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Chess News and Info - Blog - gift guide

Refresher on Chess Wood Sets

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We're coming up on the holiday season pretty quickly, and some of you may be wondering what to get your favorite chess enthusiast. In addition to our usual gift ideas, we know that wooden chess sets are always a good idea. Because there are a lot of options available, we are going to once again briefly explain the differences in wood types you can get pieces, boards, and boxes for chess sets.

Pieces

Wood Chess Pieces are available in sheesham, ebonized hardwood, rosewood, ebony, or bud rosewood for the dark pieces. All sets come with boxwood for the light pieces.

Sheesham

Sheesham is a wood that resembles walnut in both color and grain. It is a natural brown with high density that makes it perfect for economical pieces. It is widely abundant in India.
French Sheesham Chess Pieces

Ebonized Hardwood

Ebonized hardwood is not the same as ebony - this is a lighter wood (usually boxwood) that has been lacquered to look black. It's still beautiful, but much more cost-effective for people on a budget.
Quality Ebonized Chess Pieces

Rosewood

Rosewood is a deep, reddish-brown wood with dark grain. It is elegant for chess pieces and also becoming increasingly rare as time goes by. In some lighting, these pieces can look extremely dark, but they always have a reddish hue.
Florentine Rosewood Chess Pieces

Ebony

Ebony is an extremely dense, dark wood. When polished, it looks deep black and is beautiful for carved chess pieces. Unfortunately, ebony does have a tendency toward cracking.
Nobility Ebony Chess Pieces

Bud Rosewood

Bud rosewood is the most rare of the chess piece woods, and it's worth every penny! This gorgeous wood is even more deeply grained and red-tinted than regular rosewood because it is taken from a specific part of a rosewood tree.
Columbian Bud Rosewood Chess Pieces

Boards

Our wood boards generally use maple or bird’s eye maple for light squares. Bird’s eye maple is a light wood with swirling grain spots that resemble eyes. The particular board shown below has alternating bird’s eye maple and ash burl squares for a very unique look. Ash burl has a distinctive and unusual grain.
Rich Brown Deluxe Board

Mahogany

Mahogany is a common, light wood with a very light grain and a reddish hue. It is perfect for when you don’t want your board to overpower your pieces.
Mahogany Wood Chess Board

Macassar

Macassar is a type of ebony from southeast Asia that has a straight grain with hints of a reddish tone that provides a rustic, elegant appearance.
Macassar Wood Chess Board

Wenge

Wenge is a dark, very straight-grained wood that provides almost an antique look straight from its natural appearance.
Wenge Wood Chess Board

Santos Palisander

Santos Palisander wood features an exotic, rich, and unusual grain.
Santos Palisander Wood Chess Board

How do I Care for My Wood Chess Set?

Simply put, treat your nice wood chess pieces as you would fine furniture. First, and above all, avoid leaving them in direct sunlight and keep them away from extreme levels of humidity. A nice chess box or bag will help keep the humidity away. Second, many fine wood chess pieces are finished with a nature wax polish that requires careful attention. Do not use harsh detergents to clean them – the wax doesn’t play well with solvent based cleaners. For a longer, polished look – keep your pieces away from dusty environments and use a clean dry cloth to wipe them clean after use.