. Once all that is done, the table will be delivered to its new owner! Stay tuned, as I complete the last few tasks, I will update the blog.