Reproduction and Real Jaques of London Chess Set



chessspy1 wrote:

The dog chewed pieces can be restored by any competent woodworker.

How would you go about it Alan?


Hi Matt,

I would remove the baizes on the affected pieces by carefully sliding a box cutter (AKA Stanley knife) blade between the baize and underside of the base.

Then I would make some boxwood (or ebony as appropriate) sanding dust on the sanding faceplate then I would put thin superglue on the affected parts and sprinkle the dust on the glue.

When it was built up sufficiently I would attach the piece to a glue chuck, centred exactly to run as close to' right' as the natural ovaling of the wood (caused by shrinkage over time) will allow.

Then cut off the surplus as the piece spins on the lathe and sand and polish to as smooth as possible.

Then stain to match existing. The staining is the hard part IMO.

There are videos on I think.


Thanks Alan. What sort of stain do you use? Also, once smooth would you apply anything else like French Polish? Or would you just use transparent shoe polish like you do in some of your videos that I've seen?

I've seen a dealer describe a Jaques set as "retaining the original French Polish". Were Jaques sets French Polished?


Hi Matt,

I don't know what the original polish Jaques used was but modern shellac/ wax friction polishes like Krystal Coat seems to work well.

I use various stains and paints and polishes, Keeping at it until the little bar stewards look right.

I can PM you a list if you have a specific job in mind.


it would have been shellac, there were not that many options in the 1850s


Hi Greg,

Yes I agree. I have used similar modern shellac/wax friction polishes, all of which seem to work well.

I remeber when we had an oncologist in the workshop a few years ago doing one of our 'make a chess set in a weekend' classes. he was a bit slow but was getting a superb finish on his dark side pieces (Black Walnut, a common local wood) but it was taking him a long time. However, he did get his set finished I am pleased to say.