Are thinking about investing in a hand carved chess set? Where every aspect & feature of the game — the chess board and chess pieces has been handmade, stained by hand & crafted, all resulting in a truly breath taking finish. There are a whole range of different hand-carved chess sets to choose from as well, different materials being used, different styles & themes. Here, we are going to explore some of the best hand carved chess sets about and see if any takes your fancy.
Of course antique hand made chess boards and all the right pieces in ‘mind condition’ can easily fetch in excess of thousands and thousands of dollars. Then again you can find them for far cheaper than that too, just head over to ebay.com and have a little search for something like ‘vintage handmade chess set’ and you will have a whole range to choose from (although you will come across a lot of the classic English Staunton, standard style, like you see right). Just make sure you know what’s genuine antique and what’s not.
This theme is my personal favorite, the extremely innovative and decorative African hand carved chess boards and pieces — which can really give the game a whole new ‘natural’ feel. See this Soap stone set for example, each piece is completely unique, differing ever so slightly in design & toning. This particular set is based on African animals (king = lion etc.), with every component being hand-crafted & stained by Kisii of Western Kenya (where the soapstone resides too).
Basic Woods & Luxury Woods
When it comes to wooden handcarved chess sets its a very vague description given all the ‘basic’ & exotic woods they can be made from. For instance, you get the very common box wood is incredibly dense, making it perfect for high detail carvings. Redwood, which exhibits a red based coloring & again makes an excellent wood base for hand made chess pieces to be made from. Ebony, which is a luxury intensely dark and expensive wood, again the same applies for Rosewood, although more brown with aspects of red than Ebony is (usually forged into an Anri style). You may come across custom orders too, where people have specifically a requested a certain type of wood to be used, although these are usually a fair bit more expensive.
Other game sets worth considering are some of the Mexican designs and some of the Polish hand carved chess sets have a lovely European appearance to them (see for instance this Royal 48, hand made from Birch in Poland).
Then you can also consider the classic ivory chess sets too (although these tend to get pretty expensive, as we mentioned earlier, given they tend to be antique as well). Then you get some completely innovative chess sets that completely capture the imagination. As you can see left, ones made from auto parts after a recycling challenge (made via Mexican Artisan, Armando Ramirez) — giving an entirely unique ‘rustic & rugged’ appearance to the game.
Just remember when shopping around for handmade boards and pieces that you have a lot of options out there to choose from: all sorts of different materials (stone, metal, a range of woods) and themes, so take your time and never settle for what you think will be just a ‘decent’ set, wait until you come across an ‘amazing’ hand carved chess set and it will be completely worth it.