Most of the chess sets that we sell are made of wood. To help you better understand the different woods, we've described each of the woods used in our sets below.

Sheesham (Golden Rosewood)

Sheesham, also called golden rosewood, is a popular wood for making chess sets. The wood has a warm, medium brown hue and is of a medium density that develops a lovely grain pattern when it is waxed or polished. Sheesham is also a very stable wood and widely available, so it doesn't add a lot to the cost of the chess set.


With its yellow, red and purple hues, walnut is an ideal wood to use for borders and alternating squares on chess boards. This popular wood is easily recognized for its distinctive tight grain pattern. Walnut is a wood of medium density and very durable for chess boards. Although there are more than a dozen varieties of walnut, American walnut is the most commonly used for chess boards.


One of the most commonly-used, light-colored woods for chess pieces and boards is boxwood. This dense wood ages well and is available in a variety of hues at a variety of price points.

Ebonised Boxwood 

Ebonized boxwood is a variation of boxwood that has been stained black. This is done because boxwood is appreciably less expensive than true ebony wood. Ebony boxwood is used to make alternating, dark squares on the board as well as dark black chess pieces.


One of the world's most prized woods, ebony is a fine, dark wood that when treated takes on a completely black color. Ebony is an extremely durable, hardwood and its dark hue makes it a natural for chess boards and pieces.


Less well-known than ebony, wenge is another dark wood, with a slightly purple hue. This wood is used almost exclusively in chess boards and makes a more affordable alternative to natural ebony. Wenge has an unusual, very tight grain pattern that has an almost geometric look, and its color works well with rosewood and sandalwood pieces.


Another luxury wood, rosewood is popular with high-end makers of musical instruments and is often used to make fingerboards on guitars. This rich, dark wood has a slightly red tint to it and is a popular choice for medium to high-end chess sets.

Bud Rosewood

Bud Rosewood -(sandalwood)- is another high-end wood that comes from the base of the rosewood tree. Because it is rarer, this wood is usually found only in high-end chess sets. 

Welcome to the Official Staunton Website
The leading brand in quality hand carved chess sets

Stay in touch

Official Staunton™ is the leading brand in quality hand carved chess sets

Latest posts

  • How do you clean a chess set?

    All our products are finished and polished, waxed or waxed before they reach you. They will need some maintenance over time to look as beautiful as they did when you first received them. Different products need different cleaning and preservation techniques. Here are... Read more →

  • The Best Classic Board Games

    For a second there, it appeared as though modern society had killed off humble board games. After all, how could Monopoly or Cluedo compare scrolling on Facebook, playing with your friends in an online game of Fortnite, or binge-watching an... Read more →

  • Bobby Fischer- The Troubled Chess Genius

    In 1972, the U.S. found an unlikely weapon in its Cold War battle against Soviet Russia: a teen chess prodigy by the name of Bobby Fischer. Though Mr. Fischer would be celebrated for many years to come, as the world's... Read more →