From matte-finished rosewood to antiqued boxwood, wooden chess pieces have been popular for hundreds of years and are not going out of fashion anytime soon.
The natural beauty and warmth of wooden chess pieces make them a fantastic complement for practically any chessboard or set.
In the last fifty years, the number of wooden chess pieces being sold has increased dramatically. This massive influx of amazing sets allows chess players and enthusiasts to find a set of chessmen to suit any need.
We took the opportunity to review some of our favorite chess pieces. Some of these come as a set, others are only available as the chessmen themselves. Either way, you’re sure to find a great purchase somewhere on this list.
Best Wooden Chess Pieces & Sets (Our Review)
The Alexander Staunton Ebony Wood Chess Pieces (Chess House)
The 4” Alexander Staunton Ebony Wood Chess Pieces is an elegant set of chess pieces. The craftsmanship on these is polished with a sophisticated smooth finish.
The pieces also include a one-of-a-kind knight that depicts a horse’s whole body rearing, rather only the horse head that’s more common in Staunton chess pieces.
Aside from this minor difference, the remaining pieces follow a design that’s similar to the usual Staunton pieces, yet different enough to make this set unique.
The Black army is made of quality ebony wood. The white army is made from boxwood that’s been polished and smoothed to a lustrous sheen. The set is finished with a high-quality gloss that makes it stand out no matter which room you store it in.
It’s just beautiful, it’s also practical enough to meet the demands of your games. The base of each piece is felted to protect your board from scratching.
With a king height of 4 inches, it comes with a lockable leather chess box with double trays for storage.
As it’s made from hardwood, the pieces in this set are as durable as they are pretty. You don’t have to worry about chips and scratches if you drop them, and with the right level of care they’ll last you for years to come.
- Green felted bases
- Free chess box
- Karge king piece
- Doesn’t include chessboard
The Golden Collector Series Luxury Chess Pieces (House Of Staunton)
Golden Collector Series Luxury Chess Pieces are proudly presented by the House of Staunton. This unique club-sized chess set is made of boxwood and genuine ebony and boasts a 4.4-inch king height.
It’s not a limited edition series, but these wooden chess sets are hard to come by for the average consumer. Not only are these pieces attractive, but they’re also historical. They mimic the same Staunton pattern chessmen made by Nathaniel Cooke in 1849.
The chess pieces are entirely hand-crafted so every piece is entirely unique. You can see the minor variations in the detailing, but they’re all fantastically made and the changes don’t detract from the quality of the set.
The set is both beautiful and practical. It was created to withstand the demands of everyday play while keeping the elegance that has become synonymous with a House of Staunton chess set.
The House of Staunton logo is embossed in gold English leather on all pieces so you know it’s the real deal.
The average set weighs around 4 ½ pounds, so you can take it with you wherever you go. There are two extra queens included for pawn promotion.
If you’re bursting at the seams to go off and buy one of these sets, you may want to hold off a bit. As appealing as these pieces are, you might get a bit of sticker-shock when you see the $2,000 price tag.
If you can afford it, we would absolutely recommend investing in one, but we understand that not many people can justify this kind of expense.
- Comes with a certificate of authenticity
- Leather base pads
- Comes with manufacturer plaque
- Chessboard not included
- Massively expensive
Benevento Series Artisan Chess Pieces (The Forever Collection)
It’s simple to see why the Benevento Series Artisan Chess Pieces are one of the most popular items in the House of Staunton’s Forever Collection range. They’re lovingly crafted with intricately carved fine work and beautiful designs.
The chess pieces are made from only the finest materials. The manufacturer used natural boxwood for the white army, and genuine ebony or blood rosewood for the black. These materials give the set a classical look and you feel like you’ve been transported back to King Louis’s court every time you play.
You’ll need to purchase a chess box to keep your pieces safe as there’s no storage included in this set. Given how much the pieces cost, you’ll want to make sure you’re keeping them safe and sound.
While the hand-carved pieces are clearly crafted with care and attention, they’re plain enough that they will pair well with any number of chessboards.
The pieces are also covered by a lifetime guarantee against hairline cracks, so you can rest easy knowing that you’ll never need to buy another chess set for as long as you live.
You get a list of accessories along with your purchase, welcoming you into the elite list of House of Staunton customers. You get an individual production number, engraved plaque, and authenticity certificate along with free shipping anywhere in the world.
Like the Golden Collector Series, you’ll have to save up to get your hands on these exquisite wood chess pieces. It’s a little more affordable, but $1,400 is still a lot of money.
- English leather padded pieces
- 2 extra queens
- Lifetime warranty
- Weighted pieces
- Storage box not included
Man Ray Chess Pieces (Chess House)
The Man Ray Wooden Chess Set is an excellent pick for creative gamers with a distinct sense of style and who like modern design.
The Man Ray Chess Set has a unique and contemporary design that you won’t find in other wooden chess sets.
It may be difficult to find furniture that matches this stunning set, but it’s very much made to stand out, not fall into the background.
The king is shaped like a pyramid, drawing inspiration from the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. The queen is a cone, patterned after medieval royal headpieces.
In days of yore, bishops would function as alchemists, making all manner of potions and poultices. Because of this, the bishop is represented by a flagon.
It doesn’t stop there, each piece is carved into abstract shapes and patterns that make for a stunning set not only to play with, but as a piece of art.
Each of these pieces is handcrafted from the finest beechwood by artists in Italy and Germany.
The chessboard is similarly made of quality beech wood, with black-staining squares inlaid. The manufacturer used the same type of wood for each piece and every inch of the chessboard gives this set a sense of coherence that no other set can match.
As much as we love it, we have to admit that it can be a little confusing at times. It’s probably not the best thing to use to teach someone to play as understanding which shape indicates which unit can be confusing.
- Chess pieces are light
- Smooth chessboard texture
- Stunning design
- Storage not included
- Abstractions can be confusing
“Met With Enthusiasm” Painted Chess Set (Sydney Gruber)
This is the perfect handmade wooden Sydney Gruber chess set for you if you’ve ever looked at other wooden chess sets and thought to yourself, “Those are good, but they could use some color.”
This wood chess set includes one-of-a-kind hand-painted chess pieces by artist Sydney Gruber. Sydney’s designs bring an element of liveliness and humor that’s often lacking with wood chessboards and chess sets.
The black pieces have white and gold circles painted on them, but Sydney really showed her craftsmanship in the white pieces.
She’s turned regular white chess pieces into one-of-a-kind works of art with swirling lines and eye-catching patterns to make playing both fun and visually appealing.
The ‘white’ pieces are a technicolor dream that’s reminiscent of the psychedelic art of the 60s. Only the tops are left untouched by the artist’s brush, proudly displaying each piece type so you can still play a game easily.
The end effect is simply amazing, and it’s a must-have for any chess player or art lover.
The chessboard, like the pieces, is just as unique. It’s hand-carved from the finest exotic wood like maple and walnut, with the raised rim of the board made from living edge wood.
It forms a natural frame around the board, giving it a rustic, and quirky feel any collector would appreciate. As a set, the board and the components function well together.
If this one isn’t for you, Sydney has a range of individually detailed chess sets available for purchase on her page. She has a stock of all sorts of sets, incorporating styles like modernism, post-modernism, and cubism effortlessly in her designs.
- Comes in different colors
- Hand made
- Handmade walnut and maple chessboard
- Doesn’t include storage for pieces
Bauhaus Wooden Chess Set (Chess House)
- Exquisite workmanship for each chessmen, its padded felt on each bottom ensure no scratching on your chess board.
- Wood Type used: Ebonised(Dyed) Boxwood / Boxwood
- Contains: 32 Chess Pieces
- 6 Months Free Replacement Warranty against Manufacturing Defects Only."
The Bauhaus chess range of pieces stands out. The Bauhaus Chess Set’s pieces are carved out of maple, and one side is finished in black while the other keeps the wood-grain color.
The Bauhaus works are influenced by the movement and function of the object, rather than the usual figurine form. Each piece’s size is proportional to its value in the chess game.
A little cube sits diagonally atop a larger cube to symbolize the king. The king’s height is 2 inches.
The queen is represented by a polished sphere sitting above a slightly smaller cube. The bishop is carved into a cross shape, mimicking its diagonal movement rules.
The knight is made up of an L-shaped wooden piece sitting on top of a smaller rectangle, as knights can only move in L-shaped patterns.
Bauhaus chess pieces are solid and long-lasting, and they come with a basic yet stylish storage box with a sliding wooden cover to keep everything safe.
In any part of the house, the Bauhaus chess set would be a stunning display piece. It can also make a unique present for the people in your life who love chess, although you might need to do some explaining about which piece means what.
- Includes protective case
- Distinct chess pieces
- Chessboard not foldable
Many chess players and aficionados dream of having their own wooden chess set. Hopefully, this list of wooden chess pieces serves as a solid starting point for finding out what is the best available before making your final purchase.