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Using Supercast Chess Molds
 



Cobra Queen Pawn - Blackened Bronze Metallic Paint

Choices of Materials and Finish

Chess pieces can be cast in either plaster, cement or resin (casting material not included in chess set prices).  The procedure in making a chess pieces is generally to prepare the mold on a card or plywood support; mix the casting material; pour material and work into all crevices of mold, leave to set hard then carefully remove piece from mold.  Finishing operations include painting and fixing a felt base to piece.  Click below to see just a few examples of other acrylic paint finishes.

Multicolor (White) Multicolor (Black) Natural White
Gold Silver Aged Copper Black

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The following are the most common materials used with Supercast Chess Molds with their relative properties.
 


Materials of Construction

Material Cost Strength Impact Resistance Level of detail achievable Ease of use
Plaster of Paris Low Low Poor Excellent Easy
Fine Cement Low Medium Medium Good Easy
Tough Stone Medium High High Excellent Easy
Polyester Resin High High High Excellent Difficult

For the larger pieces (12cm and above) store bought fine cement such as Sakrete Patcher give good results.  Click here to see even a 9cm figure showing good detail with this material.  However for the smaller sets the finer materials are needed to more easily get the full degree of detail from our molds. 
Unfortunately plaster of Paris is very brittle and easily broken.  We recommend Tough Stone which is a brilliant white polymer modified fiber filled casting material specially formulated for precise casting work and significantly tougher than cement.

Note these cement based materials (including Tough Stone) all need to be handled carefully during mixing and children should be supervised. 
Polyester resin requires the use of special catalysts and should be performed in a well ventilated area and is not suitable for use by children. 
Weights quoted on chess sets are for 32 pieces, so quantities need to be adjusted if different materials are used for each color or if only one half of set is being cast.  1kg is approximately 2lb 3oz.


Step by Step Process

 


Process illustrated is for Plaster of Paris - other materials are similar.  More detailed instructions are enclosed with chess sets.

1. Wet mold and pour contents into mixing dish.
(for cements, wet mold only)
2. Use a suitable container (bottom cut from plastic
milk carton works well) for mixing materials together.
3. Mix dry material with suitable quantity of water until consistency of thick cream.  For cements it is better to gradually add water to the cement.
4. Cut out a hole in stiff card (wooden board for larger pieces) to support mold and pour material into mold.
5. Kneed, ping and vibrate mold to ensure material has fully flowed into crevices of mold and to release trapped air bubbles.  Using a blunt scraper or other such tool carefully scrape excess material from the mold ensuring you do not dig into the mold.  Vibrate mold if necessary to smooth surface.  For Cement - leave mold 24-48 hours for best results.  For Tough Stone items may be removed within 4 hours.
6. Carefully peel mold from piece taking care not to snap thin sections of piece.
7. Stand piece aside ready for painting.
8. Paint with acrylic paints.

To protect your paint a tough acrylic varnish can also be applied.  For chess men a very pleasing finishing effect can be achieved by hot gluing a green felt to the bottom of the figure.  A mini craft iron helps you achieve a professional finish.


 

 

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