DIY Projects: Build Your Own Chess Board

This lovely and compact games table can serve as both a pleasing end table and an easily situated games table in small or large spaces. The contrast of inlaid light maple and dark oak to form the contrasting game squares shows the beautiful grains and natural colours of two beautiful hardwoods. Sturdy, good looking and functional, this handsome little table can be made in time for Christmas and would be a perfect gift for any home.



  • mitre saw 1347-110
  • brad nailer with compressor (optional) 1282-918
  • drill 1239-513
  • planer (optional) 1260-212
  • measuring tape 1048-330
  • hammer 1030-566
  • square 1070-060
  • clamps 1023-154 to 190
  • nail set 1039-389
  • sander 1262-369
  • screw setter bit 1227-540


  • 1″ x 2″ maple, 5 feet
  • 1″ x 2″ oak, 24 feet
  • 1″ x 3″ oak, 12 feet
  • 3/4″ plywood, 18″ X 18″
  • 2″ finishing nails 2131-152
  • 2″ #8 wood screws 2173-597
  • wood glue 2020-182
  • fine sandpaper 1233-793
  • sealer/urethane 1877-758
  • 3/4″ corner bracket (8) 2380-098

Step By Step

The top of the table consists of a 3/4″ piece of plywood to which the game squares and edge pieces are glued.

Cut a piece of 3/4″ plywood to size, allowing for an extra 1/4″ along the length and width which will be cut or planed off later. This will allow the perimeter of the top to be perfectly flush with the plywood, giving a good surface for attaching the four trim pieces. Cut a 45 degree angle on two frame pieces, and using a square, place them along two edges of the plywood. Set 15 game squares along the inside edges of the two frame pieces, and mark the position of the other 45 degree cuts at the other ends of the frame pieces.

Cut the other two 45 degree angles, and using a square, glue and clamp the two frame pieces to the plywood base. Now glue the game squares to the plywood base, setting them tightly against the two frame pieces. Align the wood grains in the two wood types so that they are in opposite directions to one another.

Measure, cut and install the remaining two frame pieces. Allow 24 hours to dry, and then cut or plane excess plywood to create four flush edges.

Referring to the diagram, cut and install the four 1″ x 2″ trim pieces to the outer edges of the frame, using glue and 2″ brads or finishing nails. If you use nails, you will have to pre-drill the hardwood.

Build the 1″ x 3″ apron for the legs, and install to the underside of the table, using 3/4″ corner brackets and 3/4″ screws.

Form the legs by laminating two pieces of 1″ x 2″ stock together using glue and clamping them for 24 hours. Cut to length, and attach to the inside corners of the apron using glue and 2″ screws. Pre-drill for the wood screws. Use a square to check that the legs are perpendicular to the table base.

Sand all the wood surfaces, and fill any nail or screw holes. Seal using a clear urethane.

Games Table Instructions 1 Games Table Instructions 2 Games Table Instructions 3