How to Weight Chess Pieces at Home

Introduction: How to Weight Chess Pieces at Home

The most painful drawback of cheap chess sets is that figures are light. They don't feel too good to play with, not to mention that they keep falling over. Especially when kids play and get excited by a tactical queen rook fork.


For this project you will need fisher lead for weight, a drilling machine with woodworking bits, hammer, felt furniture disks for the base of the pieces and some glue.

Step 1: Preparations

Pawns are most difficult to deal with for their size. Besides other approaches, the concept of this weighting project is to drill a hole into the base of the chess pieces and hammer in some fishing lead, then glue and apply the felt disk onto the bottom. But because the pieces are fragile, the best practice would be to use a same size hole in some other chunk of wood for the hammering. That way you won't damage or break the chess pieces. Still, you need to drill very carefully, best to gradually increase drilling bit size.

Step 2: Putting It Together

Once you hammered the lead to the right shape in the wood chunk, and have the same shape whole in the chess piece, you are ready to glue the lead into its final place.

Step 3: The Result

This will take a while, because you have 32 pieces, but at the end the pieces are tripled in weight.

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    1 year ago

    I would have thought that you could glue on a stack of 2 or 3 penny washers onto the base with epoxy


    1 year ago

    Thanks for providing these detailed instructions - but using lead is dangerous! There are several low melting point metal alloys available with similar weight and material properties as lead, but without the toxicity - look at bismuth/tin alloys specifically. It might be slightly more expensive, but definitely safer (and cheaper if you consider long term health impacts) than lead. Another benefit of some of these low temp alloys is that you can simply melt it and pour directly into the drilled holes in the chess pieces, without having to pound into shape in a mold first...