Woods Used with our Chess Sets

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.