How do you store a wooden chess board? (Made simple!)

The wooden chess board is the most popular type of board that almost every chess player owns which makes it universal. Storing such a material requires special care that would enable it to last for a significant amount of time.

That will be the goal of this article, to provide a resource that tells everything about storing a wooden chessboard. I own a wooden chessboard myself, so I am pretty qualified to express my concerns on this.

A wooden chessboard should not be stored in places of high temperature due to potential discoloration. Avoid high humidity since the wood will dampen. Don’t store it in untouched places where the dust can accumulate and allot decent space to avoid scratches.

This is much more vulnerable to conditions of the environment than you might think, so the tips in here will be important. Take note that other types of boards may have different applicability and some issues here may not be relevant to that.

Should a wooden chessboard be stored in places of high temperature?

A wooden chessboard should not be stored in places where it is easily exposed to sunlight or artificial light. High temperatures can easily discolor the board’s surface with its presence.

The coloring of the board can easily dissolve with constant exposure to high temperatures. If you store the board near a window or something then it might cause some discoloration due to the direct sunlight.

Getting heated one afternoon after another should be fine, but it should not be a place for storing where there is constant exposure. The colors will typically fade after months of constant heating from the sunlight.

It will weaken the board too by making it dryer and much weaker to physical contact. Finding a place where it’s not too hot should not be difficult unless you’re living in a tropical country.

Instead, I recommend finding a dry place that is not hot, which is actually easier to do than finding a place that is hot. The only other thing you would have an extra concern is with artificial light.

I know this may sound ridiculous but avoid direct contact with artificial lights like bulbs in a living room or something. Some strong bulbs generate enough heat to affect the weak finish on a wooden chessboard.

Plus it is likely that the board is going to be used for playing than decoration, so there’s no point getting it on the open. If it is on for display then I guess it’s fine, but you should still be careful with the sunlight and the light bulbs (because it might discolor the tiles)

Do you need significant space when storing a wooden chessboard?

A decent amount of space should be allotted for a chessboard since a cramped or tight position is likely to cause scratches on its surface.

It’s easy to be tempted to store the chessboard on an extra space between a chair or whatnot. However these kinds of places are the hazard of accidental physical contact.

You should find a good place where there is enough space that the board will not get any sort of scratches. A cramped position will inevitably grind the soft outer tiles and cause scratches.

If there is more than one chessboard you’re storing it’s good practice to put a cloth between them. The cloth will act as a shield that would mediate any unnecessary contact between the two boards (especially if the space is tight).

Consequently, you should keep it away from any unintentional physical contact from around your house. You might accidentally kick it while walking or trip the end of your toe from the hidden space that is on the way.

You should also store the board horizontally and not vertically since it would be less likely to tip over. If it is vertical it might get turned and cause minor issues like spilling the pieces over.

Of course, you can still store it vertically whatever you may prefer, but I have found that it is much unstable when it is in vertical.

Can you hide the chessboard in dark rarely reached places?

One should not hide a chessboard in hidden rarely reached places since the dust and particles can accumulate on the board. Adding to this, bugs and critters might make the board it’s home.

When a chessboard is in a hard to reach area I am telling you the dust will accumulate faster. I did this once and I pulled out a board full of dirt with spinning spider webs or something.

After all, these are the places where there is a lot of dust in the first place (since it is rarely cleaned) and it will transfer into the board. And another issue you have in store is the pest, the critters that can get into the thing.

Critters around your house like to play with anything that is in the dark, especially the bugs that love wood. They will consume the wooden board from the inside, I actually have found the one when I have hidden the board under my bed:

This guy and its companions just munched on the strength of the board making it dry and weak. I’ve encountered this issue a lot in the past and I don’t want to experience it again, so just store it in a visible easy to reach place (since bugs rarely go there).

Can a wooden chessboard be stored in places of high humidity?

A wooden chessboard should not be stored in humid/moist places since it will dampen/soften the materials within the board. 

Just like a high temperature, wet environments (humid) are just as bad. The moist will absolutely hit the lifespan of the wood materials in the chessboard.

When I say humid I’m talking about air-conditioned ones or just naturally cold rooms. A moist chessboard is much likely to taper off at a much faster rate than the one that is kept in a dry place.

The insides will be weakened due to the dampening of the board’s materials, which is something you don’t want. There might come a point in time where a pinch or a weak kick can easily peel the wood off.

Again, I just recommend finding a dry place that is not too high in temperature (discoloration) but is also not too low (humidity). You should find the right balance which is easier than you think, in order to preserve the lifespan of the board.

Is there any additional maintenance for storing a wooden chessboard?

A chessboard should be regularly cleaned for the accumulated particles to be promptly removed before causing any marks. Some can even use a board cover to completely avoid dust and oils from sticking to the surface.

Some wooden chess boards have seals where their surfaces are protected from damage. With this extra protection, then it might be possible to even store the board even in high or cold temperatures.

However, you don’t want to be crazy and just put the board in the sunlight like you don’t care. The seal is just an extra asset that would protect the item from environmental conditions (you could buy it separately as well).

You need to be twice as vigilant if the wooden chessboard is not sealed since well, it is much more vulnerable. If the chessboard is for display or something then it might become necessary, but if it is replaceable then the seal may not be needed.

Just for additional resource since you are learning how to store the chessboard then it’s likely that you want to clean it as well. You can go to this article (will open in a new tab) to get a guide on that.

Getting back to it, I note that you should never ever leave the chessboard open when it is not in use. I know most people already know this but I just want to throw this one out there.

Even if the pieces are on outside containers, an open chessboard has just more surface area to receive scratches and physical damage. An open chessboard will be mangled in some way if you accidentally kick it strongly (when it’s open).

If it is in a high enough place where no one can reach it might be ok, but take note that it will be more exposed to heat (bulb) that way.

But when it comes down to it you don’t need a specialized place to put a chessboard but should be something good enough to avoid issues.

It is the same as storing other coveted materials, you don’t want it in very tight spaces and in contact with extreme temperatures. If you have taken note of everything that I’ve said then you should be fine with the board long-term.

Do you now know how to store a wooden chessboard?

Storing a chessboard can really sound simple but is actually a consecutive task that requires some experience. My wooden chessboard is currently in a bad condition (past mistake) but I managed to make it functional even now.

These tips will be more important if the board is made for decoration (since it is more expensive and unreplaceable). But should definitely apply to the regular run-of-the-mill boards that we just want to take care of.

I have no idea if I’ve missed something, but you can bet I have poured all my knowledge into this. That is all, sleep well and play chess.

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