Chess puzzle on a vertical chessboard, to develop your chess lever
16 January 2024

How we created chessboart?

Since you are here, there is a chance that you are interested in chess, woodworking or design. It's really fun to put these things together. In addition to incredible satisfaction, it is primarily a job that teaches patience and humility (a bit like chess). It is said that the expert is the one who has made all possible mistakes. We are definitely heading in that direction.

 

But from the beginning. Design. Only change is certain.

 

I believe that the key to a successful product is an idea, a well-thought-out design and a mind open to change. On the one hand, it is important to write down the assumptions to know what we want at the end. On the other hand, you need to take care of specialists. You also need to be able to listen to them. In the case of our chess, these were designers, artists, carpenters, sculptors, engineers and chess players. A lot of conversations, ideas and concepts. Dozens of sketches. We returned to the design stage many times, making changes to make the product more attractive, improve quality or streamline the production process.

The first project from 2020 and the prototype from 2021 were controversial, and although all elements and technologies have been changed since then, we learned a lot.

 

ChessboArt prototypes.

 

Dozens of tests were carried out before the final set was made. Figures were printed on a 3D printer, magnets and their placement were selected. Resin and plastic tests were performed. Experienced carpenters participated in the selection of wood, glues and varnishes. The first copies did not look like the currently available sets. The period from first successful prototype to product and first sale took months. These were hundreds of hours spent in the workshop, in the carpenter's shop, in front of the computer or behind the wheel, driving around suppliers. The first prototypes were shown in October 2022.

 

What kind of wood?

 

The wood has knots and natural discoloration. Elements from the same beam may differ not only in terms of appearance, but also in terms of hardness in individual places (e.g. the core, i.e. heartwood, is harder and much darker). This means that the whole thing needs to be thought over, it is good to plan the places and directions of cutting (along or across the fibers). An interestingly planned cut can cause a field or a figure, despite being made of one piece of wood, to be two-colored.

The number of joints, gluing, drilling and milling is of additional importance. They determine how the wood will work, both under the influence of external conditions and over time. Here, not only the types of machining are important, but also their sequence or pauses between operations. Woodworking requires patience and experience is very valuable.

 

Production or craft?

 

I think the chess currently produced by ChessboArt is much closer to craft than production. We have a technically advanced machine park, some of the machines are computer-controlled devices. We have, among others, milling machines, laser, drills, saws, presses and as many as six different types of grinders!Despite this, the execution time of one set significantly exceeds 35 hours. The vast majority of this time is manual operations (e.g. gluing, grinding). Individual approach to each set is enforced by several factors.

Firstly, the design of the pieces and the chessboard contains complex shapes and requires manual work in some places. However, we decided that it is worth working on the product to get the best effect.Secondly, wood is a very heterogeneous material and its finishing by hand gives the best effect.Thirdly, manual work on the set provides us with a very individual character of the whole set and simultaneous control of its quality.The time-consuming nature of these chess games is the result of the effect we want to achieve.

 

Subcontractors and cooperation

 

We would love to be able to produce more, better and cheaper. At the moment, over 90% of production takes place in our workshop in Ruda Śląska. This is mainly due to quality pressure and our requirements. The final product and satisfaction (including ours) are a priority! However, if you have an idea, skills and willingness to cooperate with us, please contact us. We are especially open to artists, craftsmen and enthusiasts of: chess, wood and design.

 

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Luxury wooden chess set with delicately carved details