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Chess Wood Guide
Most of our chess sets are crafted from wood. We take great care to precisely detail the specific types of wood used in each set. Below, you'll find an in-depth explanation of the various woods featured in our chess sets.



Sheesham (Dalbergia sissoo)

Sheesham wood is widely used in the manufacture of chess sets due to its medium brown color and moderate density. It becomes particularly appealing when polished or waxed, showcasing attractive patterns and grain. This stable wood is utilized in creating chess pieces, boards, and folding chess sets. Sheesham is not overly pricey and is readily available. It's worth noting that some chess companies might call this wood "Golden Rosewood," which can be somewhat misleading.


Boxwood (Buxus sempervirens)

Boxwood, known for its light color, is commonly used in crafting chess pieces and the squares on chess boards, though it is rarely used for entire chessboards. This dense and sturdy wood ages well, offering durability over time. Available in various grades, boxwood is featured in chess sets that range widely in both price and quality. It is derived from the appropriately named "Boxwood Tree."

ebonised boxwood

Ebonised Boxwood

Ebonized Boxwood is a treated form of Boxwood, stained to mimic the appearance of more expensive Ebony. This cost-effective alternative is frequently used for crafting the black pieces of chess sets, effectively achieving a look similar to real Ebony. The result is strikingly deep black chess pieces that are both appealing and affordable.


Walnut (Juglans)

Walnut wood, known for its rich hues of red, purple, and yellow, is primarily used for the borders and squares on chess boards. Highly sought after in the world of aesthetic construction and furniture making, Walnut features a tight grain with stunning variations in figure. Its medium density and robust nature make it perfectly suited for chess boards. There are several types of Walnut wood, with American Walnut being among the most favored.


Wenge (Millettia laurentii)

Wenge is an exceptionally dark wood, often likened to natural ebony, yet distinguished by an almost purple-blue tint under certain lighting. This wood is chosen specifically for crafting chess boards, offering a more budget-friendly and sustainable option. Wenge features a captivating grain that is tight and almost geometric, leading some to mistakenly believe it's a manufactured effect. Its coloring, similar to that of dark Indian Rosewood, complements Rosewood, Sandalwood, and Ebony pieces beautifully, making wenge boards a sought-after choice. Its contemporary appeal extends beyond chess boards, finding a place in modern kitchen countertops and designer furniture pieces.


Ebony (Diospyros ebenum)

Ebony is regarded as a luxury wood, often referred to as the epitome of black wood. However, it achieves its deep black color through a chemical process; naturally, ebony is a dark brown adorned with lighter streaks within its grain, a look that holds its own attractiveness. This distinctive appearance is preserved in some chess boards through partial treatment of the wood, maintaining its natural allure. Commonly utilized in the crafting of luxury chess pieces, ebony is a dense, fine wood. It's also highly valued in the music world for its tonal qualities, making it a popular choice for high-end guitars and violins.


Rosewood (genus Dalbergia)

Rosewood stands out as another luxury wood, cherished particularly by musical instrument manufacturers. It has become a preferred choice for numerous guitar fingerboards, enhancing instruments with its excellence. Characterized by its rich, dark hue and a subtle red tint, Rosewood is employed in crafting medium to high-end chess pieces. Additionally, it makes its appearance in some chess boards and folding sets, appreciated for its aesthetic appeal and quality.

bud rosewood

Bud Rosewood

Bud Rosewood is sourced from the base of the Rosewood tree and is esteemed as being of superior quality compared to standard Rosewood. This premium wood is typically found in high-end chess pieces, where its exceptional quality and beauty are most appreciated.


Palisander (Dalbergia)

Palisander, a variety of Rosewood, is mainly utilized for crafting chess boards and cases. It typically showcases a slightly lighter shade compared to traditional Indian Rosewood but maintains the dense and somewhat more uniformly directed grain. Palisander is available in a range of deep red tones and can be found in chess sets that span a wide spectrum of both price and quality.


Redwood (Sequoioideae)

Redwood shares many similarities with Rosewood, notably featuring a more pronounced red tint within its grain and offering greater durability. However, the terminology surrounding Redwood can be confusing, as some may inaccurately label Rosewood as Redwood. It's important to note that these are distinct woods, each originating from different trees. While Redwood is rarely employed in the construction of chess boards and cabinets, it is frequently chosen for crafting high-quality chess pieces, valued for its strength and striking appearance.

Red Sandalwood

Red Sandalwood (Pterocarpus santalinus)

Red Sandalwood is a precious and multifaceted wood, prized not only for its use in traditional medicine and as a dye in its powdered form but also for crafting stunningly beautiful chess pieces. This exquisite wood, characterized by a deep red color and a fine, dense grain, is typically reserved for high-end, luxurious chess sets. The high cost of Red Sandalwood is attributed to its outstanding quality and the strong demand for its various applications.


Briar (Erica arborea)

Briar wood, also known as Briar root wood, features a captivating medium red/yellow hue and is exclusively utilized for crafting luxury chess boards and chess piece cases. Its grain is uniquely appealing, with curls and twists that make it strikingly beautiful. This distinctiveness has led to Briar's use in creating smoking pipes and other ornate items for centuries. As a luxury, dense wood, it is particularly favored by high-end Italian chess board makers for its elegance and durability.


Mahogany (Swietenia)

Mahogany is a distinguished hardwood known for its deep red hue. Initially presenting a slight orange or pink colour when freshly harvested, it matures into a beautiful deep red or brown shade once seasoned. This wood is increasingly rare and valuable in certain parts of the world, making it a coveted material. Traditionally, mahogany has been the preferred choice among luxury cabinet and furniture craftsmen due to its dense grain pattern and robust structure, which is largely free from voids and knots. Its stable tonal qualities also make it a popular choice for crafting fine musical instruments. While mahogany is sometimes used as a veneer or in solid form for making chess boards, it is rarely employed in the creation of chess pieces.


Maple (Acer)

Maple is a hard, light wood that can appear almost white in some instances. It is frequently chosen to craft the white squares on a chess board, where its light color provides a stark contrast against the deep black of Ebony, resulting in a strikingly beautiful chess board. Maple is known for its stability and is plentiful in certain regions, making it a reliable choice for board creation. While it's uncommon to find chess pieces made from Maple—mainly because of the widespread use of Boxwood for lighter pieces—its presence in the world of chess boards underscores its valued aesthetic and physical properties.



Erable, which translates to 'Maple' in French, is a specific variety of Maple known for its light color and rich, quilted grain. This unique texture makes Erable an ideal candidate for staining in a range of vibrant colors. Our collection of boldly colored chess boards—available in shades like green, blue, grey, cocoa, and red—are all crafted from Erable wood, showcasing its versatility and beauty.

white wood

White Wood (Endospermum myrmecophilum)

White wood, bearing a resemblance to pine in its light coloration, is a lightweight and comparatively soft wood. Unlike the other woods discussed, it lacks the density and hardness required for crafting chess pieces. However, it finds a useful application in creating the frames for folding chess cabinets, particularly in more affordably priced sets.


Beech (Fagus)

Beech is an exceptionally adaptable wood, noted for its pale color and the presence of clean, straight grain lines. The Beech tree flourishes in various locations, including Europe, making it a common choice among European chess set manufacturers. Beyond its use in games, Beech wood is favored for its role in culinary arts, particularly in smoking meats and cheeses. An intriguing tidbit is that Beech wood chips are utilized in the brewing process of Budweiser beer. Its stability and solid nature allow Beech to be fashioned into a wide range of items, from pepper grinders to furniture. Beech products are often stained in diverse colors, enhancing their versatility. This wood is excellent for making chess boards and is also suitable for crafting chess pieces when needed.


Birch (Betula)

Birch stands out as a highly versatile medium-grade wood, employed in the creation of various items ranging from wooden toys and toothpicks to paper. With its natural pale hue, Birch is a favourite among woodworkers and craftsmen for its fine, close grain, which not only cuts well when dry but also absorbs stain effectively. This wood achieves its stability post-drying, during which it may lose up to 15% of its mass. Given the widespread growth of the Birch tree, including across Europe, it's a popular choice among European chess set manufacturers for producing moderately priced chess sets.


Hornbeam (Carpinus betulus)

The Common Hornbeam tree is widespread across Europe, reaching as far east as Russia and Ukraine, and is a familiar sight in the UK. It thrives particularly well in areas situated at least 600 meters above sea level. Hornbeam wood is notable for its heaviness and hardness, featuring a light color and fine grain. This wood has been utilized for a variety of purposes, including tool handles, snooker cues, parquet flooring, and, notably, chess sets. However, its hardness is not universally appreciated among woodworkers, as it demands significant effort and tooling to shape. Despite this, Hornbeam wood is a popular choice for chess sets in Europe and Russia due to its dense, durable structure, ensuring that products crafted from it are built to last. In contrast, it is seldom used in Asia.