We suffered a serious wind storm a couple of years ago. We lost a big Ash tree and a neighbor lost a Bradford Pear tree. This afforded me the opportunity to build a sizeable wood pile that we have gotten two winter's of fires out of.
A while back I broke the handle on a small tack hammer and rather than trying to find a new handle or buy a new hammer I went to the wood pile to find a piece of ash to fashion a new one.
One of the pieces I picked turned out to be from the pear tree. Once I began cutting it down on the table saw I found the grain to be very tight, fine and dense.
Maybe not appropriate for hammer handles but I sooner came up with an idea. A hand made chessboard!
I carefully cut some 80 pieces knowing that not all of them will be suitable for use. I was correct as many of them warped and cracked as they dried further.
I carefully sorted and numbered the remaining pieces and arranged them in alternating grain directions.
I then seperated out every other piece for staining.
Once the stain dried I rearranged the pieces and glued them in place to a piece hard board.
This was then lightly sanded, a little touch up staining done and then finished with multiple coats of laquer. The hammer in the background is the one that got the new ash handle, French laquer and a fresh coat of paint on the head.
I wasn't quite satisfied with this look so I fashioned some edging pieces from the same pear wood and added a few more coats of laquer.
The chess set itself belonged to my late brother and dates to about 1950. Both the board and set now comfortably reside in a corner of my library.
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