June 04, 2021 2 min read 3 Comments
My name is BJ Minson and I’m the Founder of GRIP6. I wanted to give you a quick update on our progress making the GRIP6 chess boards and pieces. First off, thank you so much for your support and interest.
When we sponsored our first Chess.com Pogchamps Tournament, we wanted to be more than a sponsor and really connect with the online chess community. So we used our manufacturing skills to make a unique, high quality, locally-made chess board and pieces.
To be honest, it’s relatively simple to prototype a single concept board. Photoshop can handle small mistakes and imperfections. On the other hand, producing hundreds of high quality, nearly perfect products is far more difficult. We really enjoy doing it, but people tell me I get overly optimistic about how quickly we can do it. I apologize that we haven’t delivered yet, but we’re getting close.
The initial concept was a simple “puzzle” style chess board with no border, but as we thought about it more, we decided to move toward a solid aluminum board with a hard-wood border. We purchased a few wood working tools to join the corners of the wooden border. I’m pretty excited about how good it looks. I think you will be too.
As I write this,Kevin Rogers (our lead creative man who actually designed the chess board and pieces as well as all of our socks and many of our belts) is running the wood pieces through his jointer at his home garage.
We still have some cutting, routing, sanding, staining, coating and final assembly to do on the wood, but we have a solid plan to get it done within the next week.
We designed and machined a block of stiff rubber to custom bend each chess piece. That was a bit of a learning curve.
We then tumbled the pieces and sent them to the anodizer. All 1600 pieces went out today (May 24, 2021). They should be finished and back in about two weeks. By that time we will have all the chess boards finished and the packaging ready to go.
Along the way, we decided to add in an extra queen to the chess pieces.
We also changed from a laser engraved board surface to a durable enamel screen print. Our first screen print was bright white and very glossy. It didn't look right. It took some testing, but we found the right sheen and tint of light grey. Screen printing was a bit of a learning curve.
Shipping should start in about two weeks. Again, thank you for your patience. We think you’ll be pleased with how it turns out.
- BJ and the GRIP6 Chess Team
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