Checkerboard Wood Size

I would like to make a checkerboard and it’s 28"x28" and it has separators between each 2x2 square. In other words I want to cut 64 pockets and have about a 1/8 piece of the wood still left in between each square. All I can find is spliced pine and that tends to warp very easy and plywood would probably chip on the tops of the in between pieces. Any ideas. I would purchase the 2x2x1/8" squares on Amazon. Thanks

The joys of woodworking. That is where a jointer (or hand planes) and edge gluing boards to get your width comes into play. You could also buy some of the ultra wide boards that are glued up for counters/tabletops at one of the big box stores as I think they go to 32"

Baltic Birch plywood should stand up to what you’re trying to do. Use a down-cut bit, i would think your pockets would come out OK.

Remember that you can’t cut an inside square corner - you’re limited by the diameter of your bit. That will be important if you’re trying to put in square pieces with sharp corners into your pockets.

Most chess/checker boards laminate the entire top - so your gap pieces would be the same thickness as your squares. You lay everything out and then glue it to plywood to make the board. Otherwise wood movement will be an issue and I think you’ll find it challenging to keep it flat…

I was just showing my son last night all the pre glued up panels that Lowes sells. They’re not super thick, but they had several large sizes available and could be glued together to make even wider panels. Stair tread is another option, and is available in oak and pine (at Lowes, at least).

Have you considered an inlay technique for your individual squares? This is a cutting board, but the same technique could be applied to your checker board.


Thanks Michael and Eric great ideas. I’ll run some sample pieces to check that out before I start with the main project. Great Video Eric… Haven’t even got my 1F CNC. Second week in May I hope. Thanks again

I think I would start with MDF because it’ll be stable. You could then use the 1F to cut thin pieces of wood for the squares and the strips in between them. Or you could laminate thin wood to the MDF and the make your pockets. Not being able to make square corners shouldn’t be an issue as long as you cut the squares with the 1F. You would have to do edge banding. If the squares had rounded edges you could also make the outside of the MDF rounded and wrap the edge banding around it to give it more of a custom feel. I might even think about stacking the MDF so you could create a deep pocket inside it with a door of some sort (sliding maybe) so you could store game pieces inside the board. Since you have a month still I would think about it some and try it.

My son bought Peel and Stick metal Backsplashes and they are basically checkerboards. By mixing them you could create a stunning look. Possibly using a base material with a grid of slots. Use wood placed “sideways” in the slots to create boxes for the purchased squares to go into…

That’s a cool idea. Thanks

That is awesome work.