Turning Chessmen: The Rook

Turning the rook is similar to turning the pawns, but the challenge that is specific to this piece is the top section where grooves/slots are found. One must find a way to make these cuts clean and perfectly aligned. The rook is also the only piece in the set for which I cut the blank to exact length given the work that must be done on the top prior to turning. However, if you choose to make the cuts on the top part after the turning process, feel free to adjust the order of the steps.

Mike Darlow recommends the cutting of the slots on the top while the blank is still square, using the tablesaw. This is the technique I have used, but I must warn you that the challenge then becomes one of aligning the blank perfectly on the lathe.

Once the blank has been cut to exact length (the projected height of the finished piece), I use my crosscut sled and a clamp on the tablesaw to cut two grooves in the top section of the blank.

Then, I drill a hole in the center of the top of the blank with a Forstner bit.

I can then mount it on the lathe and turn it as I would a pawn.

 

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