Custom Rotating Exotic Wood Chess/Backgamon Table

One solid American black walnut original design gaming table by Artisans of the Valley (Eric M. Saperstein & Michael Pietras) custom built for our client in South Carolina.

The piece is primarily 4/4" black walnut, obviously the gaming board employs more exotic materials. The choice was Swiss Pear & Leopard Wood for the chess board. We maintained the walnut choice for the third wood in the backgammon board. Then we trimmed with a jet black gaboon ebony.

We are very pleased with the Swiss Pear and Leopard Wood combo – just came out a very rich contrast with an antique look. We are planning on doing several more of these soon. The first series had four boards and a fifth as a "mess up." We're using that for a creative project we'll feature later.

The game board is laminated with ¼" thick solid surface over a ¾" 13 layer high quality plywood core. Everything secured with construction adhesive, we figure this board is good for a few generations at least.

This piece is a combination of artists coming together from varies perspectives to assemble a very simple but unique artistic and functional gaming table.

I designed it and built the main assembly, Mike did a lot of the detail work such as the dovetail keys. Mike and I teamed up on doing the gaming boards as they were obviously tedious to properly fit and assemble everything perfectly.

The hardware is hand hammered by Horton Brasses. The custom design for the trunions was a combination of my idea and Horton's handy work and metal smithing skills. They provided the trunions, decorative bandings, drawer pulls, and the rings.

The finish is a hand rubbed Waterlox tung oil – satin, about 8 coats. The surface was hand scraped before finishing and sanded with 220, 320, then steel wool. A final coat of Renaissance wax sealed the deal.

We decided to do a formal marketing photo shoot with this piece as it was very unique. The photo shoot was at the studios of James Lear Photography. The models were Erik Hendrickson, Christian Robinson, Amy Anne, and Gina Michalski. Assume the photos that look the best were taken by Jim Lear, the rest was when I got lucky and something came out "ok …"

The gold and pink dresses were provided by Pamela Ptak. Pamela, a former Art Director for Cover Girl, now prospers in her own private design studio focused on developing custom dresses and soon a ready-ware line. Pam has been recently featured on Project Runway. Her philosophy of design matches with how many of us see furniture.

"I think of garments in terms of architecture…clothing as wearable sculpture. Not as a covering for nakedness…but as a statement of high-minded principles and thoughts. That it does in fact provide coverage is a matter of mere practicality." – Pamela Ptak

The Tuxes were provided by Chazmatazz Formal Ware (Princeton, NJ)

The chess set is an antique Jaques of London set in boxwood and ebony on loan to us from one of our clients.

Wine and champagne for our photo extravaganza was provided by Hopewell Valley Vineyards.

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