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Anyone have cracks in chess boards?

magictwanger

Out of curiosity,after all the talk of pieces cracking,I'm wondering if anyone has this issue?

Schachmonkey
I have an old Drueke with a crack on both player sides.it’s on the frame only.
lighthouse
magictwanger wrote:

Out of curiosity,after all the talk of pieces cracking,I'm wondering if anyone has this issue?

Have a new solid wooden chess board , gave it three coats of cooked linseed oil , then a homemade vanish ,  looks really nice ,

MCH818

My three boards from CWW, JK Creative and Dovetail Artistry are all crack-free.

Bryan-HallWS

Would love to see pics of cracked boards. 

magictwanger

My thoughts were that those boards put together with individual squares might be somewhat prone to subtle cracking,since the squares are glued in place and as humidity expands the wood(or shrinks it) slight cracks could possibly occur....Just floating that thought.

IlFabreis

I have a small crack on a new ebony board, but it's not on the surface, it's little and it's on the corner, it doesn't bother me at all. 

Bryan-HallWS
magictwanger wrote:

My thoughts were that those boards put together with individual squares might be somewhat prone to subtle cracking,since the squares are glued in place and as humidity expands the wood(or shrinks it) slight cracks could possibly occur....Just floating that thought.

This is true if the incorrect glue or assembly was used. However, a correctly glued up joint with the wood correctly oriented is so strong that it should never crack. 

magictwanger

One reason why the endgrain boards would seem superior,imo.

Even with correct glue the wood simply has to expand and contract,due to varying humidity in a season.I'll bet the non endgrain boards could show very subtle,what I'd call micro fissures after a while.....Just sayin'.

Bryan-HallWS

Only if dried incorrectly.

MCH818
Bryan-HallWS wrote:

Only if dried incorrectly.

I am not a woodworker. How would the board dry incorrectly? Could you explain what that means?

magictwanger

Just think about it from a logical perspective.Regarding those gorgeous boards with fixed squares of wood,which are subsequently glued into position and basically "locked in place".

The wood is going to  both expand and contract over a period of time......I don't care how "correctly" it's made......Those locked in place squares have the potential to subtly split.

Not necessarily badly,or even observable,but the potential is there......My contention is, that is where an endgrain board is vastly superior.....and.... unfortunately far more expensive.

I'm not attempting to start any kind of negative debates,but simply sharing some thoughts.

TundraMike
MCH818 wrote:

My three boards from CWW, JK Creative and Dovetail Artistry are all crack-free.

Curious as to who makes the best quality board from the 3 companies (people) you bought from.

MCH818
TundraMike wrote:
MCH818 wrote:

My three boards from CWW, JK Creative and Dovetail Artistry are all crack-free.

Curious as to who makes the best quality board from the 3 companies (people) you bought from.

We'll it is a difficult question to answer. I love my JK Creative 18"/2.25" board. I think it is the best one. It was coated in Poly so it doesn't feel like wood. However it is really really smooth which I really really love. It only has 1 misaligned square on one side which makes it even better. The CWW 14"/1.75" board is also awesome. It feels like real wood but it isn't smooth like the JK board. The lack of smoothness is somewhat of a drawback for me. There are no misalignments (at least none noticeable from normal distance) as far as I remember which makes it awesome. The Dovetail board had no misalignments which was perfect but there were lots of bubbles in the finish. It was also coated in some thick finish and the maple squares had some curls going in the opposite direction of the grain. It looks really nice at first but it started to bother me after little while. This was the worst of the 3. I plan on sanding it down and refinishing it one of these days to at least fix the bubbles and thick finish.

I created a thread about these boards. Here is it is: https://www.chess.com/forum/view/chess-equipment/etsy-hit-or-miss. The title hit or miss still holds true even with JK and CWW. Some members have purchased the JK board such as @Brymr, @Lotsoblots, and one other member... I think @WestSailor32. @Brymr and @WestSailor both love their boards but do have some really minor misalignments which they said they don't mind. @Lotsoblots on the other hand had lots of misalignments and one other issue. Neither of which JK was not able to resolve. Also many love the CWW boards... me included but the 2nd board I purchased from him had 5 big misalignments. He let me return it and he gave me a full refund which was great. The only problem was he tried to resell the board to someone else. The potential buyer actually posted in my thread about it. As for the Dovetail board, I was referred to them by @Upcountryrain who swears by them.

I think I said in my thread that the most important thing to do was to ask questions to sellers on Etsy and to let them know requirements. I emailed JK and told them specifically about how I hate misalignments and they picked out a board that only had one. I believe @Brynmr and @WestSailor32 did the same. I believe @Lotsoblots did not do this. Also, I did not contact CWW before either of my purchases with him. I lucked out on one. I think if I would have done this on both or only on the 2nd purchase that perhaps the situation might have turned out differently. The funniest part about this was I actually emailed Dovetail about misalignments. They sent me a board with zero misalignments. The problem was the part I didn't think to ask about... bubbles. One just need to be careful when one buys handmade stuff from anyone and should ask the right questions.

Bryan-HallWS
MCH818 wrote:
Bryan-HallWS wrote:

Only if dried incorrectly.

I am not a woodworker. How would the board dry incorrectly? Could you explain what that means?

Lots of layers to this but it basically comes down to how quickly the wood is able to dry. You want it to dry nice and slow. When it's in a larger board form (think at the lumber mill) it slowly releases moisture. When you buy lumber and go to work with it, best practice is to check it with a moisture meter to confirm that it's reached a stabilized moisture level for your area. You can also check the moisture level after you cut the board and reveal the core. If it's not stabilized, it's more likely to continue to dry and move. If you use dry wood for 1 square and wet for the next, you could get some interesting problems. 

If you go to a local lumber supplier (hardwoods) look at the top and bottoms of the boards. Many will have paint on them from the mill. Effectively sealing the wood so the drying process is slowed down. 

Pawnerai

If for some wacky reason you were to drill holes into the chess board and glue weighted metal slugs in there, I'm sure you'd see cracking as well. A cracked board is more likely to happen due to glue failure. A crack between the wood squares rather than in the wood of a chess board. I'd be more concerned about warping rather than cracking in a board.

ChessHouse sells imperfect JLP boards at discount. I've seen cracked boards there for sale. None at the moment.

Bryan-HallWS
magictwanger wrote:

Just think about it from a logical perspective.Regarding those gorgeous boards with fixed squares of wood,which are subsequently glued into position and basically "locked in place".

The wood is going to  both expand and contract over a period of time......I don't care how "correctly" it's made......Those locked in place squares have the potential to subtly split.

Not necessarily badly,or even observable,but the potential is there......My contention is, that is where an endgrain board is vastly superior.....and.... unfortunately far more expensive.

I'm not attempting to start any kind of negative debates,but simply sharing some thoughts.

Hmm, 

I don't think anyone is feeling upset bit a sharing of ideas, it's good to discuss details and build variances. 

I guess I'm not sure what you mean by locked into place and/or individual squares? Are you describing a board with 64 individual squares glued down to a substrate?

End grain boards are glued and expanding/contracting as well. So, I guess I'm just confused as to what you are viewing as the critical difference? 

When the wood squares have been cut down to 2x2 -2.5x2.5 inch squares the amount of expansion and contraction is extremely minimal. Add to that the fact that wood is pliable, it's not a completely rigid structure. So, some movement is natural and shouldn't be expected to cause fracturing. The problem typically comes from a border that has the grain running a different direction. Then, yes, you can crack the end squares because there is actually a large amount of movement happening. 

You could also crack a board when it gets extremely dry.

Engrain boards are more prone to warp, which is why they end up so thick and heavy! If you drop one just right, you can actually break it in half because the grain is only running 1" thick, as opposed to the grain running at least the length of the square. Or like MTM Wood does them, a board glued onto another board below, creating a stabilizing plywood effect. Stunningly beautiful work by him. 

Endgrain boards are more expensive because:

#1 they really need to be thicker to not warp and easily snap in half

#2 It's extremely difficult to find wood thick enough to do even a 2x2 square without gluing multiple boards together. Typically 1.75x1.75 would be the largest single square you could get as a pure square on an endgrain board. So essentially, you are adding an extra day of glue ups to the build. 

#3 Far more labor intensive on the finishing end. It's considered wildly dangerous to run an engrain board through a planer (the machine can explode and kill someone) so you have to use a drum sander. The drum sander leaves deep grooves in the wood, which need a TON of sanding time with an oscillating sander to get the grooves out. Endgrain forces you to work every end fiber, instead of just the surface fibers of the board. 

I really like endgrain boards. I just think that it's a bit much to say they are vastly superior if we don't have concrete data and testing to prove such a thing. I actually have a HUGE piece of walnut in my shop right now that will allow me to make an endgrain board with pure, unlaminated walnut squares. I'm on the hunt for a large board that could be the light squares to compliment it so I can make a pure version of the endgrain style. 

magictwanger

Well Bryan......This kind of excellent info is one reason why I posted.Very interesting and quite educational stuff....I'm done whining.-happy.png

Bryan-HallWS
magictwanger wrote:

Well Bryan......This kind of excellent info is one reason why I posted.Very interesting and quite educational stuff....I'm done whining.-

:-) its a good conversation to have and think about from all sides!

MCH818
Bryan-HallWS wrote:
MCH818 wrote:
Bryan-HallWS wrote:

Only if dried incorrectly.

I am not a woodworker. How would the board dry incorrectly? Could you explain what that means?

Lots of layers to this but it basically comes down to how quickly the wood is able to dry. You want it to dry nice and slow. When it's in a larger board form (think at the lumber mill) it slowly releases moisture. When you buy lumber and go to work with it, best practice is to check it with a moisture meter to confirm that it's reached a stabilized moisture level for your area. You can also check the moisture level after you cut the board and reveal the core. If it's not stabilized, it's more likely to continue to dry and move. If you use dry wood for 1 square and wet for the next, you could get some interesting problems. 

If you go to a local lumber supplier (hardwoods) look at the top and bottoms of the boards. Many will have paint on them from the mill. Effectively sealing the wood so the drying process is slowed down. 

Excellent explanation. Thanks!