I rather quickly put together some checkerboards for my children (and families) for Christmas. All the boards are made from the same stock of Birdseye maple and Paduk. Both are beautiful woods and bring great characteristics.
This board is wrapped with Birdseye laid on it side, so you can see the eyes in slices. Lastly this board has a very thin band of Paduk around the outside to tie it all together. It was the only one where I had enough Birdseye to create the frame.
The other two were framed with Paduk, and have a very different look. Because I was literally finishing these two days before Christmas, I spent a bit of time searching Omaha for wooden checkers and found none. So, I made my own from 1 inch dowel rods.
I bought a 1 inch red oak dowel and and 1 inch maple dowel. Each checker was sliced using a jig on my miter saw, and then each was sanded on top, bottom and each edge. Whew! The red oak I dyed with a medium brown dye. None of the checkers have a finish. I am relying upon the oil in the hands to create a nice patina.
The boards have a primary coat of shellac which is supposed to help keep the Paduk from turning brown from sunlight. And then they have been sprayed with a Minwax polyurethane which should give them durability. Finished up with a quick coat of wax on each one.
Here are pictures of each of my children with their boards.
My wife found little boxes that could be used to package the checkers for each set. I put one extra maple and two extra oak into each set in case they loose one. Of course they are easily duplicated if any are lost.
As usual, it was a lot of work to finish, but I really enjoy the process and giving them something that has a little extra meaning beyond a purchased gift.