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House of Staunton Review

  • #61
    Bawker wrote:

    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.

  • #62

    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.


  • #63

    Gorgeous set up. Love the board. Congrats, I hope you putting it to good use.

  • #64

    I love your set, too!  The rosewood pieces look really good!

  • #65
    loubalch wrote:

    Gorgeous set up. Love the board. Congrats, I hope you putting it to good use.

    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!!!

  • #66

    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

  • #67

    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)

  • #68

    Hi : I had placed an order through USCF Chess for the HOS 6 inch ST.Petersburg set last year along with the 2.50 inch board. To make a long story short the set was in fine shape no cracks or lopsided pieces. The price of $899.95 was to say the least inline with most high end sets that I own. However the HOS Imperial Collector 4.25 inch is way overpriced for what it is at over $1100per set. I have found sets just like it from CHESS BARON and CHESS BAZAAR  for $329 to $499. We know that everyone uses the same wood carvers in Amritsar so it should a no brainer that the retailers order their sets with a few slight differences from the same folks,thus the price difference. Now having brought the CHESS BARON COPY for $329 plus a BIG savings from the $899 that HOS wanted for almost the same thing It is a good idea to check the other web sites for less costly sets that are in some cases better than HOS. thnaks.

  • #69

    I had considered placing an order with HOS.  I found three items of interest, and their collective expense was high.  One of those items was offered at another website for less money.  I asked the rep to match that price so that I might order all three items from HOS.  She refused.  I then said that I would order elsewhere, and she replied, "OK!"  That kind of nonchalance was off-putting.  Apparently, from this post and my experience with them, the HOS does not meet the quality of product or standard of excellence they profess.  Move on and don't look back.  I found a dream set of exquisitely crafted, triple weighted, 3.75" chessmen by WorldWise Chess.  Look for a retailer of their products.  Sweet!  

  • #70
    Queen2X wrote:

    I found a dream set of exquisitely crafted, triple weighted, 3.75" chessmen by WorldWise Chess.  Look for a retailer of their products.  Sweet!  


    How long ago was that?  That Worldwisechess.com domain doesn't exist now.  Most of the one-off web sites quoted here earlier in the thread don't exist anymore.

  • #71
    deafdrummer wrote:

    How long ago was that?  That Worldwisechess.com domain doesn't exist now.  Most of the one-off web sites quoted here earlier in the thread don't exist anymore.

    They still seem to exist; http://www.worldwiseimports.com/

    Note that I would be sceptical of random recommendations like this. HoS has  a long list of satisfied customers, and I know what I can and can't get from them. Not sure the same can be said of these fly by night operations, with no established reputation and a single recommendation from a single user who joined this site a week ago.


  • #72
  • #73

    reading some of the experiences laid out from pages 1-2 was enough to turn me away from HOS in my wish for a good 3.75' weighted club set with a 2.25' vinyl board.....

    thx to all for their shared experiences

  • #74

    That was four years ago.

  • #75

    is it better now?

  • #76

    I didn't buy any luxury sets, but two that I will use when travelling (7 inch wooden magnetic folding travel, and 10" magnetic plastic set), so cannot speak to the quality of the luxury end pieces. However, definitely hoping I won't be stuck with absolute low-end garbage either.  :\

  • #77

    Personal experience with wood sets:

    Noj - 5 years old.  Walnut/maple. Condition still perfect.

    MoW - 7 years old.  'Crimson rosewood' (I know.. paduak).  Condition still perfect.

    JS Arts Works - 21 years old. Rosewood. Slightly oblong rosewood rooks, otherwise good.

    HoS 'Championship' - 8 years old.  Knight replaced under warranty, cracked queen I simply disposed of.  Extra queens are silly anyway, an inverted rook looks correct.

    HoS 'Collector 2' ebony - 8 years old.  Cracked bishop replaced under warranty after some discussion of storage conditions, humidity, phase of the moon, etc.  Two years later, I got to BUY 2 white rooks to replace the now warped ones. 

    I disassembled the Collector ebony bishop last week, after finding it in a junk drawer.  It now had long deep cracks on opposite sides.  Pretty clearly a wood seasoning problem.  The weight is a fairly high carbon steel judging from the sparks it throws off on a grinding wheel.  It was full of rust scale, which didn't happen here.  My house is temperature and humidity controlled year round.  Nothing else corrodes or rusts here.

    I suspect in addition to the wood seasoning or lack thereof, that the glue used to secure that tight fitting steel weight may have been corrosive.

    Would I buy from HoS again?  Maybe.  They are nice, and fairly they did honor warranty and at least the sets are supported and replacements are available.

    I am lusting after a 3.5" Jaques knockoff from another vendor right now.  I've admired the HoS 'Harrwitz' for a long while, but I'm not sure I trust it and even at discount it's still a very premium price.




  • #78

    Js Arts Works doesn't sell direct.   Did someone advertise as being made by them?  No one says who is making their sets.  

  • #79

    I researched it, using leads from this site.  To be correct, my set is 'attributed to' JS, but I'm 99% sure they made it or perhaps a predecessor to the current company did.

    It is this set... http://www.jsartsworks.com/deluxeset2m.htm

    The set was purchased at a craft fair in southern IN along with a board stamped 'David Levy, Davis CA'.  That company is still extant and sell the same board and similar pieces.

    The exact JS #10502 does not appear to be available from any vendor that I've run across yet.  Similar sets with a different bishop profile are available from House of Chess and it appears they indeed come from none other than JS.  The knights are identical to my set, as is the size of the pawn bulb, and the profile of every other piece.

    It's the bishop profile that makes me so certain of the source of my set.  Everything adds up and points to JS.

    I could be wrong.

  • #80

    Hummmmm The JS Art Works 10502 is a nice set, BUT at 3.5" is 0.25" shorter than the "Standard" 3.75"  tournament set. If you got it at a resonable price then it is a steal.


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