Feeling Uninspired - Time for Turning!

Feeling Uninspired - Time for Turning!

Sep 13, 2016, 12:39 PM |

Languish for Lathe
From Woe to Wood

A long time goal in progress...

Recently, I have struggled (as many surely struggle) to make time to take a game I really enjoy somewhat seriously.  I make 5 minutes for a silly blitz or bullet game, but get frustrated when I don't see the result I want.  I suppose my occasional fear of playing the 15|10 from feeling "rusty" probably contributes, but that does little to remedy my mood about chess.

As the logical person I am, I decided to take the direct route.  You might be thinking "oh, you decided to play some 15|10 games and you will give us analysis on how you are horrible or making progress in chess... here we go again."  NO!

I take the direct route as I always do... directly away from whatever my goal is (in this case, making objective improvements to my chess game), and toward something that could be reluctantly described as tangentially related to my goal.  (PLEASE ignore this sentence not making spatial/mathematical sense.)

For some time I had dreamt of having a nice chess board.  So I bought myself a half-decent tournament set, and it becomes really difficult to justify buying a very nice set.  

Rewind... did I mention I am somewhat of a hobbyist/amateur when it comes to woodworking?  I have mostly worked with a scrollsaw, making small projects for family: clocks, table pieces, personalized caricatures, etc.  My dad has a nice collection of woodworking tools, but I seldom venture out from the scrollsaw, because I find it is easiest to make something somewhat artistic in a short time.  

Since I have moved out of my parents' house, I don't have the same access to tools.  Fast forward: new mini lathe from Rockler.  THANKS MOM!  Happy birthday to me!!

erm... wait, I have only used a lathe once and I have no idea what I'm doing.  Fine, no problem, I can wing it.  I picked out Wenge and peach wood for my pieces, and I think I will go somewhat larger than standard chess men for my design (I'm thinking ~1.75-2" base on the K/Q, 1.75-1.5" on the B/N/R, and 1.5"-1.25" on the P).  Cool!  now... I need to enlist your help!

If anyone has any good patterns for chess pieces (I don't really like Penn's design, though I've found a couple other decent designs, but nothing I'm falling in love with), let me know!

If anyone knows of a cool looking, moderate-detail knight pattern, let me know!

If anyone has any tips or tricks for turning in tight concave corners (like on the head of pawns), let me know!

Here is a picture of my first attempt at making some rough pawns out of scrap wood.  Notably, I did NOT use a design or attempt to make this even.  I was just trying out turning for the second time ever and seeing what sorts of challenges I ran across before I dig into some decent wood.

Thanks for reading;
I'll keep you updated on my progress!