Port Stephens Community Woodworkers Create Artisan Chess Set To Raise Funds

Chris Sturt with the chess set, a unique artisan piece of woodwork created by the members of the Port Stephens Community Woodworkers.


MEMBERS of the Port Stephens Community Woodworkers have their major fundraising activity each year during the summer holidays.

This year the Club decided on a very ambitious project to construct a hand carved Australian Wildlife Chess Set.

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President Roger Delaney said, “The idea was put to a general meeting and the membership decided to get behind this major project, which has taken six months to complete and is thought to be worth around $5,000.”

The raffle will be drawn on stage at the Australia Day celebrations at Fly Point, with a platter, chopping board and bowls as second, third and fourth prizes.

Tickets can be bought on the day or at any time on-line at www.rafflelink.com.au/pscwchesssetraffle, where pictures and more information on the chess set can be found.

The artisan crafted chess sets pieces sees Australia’s iconic animals take centre stage with the King pieces crafted in the image of kangaroos, the Queens depicted as kangaroos with joeys, the Bishops are koalas, the Knights are Tasmanian Devils, the Rooks are possums and the Pawns are adorable wombats.

The light chess pieces are made of Jacaranda and the dark pieces are made of Rosewood.

Other woods used are Red Cedar and Bunya Pine for the board squares as well as Silky Oak and Tasmanian Oak for the box frame and legs.

The chess set also includes a table with carved side panels of Australian animals including sugar a glider, an echidna, a frill necked lizard, a bilby, a brush tailed possum and a spotted quoll and two drawers, feature carved fronts, and provide for storage of the chess pieces.

The chess board top is removable and has a lined storage area underneath.

The project was a real team effort by the club.

Chris Sturt carved the major pieces, while Rod Howard carved the wombat pawns.

Bob Parrish built the table and removeable chess board, Ken Richards carved the side and drawer panels, Vince Rush turned the bases, Graham Miller pressed the weights inside the bases (to give each piece a similar weight) and Geoff McLelland did the lacquering.

Ken Richards has fully documented it.

In the past, tickets were sold at the main shopping centres in the area but this year all the sessions, except one, were cancelled due to Covid and lock down restrictions, so the club searched for an on-line raffle option to complement the manual ticket sales and came up with Raffle Link, an organisation that supports not-for-profit organisations.

Port Stephens Community Woodworkers are a registered charity that supports extra-curricular activities in primary schools, aged care homes, disability centres, and disadvantaged schools.

Members make kits such as bird feeders, nesting boxes, bee hotels, BBQ caddies etc and then visit these locations, where they help children and other participants assemble these pre-made kits.

The funds raised are used to further this work, to help other not for profit organisations with woodwork projects and to buy and maintain woodworking equipment and supplies.

As a charity the Club also provides relief from social isolation for older men and women of the community and members then give back through these and other community activities.

In the past the Club has usually raffled a rocking horse, made by members and these have proved very popular over the years, so the wildlife chess set was very much a break from tradition and may not be repeated.



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