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I own 3 sets from HoS. Two of them have hairline cracks, the third set is only a few weeks old so no cracks (yet...).
To me, it's just not a big deal. Cracked chess pieces are just something I expect from these sub-$500 made in India sets.
If I was spending over $500 on a NoJ or Official Staunton Company set (pretty much the ONLY 2 places I would buy such a pricey set from...) then I would expect perfection, and replacement pieces if cracks occurred.
I guess what I'm saying is that I consider HoS to be just another outlet for mid-priced Indian chess sets, they hold no place of "distinction" or "prestige" in my mind, despite whatever they might have been in the past under different ownership.
Interesting, my ebony HoS set also has hairline cracks.
8 Years ago I bought a HoS Collector Series Luxury Set with 4.0" King on Lay-Away, which arrived in December 2009. I live in Tucson, AZ which has LOW humdity and HIGH temperaturers. At the time I had bought several of HoS Marshall plastic sets, both for me as well as for several chess playing friends. When I was contemplating buying a WOOD set I did my research. EBONY anything for some strange reason frequently develops hairline cracks, or so I have been told. If you have an EBONY chess set chances are it will develop hairline cracks. In Tucson, that would be a given. Likewise the same goes for "Blood Rosewood" also called "Sandlewood". Both woods are also very expensive, and even on SALE I coulod not afford it. Realistically I was down to Ebonized Boxwood or Laquered Boxwood, both were the cheapest options. There was one other option: Boxwood and Rosewood (NOT "Blood Rosewood" aka Sandlewood). I think it cost about the same or a few dollars more than the Boxwood sets. It also came with a $300 coffer FREE which made the buy irresistable (remember I bought this on SALE it was buy it then or not at all).
Once a year I polish it with a good paste wax, and it remains inside its coffer when not in use. It has so far developed no hireline cracks.
I then bought a CUSTOM designed board that I designed myself and also got on a discount. The squares or 2.5" squares of Purple Heart and Curly Maple. It has a generous Rosewood Border with Spalted Maple Corners and Delimiter, and has a Bloodwood inlay. Due to my Parkinson's I had him attach some rubber feet I picked up at Ace Hardware. The boarder was sealed with High Gloss Polyurathane, while the playing surface is a nice Satin Ployurathane. Between the pieces, the coffer, and the board you have the appearance of a beautiful set.
Gorgeous set up. Love the board. Congrats, I hope you putting it to good use.
I love your set, too! The rosewood pieces look really good!
Yep putting it to good use... at least in the house as an analysis set. The pictures were taken right after the Custom Board arrived. I took the HoS pieces in their coffer which weighs in at 10 - 15 lbs and the board which is sold wood, not plywood -- the only plywood is the bottom plate which is covered in Black Felt -- and weighs in at 25 -35 lbs to the local chess club. For my normal purposes I use my "Ultimate Road Warrior Kit": A HoS 3.75" Plastic Marshall Set, a Chronos II full size digital clock w / push buttons , a Mousepad and/or Vinyl Rollup board with 2.25 or > squares, and a LARGE standard tournamnet chess bag, that also holds books, business cards, pens, score pads / books, etc. It is simply a snatch a grab setup.
I suspect HoS *may* have changed their turners or they have divided their productas in half: Their "Luxury" sets which you now only find in Boxwood and Ebony, and/or Boxwood and "Blood Rosewood" aka Sandlewood.
Then you have their Lower Priced sets, and those you can find made only in Boxwood and "Golden Rosewood", which is not truely a Rosewood at all, but something far cheaper; and/or Boxwood and Ebonized Boxwood.
My HoS Collectors Series Luxury set w / 4.0 King in Boxwood and Genuine Rosewood no longer exists.
My Custom Board was made by a guy not assocated with HoS. We spent about 2 months designing it and selecting woods and colors to complement the warm redish orange of the HoS Rosewood and the lighter cream color of the Boxwood pieces, then tying them all together, to unify the whole. I'd say we did a pretty good job. Unless HoS re-introduces Genuine Rosewoood into their Luxury product lines, my set -- set / board / coffer -- may truly be a one of a kind combo that could never be replaced. Both WOW!!! and SCARY!!!
If you want nice sets that will take the abuse and get exceptional customer service go with www.chessset.com
You will not find ebony sets there...they are a pain to deal with for any seller. A lot of places in the United States they will crack and split almost right out of the box. Remmeber that the wood will still swell in the humid times and contract in the dry times. When the wood gets to the weight in the base it cannot contract anymore.
That's why I tell everyone to go with the Rosewood, Sheesham, and Ebonized pieces. They travel real well in the bag and still look good enough to display at home. Make sure to buy from US based companies...you will get better customer service most of the time.
Raphael at the Chess House is a stand-up guy who supports his products. Just like the guys up in Rochester at Chessset.com
Anyone today that needs to have ebony chess pieces needs to set their mental slaves* free one and move off the plantation.*(it's a metaphor, explained and outlined for those of you here there that cannot think any other way except literally)
"The Call of the Wild with GM Simon Williams!"
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