Turning Chess Pieces

by | Dec 30, 2017 | 4 comments

Seth and his puppy Kodi

With the holidays, a new girlfriend and huge quantities of tool orders, I have been delinquent in my blog posts lately. This year saw a huge growth in my business, with Seth Elliott starting to help me make tools, refurbish drawknives and sell rivings. I wasn’t looking to hire anyone, but Seth does such good work and is so easy to be around that he just fit right in. He has also started helping procure delicious lunches for my classes, which has made the classes a much more congenial experience. Thanks Seth!

Turning Chess Pieces

This short video is from 1963 in Zsambek, Hungary in a small production shop making chess pieces. They are turning on a power lathe using what looks like a screw chuck. He only uses a skew and turns at very high rpm, unless the video has been sped up. Very high skill:

Moroccan Bow Lathe. This is probably my favorite turning video. Turning as it was at the time of Christ. I thought I was a pretty good turner till I watched this video. I like his simplicity; he turns a fairly convoluted chess piece using only a skew chisel and bow lathe. This video will kill any thoughts that primitive tools equal slow work:

Notify of

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jeff Wayman
6 years ago

Can’t wait to see Roy doing this with you. A new side business, perhaps? Foot Tool Woodworking…enjoyed the videos.

Matthew Bizzarri
6 years ago

It’s fascinating that you have turned your grandmother’s artistry into something unique! Well written, and amazed at seeing you do something so special.

Paul Hawkinson
6 years ago

I wish my hands had the fine motor skills that guy’s feet have!

Subscribe to Elia's Blog

Search the Blog


Donate below to help keep the blog going.  Thanks!