Noj set arrived/review

facecards

Hello everyone. Back in December, I posted about how I was on the wait list for a chess set from Noj and asked for some advice. Thanks to all for your helpful replies.

Several fellows asked that I share a few photos and provide a little review. Ask and you shall receive! I was originally going to put this under my original post but decided that starting a new one may be a better idea. Actually, I received my pieces several weeks ago but was waiting for my board to be finished so I could share all at once. I decided to take this setup outside for photos for better colors as my home library doesn't have the greatest lighting.

First the board. Solid wood end cut construction, 2.25 inch squares in black walnut and maple. I was quite fortunate in that I found a fellow nearby who makes cutting boards. This was his second foray making a chess board and I am extremely pleased. The construction is excellent and it looks and feels wonderful. It's heavy though!

I ordered the Noj 4" king Minceta set in brown stain.

Another shot of the rooks as these are really cool!

The quality of these pieces is simply outstanding. There is literally not a flaw anywhere. Also, Gregor was my contact person throughout this process and he was a pleasure to do business with. The man is a true professional. His customer service skills are as good as his woodworking skills. Trust me, that's saying something!

Last time we talked he informed me that they are booked up with chess sets until August of 2022. The reason is that he and his brother have only a certain number of chess sets they make each year and never exceed that number to keep their high standards of quality.

Gregor told me, and I quote, "We take great pride in our work and will never put quantity over our quality for any reason." Very impressive in my opinion. 

Sorry if this got a little lengthy. Thanks for reading. Any questions by all means feel free.

EDIT: Sorry everyone but for some reason these photos posted sideways. I don't know what happened or how to fix it. My internet and photo skills are pretty low level. Oh well, it will work I guess! Thanks.

 

lighthouse

Looks very nice , Enjoy your Noj chess set with your new board happy.png

MCH818

Nice! Congrats! Good choice on the stain color. I love the brown stain from Noj. Also, you were able to capture the nice 3d reflective grain on the maple rook in the last photo. That grain looks so beautiful in real life. Anyways congrats!

tkrynsky
Yeah congratulations and thanks for posting. I wish more folks posted reviews/photos of their NOJ sets. I’m curious did NOJ make the board? I wasn’t aware they made boards for sale.
KineticPawn

Amazing, congratulations on both the set and finding a local woodworker.   As amazing as the pictures look in person NOJ's sets have a refined finish that is breath taking.  I actually thought the board was a Drueke due to the tapered edge and that you were for some reason using it on the traditionally bottom side.  I wouldn't mind an extra picture or 2 of the board. Also don't worry sometimes the forums just rotate the pictures. 

martinbchess

Is it just the light that makes a couple of those dark pawns look like they are less stained on the tops ?

MCH818
martinbchess wrote:

Is it just the light that makes a couple of those dark pawns look like they are less stained on the tops ?

It is like that. I know it looks like they didn't stain enough, but I don't think that is the reason. I think this occurs when the stain is not black. I think it has something to do with the wood and how it absorbs the stain. I personally like it better this way. The grain is visible through the stain. 

facecards

Thanks everyone for your nice comments. Much appreciated! This is my first higher end chess set and board and I'm quite excited.

@KineticPawn

I can see how maybe you thought I was using the traditionally bottom side but I was just trying to show the tapered edge and the rubber things he used on the bottom to promote stability while playing and promote airflow underneath.

All the photos with the pieces out of the box and setup are with the correct side of the board up. Also, the first two photos are as well. I've got a busy weekend coming up but whenever I get a chance (it may be a few days) I would be happy to take some more board photos and post them in this thread. Keep an eye out for them!

@martinbchess

The stain is unique in that it always seems to look different with different light and angles. I think @MCH818 said it well when he said "3D effect" and "showing the grain." Whatever it is, it looks very nice!

Briefly on another note, I'm glad I went with the larger 4" king set. For lack of a better term, the larger pieces have a "bold" look that really fill out the board and the pieces feel great in hand.

Once again, thanks all and I'll share some more board photos when I get a chance.

TheOneCalledMichael

Congratz! Beautiful set! Don't be shy and add more photos as many as you like happy.png

martinbchess

It’s nice to see a chess maker who hasn’t compromised on quality despite the increase in interest in chess. Wishing them much success.

SpanishStallion

Noj Dubrovnik is the best but the high price is an issue which drives most people to other cheaper retailers.

maik1988

Their stains are the best in the business. If they all filled/saturated the wood evenly they would look plastic. I much prefer the way they stain them over the pieces HOS sells as 'gilded', for instance. Just my 2cts. Great set btw. I personally would have paired this with a slightly brighter wood than black walnut, but I'm too used to my own I think.

Pawnerai

Wow. You don't see this uncommon 4" Dubrovnik very often. Looks great, especially outside in the natural light. Of all the photos you posted which would you say shows the truest color shade of the light pieces?

What's the size of the 4" King's base diameter? Looks hefty for sure.

And, now the waitlist is 16 months, to August 2022??

 

**Edit: Nevermind, i found the 4" King dimensions online.

4" King Height: 100 mm (3.937" inch)
King Base Diameter: 42.5 mm (1.673" inch)

versus

3.5" King Height: 89 mm (3.503" inch)
King Base Diameter: 37.5 mm (1.476" inch)

Westsailor32
SpanishStallion wrote:

Noj Dubrovnik is the best but the high price is an issue which drives most people to other cheaper retailers.

Yup... I'd buy an NOJ set in a heartbeat if I could afford it

Eyechess

This looks great.  I am sure you will have great and pleasant times with this set and board.

Gregor’s statement about not increasing production numbers to maintain high quality explains quite a bit.

First, this shows that Noj is in a category of their own with no other company giving them competition.  These guys are true artists and not necessarily retailers.
They make their product, first and foremost, then they sell it.  Yes, they do take orders but they will not sell a set until it is perfect by their standards.  In fact they will only take money for the set after it is made and ready to ship.

Their prices are also at the high end of the market.  While there are more expensive sets out there, there aren’t many.  They apparently are not trying to compete on price at all.  They make the set and price it.  If you want the set then you will pay the price.

When we talk on here about getting a Chess set, there are retailers and direct sellers in the mix.    These places do compete with each other.  But the ‘boys’ at Noj don’t bother with that.  They just show up, make very nice stuff, and sell it.

 

SpanishStallion
Westsailor32 wrote:
SpanishStallion wrote:

Noj Dubrovnik is the best but the high price is an issue which drives most people to other cheaper retailers.

Yup... I'd buy an NOJ set in a heartbeat if I could afford it

Yes, high Noj price is discouraging which has made many turn to poor quality dubrovnik sets sold by other manufacturers at low pricers. Of course, Noj dubrovnik is not the most accurate copy of the original. The best quality and most accurate dubrovnik is made by Gabriel Coss but I don’t think he takes any more orders from customers. 

GrandPatzerDave
SpanishStallion wrote:
Westsailor32 wrote:
SpanishStallion wrote:

Noj Dubrovnik is the best but the high price is an issue which drives most people to other cheaper retailers.

Yup... I'd buy an NOJ set in a heartbeat if I could afford it

Yes, high Noj price is discouraging which has made many turn to poor quality dubrovnik sets sold by other manufacturers at low pricers. Of course, Noj dubrovnik is not the most accurate copy of the original. The best quality and most accurate dubrovnik is made by Gabriel Coss but I don’t think he takes any more orders from customers. 

He probably got sick of customers whining about extra queens. tongue.png

TheOneCalledMichael
SpanishStallion wrote:
Westsailor32 wrote:
SpanishStallion wrote:

Noj Dubrovnik is the best but the high price is an issue which drives most people to other cheaper retailers.

Yup... I'd buy an NOJ set in a heartbeat if I could afford it

Yes, high Noj price is discouraging which has made many turn to poor quality dubrovnik sets sold by other manufacturers at low pricers. Of course, Noj dubrovnik is not the most accurate copy of the original. The best quality and most accurate dubrovnik is made by Gabriel Coss but I don’t think he takes any more orders from customers. 

Could you please elaborate more about that? I'm not arguing, just curious.

facecards

Hello again. I had a moment to check in and wanted to say thanks again for the nice comments and offers of congratulations. 

@pawnerai - I also noticed that some of the white pieces kind of "washed out" in the photos. I believe these pictures give the best representation of what both colors really look like in person. They should also satisfy @TheOneCalledMichael request for more photos!

 

Per Gregor, and confirmed with my own measurements, the king is 102 mm with a 43 mm base. Lastly, yes they are now into August of 2022. Incredible isn't it? Gregor told me the demand for their product is, "Unbelievable right now."

I wanted to kindly comment on the issue of cost. There is no denying NOJ is expensive and this board wasn't cheap either. Also, I am not wealthy. Just your "average Joe" working man.

However, these sets aren't several thousand dollars either. You fellows may find this hard to believe, but this is my first set ever that isn't made of plastic! 

After years of wanting a beautiful high end chess set and board as a display piece (that would also be played on but would never leave the room) to compliment my home library, one day I finally just decided to figure out how to get it done. I took the old fashion route of figuring out the cost, a budget, and then working very hard and saving a little every month.

Believe me if a goofball like me can do it anyone can! Thanks again for reading and after the weekend I'll oblige the request for some more details and photos of the board.

EDIT: Darn it most of the photos came out sideways again. Sorry but I don't know what to do about it.

 

TheOneCalledMichael

Thanks mr F, I believe why the pictures came out like that it's because that's the original position when they were taken. If you open them with the build in photo editor from windows 10 (that's what I'm using), you can rotate them and save them.

This is for example what I did with one of your picture: