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Make a Nuts and Bolts Chess Set

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.


What You’ll Need:

  • 16 3⁄8″ x 3⁄4″ hex bolts
  • 12 3⁄8″ x 1″ hex bolts
  • Two 3⁄8″ x 1 1⁄4″ hex bolts
  • Two 3⁄8″ x 1 1⁄2″ hex bolts
  • 18 3⁄8″ hex nuts
  • Four 3⁄8″ wing nuts
  • Six 3⁄8″ flange nuts
  • Four 3⁄8″ keps lock nuts
  • Four 3⁄8″ cap nuts
  • One cup of white vinegar
  • Small plastic container
  • Quick-drying glue
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Utility knife
  • One 1⁄4″ x 12″ x 12″ sheet of cork
  • One 1⁄4″ x 12″ x 12″ piece of plywood
  • Fine-toothed saw
  • Four 1″ x 2″ x 3″ pine blocks
  • Two 1″ x 2″ x 12″ pine boards
  • Two 1″ x 2″ x 13 1⁄2″ pine boards
  • 16 1 1⁄4″ wood screws
  • Eight 3⁄4″ wood screws
  • 3⁄32” drill bit and countersink bit
  • Drill
  • Wood putty
  • Wood glue
  • Paint or stain and brush

What You’ll Do:

1. Submerge half of the nuts and bolts in the vinegar overnight. This will create one light set and one dark set of pieces.


2. Cut the sheet of cork into 64 1 1⁄2″ squares.


3. Paint or stain 32 squares, so they are a different color than the remaining 32 squares.


4. Cut out the 12″ x 12″ piece of plywood and glue on the cork squares in alternating order.


5. Cut the four frame boards and the four blocks to size. Screw and glue the blocks onto the bottom of the plywood. Screw and glue the wood frame in place. To keep the wood from splitting, drill and countersink all the screw holes before screwing the frame together. Fill the recessed screw holes with wood putty.

6. Paint or stain the frame.


7. Assemble all the chess pieces as shown above. Use the quick-drying glue to hold the nuts and bolts in place. Your chess board is complete.


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12 Comments on Make a Nuts and Bolts Chess Set

  1. nice

  2. Naruto Umazoki // April 27, 2018 at 6:29 pm // Reply

    That’s really cool and I can’t wait to build it.

  3. Slimjim WARFARE // June 16, 2017 at 9:11 am // Reply

    Redneck chess set

  4. cool

  5. I’m making that for a weblos project

  6. its really cool

  7. I built a simpler version of this as a project in middle school, and everyone loved it. My teacher liked it so much that she made it a project for that class after I started high school. I got the original idea from here. Thanks Boy’s Life. 🙂

  8. Interesting. Ill try it out!

  9. monkeymaster // February 21, 2017 at 4:27 pm // Reply

    the knight and the bishop are switched. LOL!!!!!!

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