To finish out the case, we’re going to add a drawer. This houses the pieces until they’re called into action for a game. As you can see above, the drawer is pretty straightfo­rward, but unlike most drawers, it has a divider to split the armies.

FULL DRAWER FIRST. Making the drawer commences with sizing all of the parts. Note that the front of the drawer is thicker than the back, sides, and divider.

With the parts whipped into shape, you can tackle the joinery that unites them. Like the case, the joinery here is a series of tongues that mate into stopped dadoes.

As before, mark the stop position on your fence for each workpiece’s respective dadoes. Start with the dadoes in the front first. There are three here — one dado for each of the sides and the centered one for the divider. While you’re cutting the divider dado, cut the matching dado in the back.

Setting the front and back aside, cut the dadoes in the sides. Each side only has one dado (for the back).

TONGUES NEXT. Cutting the tongues comes next. The divider tongue is centered. Cut this first, then knock out the side and back tongues. With the joinery cut, you can assemble the drawer. The bottom slips into a rabbet that you can cut at the router table with a rabbeting bit, and is glued in place. The final details on the drawer are a knob and flocking the interior. You can purchase a knob that suits your style, or you can turn one, like I did. Just make sure the tenon on the knob matches your hole in the front of the drawer for a good secure connection.


The playing surface for a chess or checker board is where the rubber meets the road so to speak. There is some special attention you need to pay when you’re working on the top, as any inconsiste­nces will show up in the final pattern. And, before you get started, I would suggest using epoxy for this glueup. There’s a lot of end grain contact here, and epoxy does the best job of holding this otherwise weak joint together.

PREP IS THE KEY. The playing surface shown here is made from alternatin­g walnut and maple. Start with extra-long stock (four strips of each material) and surface it all at the same time — you want it all to be the same thickness. Then, rip them all to the exact same width. These get glued up in an alternatin­g pattern — you can see this in Figure 1 below. Keep the strips flush as possible and let the glue dry.

CUT IT APART. This is where the magic happens. Cross cut the blank into strips, the same width as you ripped the initial stock. Now, it’s a simple matter of laying them out to match what’s shown here. As long as your cutting was accurate, you should end up with a nearly perfect pattern. Now, you’ll want to re-glue these up into the square playing surface. Pay special attention as you’re gluing them up, as you don’t want

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