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The face of 100 year old dog….

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Powderdigit

Cheers @Zone_Chess. Much appreciated - Interesting that the wood may be walnut.

I am interested to know if such a set was widely available and who it may have been aimed at? Was it for the masses to play a popular game or would it still have been aimed at more wealthy by folk back in the ‘20’s and ‘30’s? I truly have no idea … my guess is that more intricately carved sets would have been available for wealthy families or was it that any wooden chess set was a luxury item? Any thoughts?

Ibuildchess

Funky set Mr Powder! The Knights are charming and the dirt gives the set a patina that makes it feel well loved. Surprised @theonecalledmichael hasn't commented on this thread, I recall that he has a soft spot for dog faced knights.

Powderdigit






Thanks IBC…. Well… I hope I haven’t desecrated the set … but I’ll take the hit if I have … I have a day off work today and conducted the most delicate clean across the course of this morning.

I wanted to retain the patina but remove the surface grime … if that makes any sense. So.. warm soapy water and a cloth. …. Then bees wax oil applied with the finest 0000 steel wool and then…  another two coats with a soft cloth. A light buff. 

Honestly … I reckon the result is beautiful. The pieces seemed so ‘dry’ almost aching for some care … I don’t feel like I have lost anything - rather the pieces are richer and the aged/patina comes through with a renewed pride. In the flesh - it’s quite wonderful now and if I have offended any of the professional restorers here - I apologise in advance! 

I have some excellent green English baize … I am very tempted to felt the bases but I’ll hold that idea for a while. I hope my phone photos do the pieces justice!

Ibuildchess

Nah I think cleaning them up makes them look really nice. I have a soft spot for wood that's been worn and then cleaned up nicely. Do they seem to have any finish on them? Or are they raw? If they're unfinished I can heartily recommend using a polymerized tung oil to give them a protective coating. One that a company called Sutherland Wells makes is particularly high quality.

 

As for your earlier question: I believe that wooden chess sets were the standard back until plastic became widely used, and that price points reflected the species of wood used and the level of carving/turning skill required to make a set. Wood was generally seen as the "cheap" product until plastics became commonplace around the 60's, and stone/bone/ivory would have been likely used for high end sets back in the 20's. 

Powderdigit




Thanks for your thoughts and the additional background knowledge. Appreciated.👍

Apart from the black pieces being stained in some way - I don’t think there was a finish. At present, I’m going to leave the bees wax as the finish and reapply as needed … it is amazing how good they now feel, I know it’s weird but it’s like they are hydrated!? Anyway - here’s some photos next to the Lardy - you can see the change in depth of colour - the hue is the same - is just slightly deeper. 

Powderdigit


Sorry for the ongoing spam today … but different afternoon light and I’m chuffed with this little set - I guess my message, for the new collectors like me is … quirky, historic pieces can be fun and satisfying to add to your collections.

 

magictwanger

There's nothing very quirky about having a growing collection of different and unique sets.Nice stuff.....I look forward to what's coming in the future....Down Under.-happy.png

Pawnerai

@Powderdigit  Great job on the cleaning and gentle application of beeswax. It gives the pieces a nice luster. I have 2 Lardy sets that look pretty much like bare wood. I'm sometimes on the fence about whether or not to apply a light coat of wax on them, but I figured they've survived half a century as-is, why bother. I'll let the next owners decide. Hah!

Powderdigit

Hi @Pawnerai - firstly, I appreciate your feedback. Thank you. Also, given that you have two ‘raw’ sets - I reckon it would be great to keep one raw and apply some kind of wax/oil finish to another to do a side by side comparison. No doubt the pieces have and will survive regardless - it’s just that not many would get to run such a comparison and it would be good to get your thoughts, given your vast  experience. 👍

utpic

This knight form is ubiquitous in Germany

Powderdigit
@utpic - thanks and yes - I can see how it resembles the ‘German knight’ pieces. I am a little (actually a lot) confused as to how my pieces relate back to those pieces - this knight is even simpler
with no skirt/flare as it approaches the base - rather just a straight piece glued to the base - even more rudimentary than the simple German knight pieces in mass production. Did these pieces predate the current design? Are the French or German made? I really don’t know. And again, regardless - I find them charming and full of character - partly due to their obvious age. 👍
utpic

no not the German knight - this very, exact knight of your post

Powderdigit

Oh 🤦‍♂️ sorry … got it! So that specific knight that I am picturing - while not the ‘German Knight’ … is very common in Germany. Do you know if it is still made to this day? Or are there simply many a set available from times past?

utpic

The ones I see on classifieds and local ebay are all past sets. In fact it is also the standard knight head shape of the  Regency set which was very common over 50 years ago. I will post examples of this type of knight and variations of it (like in later Boheme set) when I have time. ..

I dont know much about current manufacturing  practice in Germany.

Powderdigit
Interesting, I definitely see similarities to the knights in regency pieces too. Thanks for the information. 👍
Powderdigit


… and here’s an associated update. I believe these TSL sets were made through the 1940’s - 60’s in France. (Albeit I have seen some TSL draughts pieces made in England in the 1930’s.)

I purchased these - another local find today - I really only purchased it because I liked the box 🤦‍♂️ - I already have similar pieces at 5.5cm (just 2 1/4”) king height, unweighted. But together with the box - they are lovely, basic and cute pieces and I’m thinking this set is 70-80 years old and it’s a fine relic in good nick. I think, as mentioned above, these sets are rather ubiquitous through many parts of Europe but harder to find here.