DIY Pottery Barn Metal Chess Set

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DIY Metal Chess Set

A chess set not only is a invite to challenge your strategy skills against a worthy opponent, it also can be a interesting, unique object to decorate your space. Make your own metal chess set or gift your creation. For the metalworker making your own unique metal chess set is a fun project to complete and a fun project to enjoy after to work is done. Plus, its always fun to impress your friends and family with your craft and skill. Some metal chess sets can cost hundreds. This Pottery Barn Chess set originally sold for over $200! We loved the modern design and simplicity of this metal chess set and decided to recreate this piece using Online Metals materials. If you have the tools to cut, shape and stamp metal this project is relativity easy.

How-to recreate Pottery Barn’s Marble and Metal Chess Set. 

This set from Pottery Barn had a price tag of over $200 and is currently sold out, so we decided to a DIY version with the same sophisticated design aesthetics as the original. The game board is made of marble, but you can use any material to you like to recreate this look including: wood, metal plate, acrylic, and more. The Pottery Barn pieces are aluminum with a polished nickel finish and steel with a bronze finish. You can choose any metal to make these pieces but we recommend choosing metals that contrast each other unless you are planning on painting them. Here is how to make your own:

Dimensions

Game board: 15″ x 15″, with 64 squares
Game pieces (32): 1.5″ diameter, 0.75″-3.5″ high
Pawn (16): 0.75″
Rook (4): 1.75″
Knight (4): 2.25″
Bishop (4): 2.75″
Queen (2): 3.25″
King (2): 3.5″
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Metal Chess Piece MATERIAL

You will need to have a minimum of 26.25” if you are a precise cutter or about 27” for each players’ pieces – meaning a total of about 54” of material. We recommend you pick material with a higher contrast. Here are some materials that we recommend. Choose 27” of two materials. Some combinations that look nice together are: Brass and Stainless Steel, Copper and Hot Roll Steel, Stainless Steel and Hot Roll Steel, Copper and Brass.

Brass Bar
Diameter: 1.5″
Length: minimum of 26.25″

Brass is going to give you a gold like look. We recommend “Free Machining” C360 H02 Extruded Brass Round Bar – the finished product will be stunning and it is easy to work with as the name implies. If you’re looking for a different shape, we also carry “Free Machining” C360 Half Hard Square Bar and Hex Bar.

Copper Bar
Diameter: 1.5″
Length: minimum of 26.25″

Copper is a more expensive option but currently a very popular color and material to use in home décor. Copper’ color, like brass, can vary depending on the alloy. It generally will look similar to a rose gold but patinas after time if not treated with a finish, giving it a blue green color. Copper is easy to work with and machine. Copper C110 Round Bar will be the most cost effective option and it is also available in a Half Hard Square Bar.

Aluminum & Stainless Steel Bar
Diameter: 1.5″
Length: minimum of 26.25″

We recommend Aluminum or Stainless Steel to get a lighter, silvery look. Aluminum will be the most cost efficient option and the pieces will be lighter. We carry Aluminum Square Bar and Aluminum Hex Bar if you are looking for more shape options. The 1.5” diameter Extruded Aluminum 6061-T6 Round Bar is going to be the least expensive round bar option. If you want to go with Stainless Steel, the 1.5” diameter Cold Finish Stainless 304 / 304L Round Bar is a good option. Stainless 304 / 304L Hex Bar and Stainless 304 / 304L Square Bar are good options if you are looking to mix up shapes with Stainless.

Hot Rolled Steel Bar
Diameter: 1.5″
Length: minimum of 26.25″

Hot Rolled Mild Steel A36 is a good option if you are looking for a darker color – it would even provide a nice contrast with Aluminum or Stainless Steel and still looks nice with copper or brass. Hot Rolled A36 Mild Steel is available in 1.5” diameter Round Bar or 1.5” diameter Square Bar.

Bronze
Diameter: 1.5″
Length: minimum of 26.25″

Bronze is going to be one of the more expensive options and the pieces are going to be pretty heavy but the finished product is beautiful. We carry Bronze Round Rod in the following alloys:

C510 Phos Bronze Rod, C544 Phos Bronze Rod, C630 Aluminum Bronze Rod, C642 Aluminum Bronze Rod, C655 Silicon Bronze Rod, C673 Manganese Bronze Rod, C863 Manganese Bronze Rod, C954 Aluminum Bronze Rod

DIY Metal Chess Set Instructions:

Step 1: Cutting Round Rods

Cut the round rods to the specific lengths of each piece (listed in Dimensions). Half of the pieces should be Bronze and the other half should be Stainless

Step 2: Machining the cut pieces

Machine the top of each piece to the desired shape you want. Pottery Barn opted for a domed top, but you can get as creative as you want to here

Step 3: Metal Stamping

Use a metal stamp to stamp the top of each chess piece with their matching symbol.
Pawn: P, Rook: R, Knight: Kn, Bishop: B, Queen: Q, King: K

 
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Photos via Pottery Barn