Neil Fyffe is a furniture maker in Selkirk. He was commissioned to design and make four bespoke chess sets for the Lindores Abbey Chess Stars Tournament that took place over 25th to 26th May 2019. It was so exciting for Lindores Distillery to host the World Chess Champion, Magnus Carlsen, and Chess Grand Masters from around the world! These chess sets had to be really special.
Commemorative chess sets
Neil designed the chess pieces to represent the distillery and the abbey’s history. Neil made the pawns as whisky barrels, the bishops as the Abbey’s friar and the knights as whisky stills.
Each chess board was to be engraved with text to commemorate the event, and Neil asked if I could help. He also wanted each board engraved with his signature and numbers identifying each board as 1/4, 2/4, 3/4 and 4/4 as they were a limited edition.
Setting up the artwork
Neil wanted ‘Lindores Abbey Chess Stars May 2019’ engraved in Cambria 40 point. The oak borders around the chess board chequers were 545 x 40mm, but the edges of the boards had 10mm wide rounded bevels. So I set up the artwork so that it would be centred in the 30mm flat area within the bevel. As the text was 12mm high, it fitted perfectly in the space.
Creating Neil’s signature
I asked Neil to write his signature and the numbers in a thickish black pen and send me a photo. I traced them to create vector files to use for engraving and I scaled them to the size that Neil wanted. Vector files are perfect for rescaling as image quality is maintained during the process. Rescaling pixel based images is less reliable.
Making each chess board the same
Neil wanted each chess board to be engraved in the same place so they’d all be identical.
Having the boards the right way round was really important. Neil wanted the left hand square on the engraved side to be white and the wood strip surrounding the chequers to be black for all the boards.
I engraved the signatures on the opposite sides of the boards to the text. Neil wanted them to be aligned with the left hand edge of the chequers.
I was so pleased with how the signatures came out, and it really did look as though Neil had signed the chess boards!
Limited edition chess sets
You can read Neil’s blog about the chess competition and the wood he used here.