Friday, May 3, 2013

Chess, anyone?

I have a (just turned) 16-year old son and, as all of you crafty moms know, it is very difficult to make something for a teenage boy.  He has more than his share of fleece blankets and pillowcases made out of cool fabric and I wanted to make him something more unique.  He has many interests including ham radio, chess, playing the drums, listening and playing jazz and prog rock, but how was I going to take one of these interests and make something just for him?

As I was wandering (and wondering) through a thrift store one day, I came across a low table that was very cheap, as in less than 5 bucks cheap.  It needed refinishing and a new home so I bought it.  After staring at it for a while I came up with the idea to make my son a chess table.

First I painted the table a glossy black.  Looking back, I wish that I had refinished it by staining it, but oh well.  As you can see from the photos, the table top has "ledges" on it so I thought this would be perfect for enclosing the chess board on two sides.  This is where the fun began.

I measured inside the ledges and decided to use small tiles that come in a sheet at Lowe's.  I wanted black and white but, believe it or not, could not buy black without custom ordering them!  My son decided on the off-white tile and we chose to paint the black squares a dark green.  I just used acrylic paint for this.  Next I outlined all 64 of the squares with gold paint.  My measurements indicated that the 8x8 chess board would fit perfectly withing the ledges of the table.  HAHA!  Those little tiles are not all of the same size and I had no room to play.  After grinding the sides of the tiles and realizing how ludicrous that was, I ended up gouging out the wood at the base of one of the ledges.  Of course, this ruined the paint on the top so I had to redo that.

I can't believe I wrote that up in one paragraph.  The table took me months to complete because every time I worked on it with a chisel and sandpaper I would get so ticked off I had to walk away.  I was stubborn and didn't want help from hubby.  Finally he dropped his Dremel tool kit on the table in front of me.  Within minutes I had a gouge taken out of the ledge and all of the pieces fit!  Yeah!  Here is where I had to repaint....

I glued the tiles down using E6000.  Once set, I went over the tiles with several coats of polycrylic sealant to preserve the paint on the "black" squares.  Finally it was finished.  And my son loves it.  That's the best part of all.

Happy Crafting!

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