Once the initial sanding of the board has given me a satisfactory surface–keep in mind that much more sanding is yet to come once the chess box has been assembled–I move on to bands/borders.
The reason I put bands around the board is that I like to have the board slightly elevated (by 1/4 in.) from the top frame of the chess box for aesthetic reasons. However, leaving the edges of an endgrain board bare could make them fragile as fibers could be torn or separate.
Choosing the appropriate wood for the banding is an important step. I like to go for a wood that contrasts with both the light and dark squares so as to avoid confusion. Here, I went for jatoba as it differs sufficiently from the black walnut and maple I used for the board.
I cut 1/4 inch strips with a width that is equivalent to the thickness of the board. I make sure the strips are longer than each side of the board. I then glue the strips on two opposite edges and let dry with clamps on.
I can then cut the bands to match the board’s edges. The next pair of bands is glued on next, and once the glue is dry and I have cut the extra length, I sand all four edges.
The last step consists of rounding over the top edge of the board with the router, using a 1/4 inch roundover bit.