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Plastic chess piece restoration


  • 15 months ago · Quote · #1

    mldavis617

    This topic pops up from time to time with various ideas and solutions.  I have a favorite set of Drueke #35 pieces that my grandkids used as toys one day when I was away and the adults were not watching them.  I lost one weight in a knight, and about half of the felt bases were torn loose or removed.

    I have looked in vain for weights that might fit inside the knight.  I haven't found any commercial source of variably sized weights or slugs and have searched in vain for a solution online.

    I finally found that U.S. quarters were just a bit smaller than the base of the knight and I taped a stack of 4 of them together which resulted in a fairly snug fit in the base and within 1 gram of the same weight as the other knights.  The stack was glued together with Elmer's glue, taped and then glued into the base to prevent rattling.

    That problem solved, I turned to the bottom felt.  I found that synthetic felt is very cheap, durable and the right color for replacement on the bottom, but I am searching for ideas on glue to attach the felt to the bottom which consists of both plastic and metal contact surfaces.  Elmer's works OK except that it is too thin and soaks through the felt.  When it dries, it creates a hard surface which is little better than no felt at all.

    So the question - what glue is suitable for attaching the felt (essentially plastic felt) to both plastic and metal without running through the felt and hardening on the bottom?  I'm afraid a heated glue gun would melt either the felt and/or plastic.  Elmer's is too thin.  Can someone recommend a suitable bonding agent that will stick to these surfaces without compromising the soft felt bottom?

  • 15 months ago · Quote · #2

    Bronco70

    I think most glue will leak through the felt. Try an adhesive spray onto the felt and then place it on the bottom. I'm just guessing but my thoughts are that the spray isn't as thick as traditional glue and it might not leak through. Do a test on a piece of felt.

    As for the weights in the future, you could always try a fishing store for weights. They may even mold some into a size that you may need

  • 15 months ago · Quote · #3

    Bronco70

    ...Or replace the felt with real or synthetic leather and use a more traditional glue

  • 15 months ago · Quote · #4

    kudurru

    Try rubber cement - it won't soak through the felt.

  • 15 months ago · Quote · #5

    samspear

    A very good bonding material would be two-sided tape, such as the type used to affix carpets to the floor or install new grips on golf clubs.  It comes in widths of 1 1/2 inches or 3/4 of an inch, and it should be available at most large hardware/home improvement stores or golf shops.

  • 15 months ago · Quote · #6

    mldavis617

    Interesting ideas.  Thanks.  I thought some of you may have had to replace felt on older sets.  I had also thought of silicone cement but I'm not sure it will stick well to the flat metal surface of the weight.

    The Drueke #35 is no longer made, and Drueke sold out.  They are my favorite pieces (so far) because they have a slightly dull finish rather than the cheap-looking shiny plastic of most sets, and the molding seams are nicely finished and nearly invisible.  The pieces are triple weighted - not too heavy, not too light.  Just couldn't bear to throw them out for want of a weight and felt, not to mention the fact that they don't make 'em like that anymore.

  • 15 months ago · Quote · #7

    goldendog

    The Drueke Player's Choice was the premiere plastic set for years. You could get a great folding linen board too, also a thing of the past.

    The weights in the knights had a tendency to loosen up though.

    There is a plastic knockoff out there but I've never beheld it in rl, to say it's as good as the real thing. They also did a version up in ebony.

  • 15 months ago · Quote · #8

    mldavis617

    I can't see the knights in the photo above, but I suspect those are the same as the #35 set.  My #35 set in a box, with no board.

  • 15 months ago · Quote · #9

    licxjo

    I've replaced felts on older wooden chess sets, and have always used regular Elmer's glue, in a very thin layer (spread quite thin with a toothpick or piece of card).  I've never had a problem with it soaking through.  I'm not as happy with what is currently sold as "felt", however, which is nothing like old-fashioned wool felt.  It's functional, but it's not as nice to the touch as real felt.  The wool felt I have been able to find lately is kind of a rough-finished material, not suitable for chess pieces.  And there's not an easy source for small quantities of billiard cloth.

  • 15 months ago · Quote · #10

    goldendog

    licxjo wrote:

    I've replaced felts on older wooden chess sets, and have always used regular Elmer's glue, in a very thin layer (spread quite thin with a toothpick or piece of card).  I've never had a problem with it soaking through.  I'm not as happy with what is currently sold as "felt", however, which is nothing like old-fashioned wool felt.  It's functional, but it's not as nice to the touch as real felt.  The wool felt I have been able to find lately is kind of a rough-finished material, not suitable for chess pieces.  And there's not an easy source for small quantities of billiard cloth.

    If you know of a pool hall, when they redo their tables you'll walk off with a lifetime supply.

    +1 on a thin layer of Elmer's working fine.

  • 15 months ago · Quote · #11

    goldendog

    mldavis617 wrote:

    I can't see the knights in the photo above, but I suspect those are the same as the #35 set.  My #35 set in a box, with no board.

    Same set. The extra-heavy version would, at least sometimes, come in a wooden box.

  • 14 months ago · Quote · #12

    Seanstars

    Hi,

    I've recently felted several chess sets, it's quite an easy and quick thing to do...Just using some felt sheets purchased from Micheals and some white glue. When applying the white glue, use very little and go carefully, I used my finger to smooth the glue very thin, so that it didn't soak through the felt. Then simply using some normal scissors, cut around the bottoms and the felt should come out near perfect.

    good luck,

    Sean

  • 14 months ago · Quote · #13

    N2UHC

    I put felt on the bottom of my onyx & marble set from Mexico by taking a piece of black felt, spraying adhesive onto it, then placing the pieces onto the felt and pushing them down firmly.  Then I cut between the pieces and trimmed the felt around the base of each piece.

  • 14 months ago · Quote · #14

    mldavis617

    Let me step back in here and report my solution, as I'm sure many of us have tournament pieces with the felt bottoms worn through (although using computers has saved a lot of wear on chess pieces for analysis in recent years).

    I found the same type of synthetic felt at both Michael's and WalMart (here in the U.S.) that is cheap and functional.  I think pool table felt would be much too thin, and the synthetic felt I found has similar thickness to the original.  It would seem to be of similar quality to wool fiber felt and except for a slight sheen, is indistinguishable.  I suspect it may well be more durable as the tag says it is made from recycled plastic.  A single 12"x9" sheet will cover one complete set of pieces.  It cost me $0.39 for a sheet!

    I used Elmer's glue, the common glue available for common household use.  The technique is to first glue any loose weights in the bottom of the pieces.  For those weights that did not fit tightly, I wrapped the stack (my triple weighted Drueke #35 pieces have 3 round weights stacked) with packing tape to make a tight fit and then glued the weights into the bottom of the pieces and placed the pieces on a piece of waxed paper overnight to prevent the glue from running out.

    After the glue on the weights had set up (24 hours) I turned the pieces upside down, spread a thin layer of glue on the bottom of the piece and glued the trimmed felt to the bottom.  In the past, the real problem with Elmer's glue is that it soaks into the felt (mainly by gravity) and hardens the felt bases.  By turning them upside down and using only a thin layer, the glue sets up after a few hours without soaking the felt, and the pieces can then be turned right side up and allowed several days to dry completely.

    Comparison of several pieces with the synthetic (plastic) felt with the original felt bottoms showed there was no tactile difference in the pieces when setting them down or sliding them on a vinyl board.

    Thanks to those of you who contributed ideas and suggestions.  I'm sure other methods work, but this was cheap and easy and totally satisfactory.


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