This post will be part furniture and part deer. The idea started with an old table up in the attic that would have never been used in it’s AS IS condition. But I had an idea for a chess set and thought the table could be converted. Here’s the BEFORE:
And here is the AFTER:
I stripped the table and stained it darker. Then I got my Dremel out and started making precariously straight lines (after measuring about 10 times)! It was a challenge but my OCD left me a long time ago. I embrace my “signature” on all my projects these days. For the “white” squares, I just used the Dremel to remove the top layer of wood and left it its natural color. Here’s a picture of the progress:
After a few coats of polyurethane, the table was ready to go and it was time for the chess pieces. I dug into my bucket of random deer antlers and started trying to find what could be a Knight or a Bishop or a Rook and then tried to find its mate – and then two more just like it. Here are some pictures of me picking and choosing and carving. Again I used the Dremel to carve the antler designs. Amazingly enough, despite the fact that deer antlers are extremely hard, the Dremel did a fantastic job on the carvings and I was able to do some nice detail work in order to distinguish the pieces. Can you spot the Rook and the Bishop?
Next it was time to choose sides – a white and a black (or brown) side. I soaked one set in a solution of half bleach and half water. The antlers only need to soak for an hour or so, depending on how dark or dirty the antlers are. The bleach makes them somewhat soft and porous but as they dry, they firm back up. Don’t soak them too long though because the bleach will probably ruin them! This is the white set after coming out of the bleach solution. They’re still wet here but they dried much whiter:
For the brown set, I didn’t want anything too dark but I did want them a shade darker than their natural color so I soaked them in coffee (cold and left over from the morning!) It darkened them just the right amount:
I cut up an old wooden flag pole to use as a base for all of the pieces except the Pawns. I used the base of the antler for the Pawns so they had a natural wide base and were short enough not to fall over. But the other pieces really needed a base to stabilize them. I also like the height that the wooden base gave these pieces. I stained the wooden bases and gave them and the antlers a couple of coats of polyurethane to make them shine. Here are several pictures of the finished set. Hope you enjoy!