If you get a lathe - and begin using it - at some point the idea of turning a chess set crosses your mind.

Don't need a chuck, between centers will do.

Don't need any big pieces of wood, scraps will do.

Don't need a lot of chisels and gouges, a skew or spindle gouge will do.

Turning 16 of one type of piece could get old by the third or fourth copy. But they don't have to be the same, only recognizable as pawns, or bishops, or rooks/castlesm knights, queen and king. So there's some room for improvising and some artistic license,

All the pieces can be turned - except those damn knights! They're the hurdle - all that carving. Take a block of wood and cut away everything that doesn't look like a horse head and neck?

So a chess set doesn't make it on the turning projects list.

Then JT, in the usenet newsgroup rec.woodworking post a link to a site with a BUNCH of chess set photos. Found a few pics with closeups of knights. Brought one into a primitive CAD program I use and started trying to figure out how to use a bandsaw or scroll saw to do most of the grunt work.

The nice thing about CAD is that you can scale drawings to whatever size you need. So I drew up the above at a larger scale then shrunk it to fit a 1x1 blank. Print the scaled drawing, cut out the front view and side view, a little spray adhesive on the back and glue them to the blank. Drill the holes A & B and off to the bandsaw.

A flex shaft and a cutting bur or two and the horse head starts to take shape. I've got carving tools and riffler files, but the flexshaft and burs seemed the easiest and best way to cut away everything that doesn't look like a horse head. So here's where that got me. Still have a bit of refining to do and the base to turn.

So far so good.

This is Santos Mahogany. After turning the base I just had to apply some oil (Mahoney's Walnut Oil) to get an idea of what this piece will look like when it's done. Oiled only the pedestal because carving and sanding this stuff when oiled is a minor PITA.

More to come.