Sunday, December 18, 2011


First casting of the chessmen - Camelot on the left, Regal on the right.  I need to let them dry and harden completely before painting and sealing them.
I may have blogged a while ago that Gavin had gotten into chess.  He's joined the chess club at school, and he's been playing me and the computer at home.  A few weeks ago I had the idea to make him a really nice heirloom chess set.  I can make a pretty kick ass board out of wood (or stone), but I needed to figure out how to make the pieces.

Well I did my research and found a way to cast them from latex molds, so that is what I did.  I got 2 different sets of molds from England and found a really cool local pottery supply store - Armadillo Clay - that sold bulk bags of Hydrostone (a hard setting gypsum cement which has very fine detail duplication).  Yesterday I had my first go at casting them.  I cut apart a milk carton to use for mixing and pouring, and I was so pleased with the results - they looked awesome!!!

Of course, there were some casualties of war!!!

The King is dead, long live the king (plus a few pawns).  In the background is an inverted belt sander I've been using to smooth and round off the bases
I think I'm going to get another set - the standard staunton shapes - and build some storage into the board I have yet to make.  I also have to decide on color schemes.  For the stauntons I can just do an antique effect, but I would like to do some colorful stuff on the others.  That means a bit of detail work with acrylic paints.

Let's just say I'm a better woodworker than a painter.  But I'll try to use a bit of patience and hope for the best!!!

The molds setting - I drilled holes in some scrap wood to support them and hung them like bats

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