Adding weight to pieces


Hello all, I have questions about adding weights to pieces, how hard is it, chances of ruining the pieces, etc.

I have a set that is not a great set but it has sentimental value as it was a present from my wife over 30 years ago when we were first married and had nothing between us. I do not use it a lot but I think if it had more weight I might use it more. 

The K is 3 7/8" tall and weighs just 1.3 oz (sorry everyone, I am American and can't do metric Wink ). I would like to add some weight to all the pieces but also do not wannt to ruin the set.


I'll give you two skill/tool solutions to choose from.

1. Professional way:

 Using a Forstner drill bit (makes flat bottom holes), mark on the bit to  the depth you want and drill out a space for the weight.

 Find a piece of something round and hollow, the same size as your hole.  Then you can hammer lead fishing weights into the form to the size you want, take out the weights,  glue them in and felt the bottom.

 Caution: the pieces MUST be clamped securely before drilling.  You can hand drill the clamped piece if you're experianced, but can't hand hold it...ever.

 The right way is a drill press, if you have access.

I recently did something similar to fix and add weight to a pool cue.

When I ran a chess club, we used to stuff modeling clay or Play Doe into the hollow, cheap pieces and it was great.

2. Easy, reversible way:

 You could also use, say, steel washers from the hardware store. Match up the diameter, a little smaller is best, glue a few washers together for the weight you want.

 Glue square felt pieces over them (the felt will conform to the bottom and edge by just stretching it a bit as you attach the felt. A rubber band will make sure the felt really holds it's shape.

 Let dry, cut away the excess and secure to the piece. You could use double sided tape and have a weighted bottom you could remove easily. This way allows you to leave the pieces in original form on a felted base.

DON'T try to do the whole thing at once or to fast. Do it right, clear headed and slowly (so you really are careful) and you'll have the set you want, and after carefully improving it, it'll become your favorite set.

Good luck. Hope this gives you a solution or leads you to one that suits your tools. etc.

Any kind of decorative base pieces you make for the set and attach to the un-modified pieces (brass, a wood ring with weight in it instead of drilling into the pieces, whatever is handy and comfortable for you to do) will look fine, but will change the profile of the piece. But like I said; use double sided tape for attaching it and you can change it whenever you want.

FYI. I live to buy new stuff and modify it so it's unique and only use hand tools, but I've been doing it for 40 yrs. A drill press for making a weight-hole is worth asking around for to do anything to a special set of pieces. Otherwise, go with a visible base weight and don't risk messing up an heirloom.

Hope I've been some help. How about a game for an under ranked player?

Take care,



Thanks for the info.

I have a drill press (had to make Pinewood Derby cars, needed to get those axle holes JUST RIGHT!) and that is what I thought I would use. Rig up a jig to secure the pieces.

For the weight I was actually think of using tungsten putty, glued over to seal it in then replace the felt with new felt.

It is not an everyday set so I could take several months to do it.

As far as a game, what kind? Send me a message.


A while ago I saw a suggestion on the Internet to use old pennies.  I'm wondering which of those would be the most dense and thus heavy:  fishing weights, washers, pennies, or tungsten putty? 


Well, tungsten is one of the densest material around. We used for our Pinewood Derby cars and the same weight in those other materials was far more in volume than tungsten.


They are the wrong shape, you would need to find one that can be slotted in lengthways.  Try going to your local DIY store and asking for a long weight.


What are the wrong shape?

Tungsten can be bought as putty or pellets or small cubes or cylinders which could beused in lots iof different ways in a chess piece.

it is not cheap though:


if your chess set is hollow plastic, remove the felt bottom, add talcum powder.... tamp progressively as you add powder.... spray a little bit if cyonacrylate glue and continue talc and glue until each piece is full. re-felt the bottom. voila. talc powder is a great cheap, stable and weighty substance. you only really need the glue at the closure of the operation...


I've made a video on my process of adding weights to my 3D printed chess pieces. You might find it useful:


Great video Conor, well done.

I did notice your pawn made it to the other side of the board and became a Queen!