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Did I Ruin a Drueke Chess Board?

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j5chessgod

I was gifted a old chess board that has been in the family for decades. I told it was built by a family member. The board was in rough shape so i figured i'd refinish it. I started sanding what i thought was the bottom but is actually the top. I've since discovered it's a Drueke 2.25" square board. I had totally sanded down the top and stopped for the night before discovering the board's identity. 

Have i destroyed the value by sanding off the varnish on the top? I'm not looking to sell the board, it will remain with us but i feel like i've made an error.

This is the bottom, the top was in similar shape.  Please give me some insight and tips on refinishing the other side / Should i sand the bottom down too? Why were they double sided? 

Thanks all

beachero

They are solid wood, not veneer, so the squares show through on both sides. People refinish these and I wouldn’t worry about it as long as you do a good job. You probably could have just used something this https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B002FCL7PS/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1 and it would have restored the finish while leaving some vintage character.

mjeman

If you're not trying to sell it as a collectible, then continue to refurbish it so that it looks good to you. I'd sand it enough to remove all those scratches then rub with tung oil, but I'm no woodworker.

SWmountie

Several years ago I bought a used Drueke board that had some dings and scratches on it, and I asked Drueke Games on Facebook IM a question on the best way to refinish it. Here's the response I received:

"Sand the board with the grain with 80 grit paper and then 100 and 120 - higher grits if you want. We used spray lacquer. The only other option is take it to a furniture refinisher but that would be quite expensive." ~Bill Drueke

j5chessgod

Great, thanks for the info. I might try some polish on the bottom first and see how much it improves. If it still looks rough i may strip, sand, and re-stain the bottom too. I'm scared to look up some period appropriate Drueke pieces to pair with this.

SWmountie
j5chessgod wrote:

Great, thanks for the info. I might try some polish on the bottom first and see how much it improves. If it still looks rough i may strip, sand, and re-stain the bottom too. I'm scared to look up some period appropriate Drueke pieces to pair with this.

Yeah, I think practicing on the bottom what you're going to do on the top is a good idea.

Powderdigit

Yes, I think once you sand it back and finish it - it will be beautiful. When I finish a board I enjoy using an oil/beeswax mixture or a finishing oil - depending on the look and feel that I want. Enjoy the process, and the outcome. 

RussBell

I recommend to bring it to a shop that specializes in furniture restoration (check Yelp.com) and ask them how to go about restoring the board to a reasonable condition. Or whether they could do the job for you, and for a reasonable fee. A good restoration should also restore/enhance its value.

j5chessgod

I refinished it with 50/50 white vinegar and olive oil, worked very well on the sanded top and unsanded bottom. Very happy with the results. Looking for recommendations on pieces to pair with the board. I cannot stretch to original Drueke's sadly but i would like something wood

OndrejRucka
Uživatel j5chessgod napsal:

I refinished it with 50/50 white vinegar and olive oil, worked very well on the sanded top and unsanded bottom. Very happy with the results. Looking for recommendations on pieces to pair with the board. I cannot stretch to original Drueke's sadly but i would like something wood

Great job!

EwingKlipspringer

facebook marketplace can find those pieces

EwingKlipspringer

great refinish wow

SWmountie
j5chessgod wrote:

I refinished it with 50/50 white vinegar and olive oil, worked very well on the sanded top and unsanded bottom. Very happy with the results. Looking for recommendations on pieces to pair with the board. I cannot stretch to original Drueke's sadly but i would like something wood

Wow! It looks like it turned out really well. I have a couple of sets of wooden pieces from The Chess Store, and I really like them. I also like the way they organize their site; it makes it easy to focus on the category you want to look at and zero in on what you want. https://thechessstore.com/wood-chess-pieces/

PWalker1

Amazing difference @j5chessgod! Your efforts have borne fruit-- your board now looks attractive and will give you much joy. Curious, where did you learn of (read about) the vinegar-olive oil mixture? It really appears that the wood likes it. tournaments Congrats!

RussBell

Interesting forum threads relating to identifying Drueke pieces and boards...

https://www.chess.com/forum/view/chess-equipment/identifying-drueke-chess-sets-and-boards?page=1

https://www.chess.com/forum/view/chess-equipment/drueke-34-set-2-5-king

dpbca

Great job with the board! Check out Broad Base Staunton Chess Pieces from House of Chess. They are excellent knockoffs of Drueke’s 820.40 chess set and very reasonably priced. They are heavily weighted and look and feel great. https://houseofchess.com/products/wood-chess-set-pieces-broad-base-staunton-king-size-3-3-4-rosewood-boxwood?_pos=2&_sid=f3c81e22f&_ss=r

baudouin27

I’ve refinished a half-dozen Drueke boards. Have no fear. They are so well made, that they respond very well to refurbishing. First sand it down - I start with 80 grit to get the old finish off, then 120 grit, then 220. Three important points: 1) be sure to completely remove the old finish otherwise the missed spots will not refinish uniformly, 2) take your time and some care around the edges - I do these by hand to avoid ruining the design, and 3) sand in the direction of the grain. When the sanding is done, wet a rag with mineral spirits and wipe down the board to remove the sawdust completely. All that should take an hour or two. It’s not that big a job. Then the fun begins! I like to use *pure tung oil* (5-8 coats, 1 per day) - it’s very easy. Note: Do NOT use *Tung oil FINISH* - it’s a completely different product.
 I follow that with 6-9 coats of oil based satin finish polyurethane. Just brush it on - sand lightly between layers (1 coat per 24 hrs). You can skip the tung oil - you may not like the tones it brings out particularly in the light squares - and go straight to the poly. Let the poly cure for a few weeks. Wipe it down with a piece of paper bag and wax it (Renaissance furniture wax is great and available on Amazon). It’s not hard and you’ll love the look of the restored board - it will glow!

There are other finishes to explore. With Drueke, I wouldn’t overcomplicate it.