Turning Chessmen: The Bishop

When compared to the pawn, the bishop’s particularity lies in the miter. Some people cut it on the tablesaw while the blank is still square, much like I did for the rook based on Mike Darlow’s suggestion in his book on making chess pieces.

Given the challenge of aligning the blank perfectly on the lathe after having cut grooves in its top section, and given the relatively thin miter section I had planned in my design for the piece that would not allow me much use of my tailstock on the lathe, I chose to turn the piece fully and then to cut the miter on the bandsaw.

I would like to add a very serious warning about cutting a round object on the bandsaw. All experienced woodworkers know that « small » and « round » are two words that do not match too well with any version of the word « saw. » The blade can very easily catch the piece and drag your fingers to a most uncomfortable place. Thus, make very, very certain that you support the piece with some form of jig and that you hold it in a clamp rather than your fingers.

Here is the result of my planned bishop, in maple and in sapele:

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