Checkmate: A One-of-a-Kind Piece

There are so many creative minds that make up the Harp Design Co. team. We are challenged and encouraged to use our skills and talents to create new ideas in our spare time if we feel led. The other day Joel, one of our carpenters, casually came into the office and presented his new creation to everyone. And let me tell you…..everyone’s jaws immediately dropped to the floor. His chessboard was stunning and one of our favorite one-of-a-kind pieces to date.

Joel is originally from Dallas, TX and knew nothing about woodwork until college. Like most students, he needed some extra cash so he worked a summer job at an antique store. His passion and talents for woodwork began there and he pursued custom projects afterwards before connecting with us at Harp.

After getting the chance to analyze his chess board, I was amazed and decided I would interview Joel to learn the story behind it. I asked him what his inspiration was and he said, “Well, there were tons of scrap pieces laying around and no more storage space. I decided I needed to get creative and do something with it, so that they didn’t go to waste.” That is exactly what Joel did. He was cutting out a small square-sized cutting board when he realized the stripes were all the same dimensions and instantly reminded him of a checkerboard. He had never built a game board before but was eager for the new challenge. Below are the steps he took to build his board:

  1. Cut strips of walnut and maple at 1 ½” x approx. 12”long, then alternate them like a cutting board making sure your first strip is walnut and last strip is maple. 
  2. Glue strips together based on the amount of squares you want For example, Joel wanted the board to be 8×8 so he used 8 strips
  3. Once dry, cut your board against the direction the strips in equal amounts
  4. Clamp the strips together using the exact same process just alternate the direction of the strips to create the checkered pattern.
  5. Add trim to raise the board and bam you’re done!


Lastly, I asked Joel if he had any plans for more products in the near future. He replied, “Well there are a bunch of Melissa pedestal legs that aren’t going to work so I’ve been working on potentially turning them into a lamp…” Stay tuned!

Thanks for joining us on this journey,

Demi Hodam & The Team at HDC

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