One of our customers, Santiago Caballero Llamas, creates beautiful, custom chess sets using a range of fine materials, including our African hardwoods.
We are delighted to share some images of his work. More information is also available on the Caballero Chess Facebook page.
Below we also offer a short discussion about the best materials for making chess sets.
Hardwood chess sets
Among the African hardwoods used by Caballero Chess are red ivory, mopane, African blackwood and African olive wood.
The red/pink pieces are made of red ivory hardwood from ProSono.
Best materials for making chess pieces
There’s no one, single medium that is traditional. From wood or bone to clay, glass, jade or even natural amber, chess pieces can be made from many different materials.
One of the earliest recorded chess sets, found in Uzbekistan and dated about 760 AD, was made of ivory. A single chess piece, unearthed in Jordan, dates back even further and was made of sandstone.
Today, vast numbers of chess sets are manufactured, the majority from plastic or vinyl.
Finer quality sets, including those used in high-level games, are mostly made from hardwoods.
Suitable hardwoods offer these advantages:
- exceptional durability
- heaviness (for a pleasingly solid feel in the hand)
- workability and stability over time
- fine grain, for a beautiful smooth finish.
African hardwood for chess sets
African hardwoods we recommend for making luxury chess boards and pieces include red ivory with its beautiful pink to deep red colouring; warm brown mopane; and African olive, with its pretty grain patterns.
Both ebony and African blackwood remain sought after for chess pieces but are increasingly scarce – and African blackwood has been added to the Convention of International Trade for Endangered Species (CITES).
For more information or to discuss your project hardwood needs, contact us at ProSono and we’ll do our best to assist.