How To Make Your Own DIY Chess Set

DIY Chess Set With Fasteners

DIY Chess Set Fasteners
DIY Fastener Chess Set Using Nuts, Bolts, and Washers

Our team at Albany County Fasteners likes to have fun at work. To that end, we took it upon ourselves to build a DIY chess set out of the nuts, bolts and screws in our warehouse. We decided on two sets: One “Silver” set of Zinc, Nickel and Stainless and one “Gold” set of Brass and Silicon Bronze. Follow the steps below to build your own DIY Chess Set that will last a lifetime.

Step 1: Select Your Diameter. We used 3/8″ nuts, bolts and washers for this project; a comfortable size in your hand and fits nicely on a board made with squares 1″- 2″.


Step 2: Get your nuts, bolts and washers together. We went “shopping” in our warehouse, you can shop our online store and we’ll do all the hard work for you.


Step 3: Screw together the pieces using our handy DIY Chess Set Guide


The Pawn

DIY Chess Piece - Pawn

This piece is very limited in movement and is normally the first piece sacrificed. Shiny cap nuts resemble the helmets of our soldier pawns, ready to sacrifice their lives for their King and Queen.

Pawn – Zinc and Nickel Plated Steel

Pawn – Grade 8 Zinc and Brass

*Make Eight of Each Pawn


The Rook

DIY Chess Piece Rook

The Rook can move forward, backwards, left or right as many spaces as you want as long as no piece is in its way. Castle nuts are appropriate for the rook, as they resemble the tops of medieval castles.

Rook – Zinc and Stainless Steel

Rook – Silicon Bronze and Brass

*Make 2 of Each Rook

The Knight

DIY Chess Piece Knight

The Knight is much like the Rook except that he can move diagonally in any direction as long as no piece blocks his path. Our nights are constructed with nylon lock nuts, ensuring a strong connection for this noble fighter.

Knight – Zinc

Knight – Silicon Bronze and Brass

*Make Two of Each Knight

The Bishop

DIY Chess Piece Bishop

The Bishop can move in three spaces as long as it results in an L Shape. Coupling nuts, t-nuts and jam nuts give our bishops a sleek, elongated silhouette.

Bishop – Zinc

Bishop – Silicon Bronze and Brass

*Make Two of Each Bishop

The Queen

DIY Chess Pieces - Queen

Considered to be the strongest piece in the game the queen can move as far as she wants in a straight line in whatever direction she chooses. We crowned our queens with a keps-k lock nut and a knurled head thumb nut.

Queen – Zinc and Stainless Steel

Queen – Silicon Bronze and Brass


*Make One of Each Queen

The King

DIY Chess Pieces - King

The king is the piece that must be protected at all costs. When the king no longer has and moves left to make it is called checkmate meaning the game is over. He can move one space in any direction. We also crowned our queens with a keps-k lock nut and a knurled head thumb nut, however the wing nut of the king faces up, demonstrating his strength and position.

King – Zinc

King – Silicon Bronze and Brass

*Make One of Each King

Cost and Tips

Due to the high cost of silicon bronze and brass fasteners, the cost to create a complete Fastener DIY Chess Set with both “silver” and “gold” nuts, bolts and washers is $76.01. We wanted to make a set that anyone can make themselves, and for under $100, this chess set can withstand the test of time, while being sturdy and fun.  It’s a conversation starter and a centerpiece, a great DIY project to keep or to give as a gift.

Tip #1:  If the cost is too steep, simply double up on the zinc, stainless steel and nickel plated set and the cost will drop to less than half at $33.42. Both sets can then be painted (with the correct paint) to achieve an even more custom look.

Tip #2: If the pieces feel a little loose and you want to make sure none of the pieces come apart, we recommend using this Threadlocker Solution to secure the pieces in place permanently.

Tip #3: Have fun with this project! Play with the pieces and change them up if you are feeling creative, there is no wrong way to make this set.

Visit our blog often to read more about our cool creations and fastener fun!

DIY Chess Set - Zinc, Stainless Steel and NickelDIY Chess Set Brass and Silicon Bronze

DIY Chess Set - Fasteners

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How To Make Your Own Pallet Key Holder

Making a Key Holder With Pallet Wood and Screws

Everyone has keys and our team at Albany County Fasteners is no different. We set out to create a place to hang our keys and put our mail. After reviewing many of the different styles available, we decided on a rustic wall key holder with a built in mail slot. Then we thought how can we make this simple and add our own spin to it.

The Tools

The Supplies

Step One: Getting the Wood and CuttingScrap Wood

After our last project, we decided to go ahead and remove wood from pallets so we had a supply to work with next time. So we went to our wood pile and chose 7 pieces of pallet wood at a minimum of 1 ft lengths.

We cut those boards into the following:

Two 3-1/2″ x 1 ft boards

One 3″ x 1 ft board

Two 3-1/2″ x 10″ boards

One 2″ x 10″ board

Two 2″ x 2-3/4″ Rectangles

Step Two: Basic Assembly

Now that we have all of our wood cut, we took the two 3-1/2″ x 1 ft boards and the 3″ x 1 ft board and placed them next to each other.

We then too one of the 3-1/2″ x 10″ boards and placed it across the top. This board will serve as a decorative piece for later. We can also use it to hide any uneven cuts in the wood with it.

Backing                                             Backing with Decorative top board

Now we can flip this back over and place a 1-1/4″ long #6 Phillips Flat Head Wood Screw into each board to hold them to the 10″ board.Front Mail Catch

We also need to create the insert for the mail. Take the other 3-1/2″ x 10″ board and line it up on the edge of the 2″ x 10″ board. You are going to want to pre-drill holes into this as the wood is prone to splitting especially in such a tight area. We used a 3/16″ brad point drill bit for wood for this process. Then we installed two 1-1/4″ #6 Stainless Steel Slotted Oval Head Wood Screws into the holes.

Then we lined up the two 2″ x 2-3/4″ Rectangles on the two boards and repeated the drilling and screwing process further up. We now have the two pieces of our key rack ready to be assembled.

Assembly of these two parts is quite simple. After lining up the corners, we drilled 5 holes along the edge of the mail slot. Making a U shape to hold the slot to the backing.

Key Ring Holder Step 2

Step Three: Key Ring Holders

Key Holders for key Rings out of fasteners

Now that we have our key holder together, we need something to hang our keys from. Using Screws all with different heads is a cheap and fun way to make easily identifiable key hooks. So we had everyone in the office pick a head and drive style, found them all in 1-1/4″ #12 Stainless Steel, and pre-drilled seven holes into the lower board using a 1/8″ bit.*

*Pro-Tip: To ensure you don’t drill too far into the wood, use blue painters tape on the drill bit to identify a stopping point.



Step 4: Adding Some Character

What key rack is complete without an easily identifiable saying? No key rack in our opinion. Thus we created a template on paper for and attached it to our top board using blue tape. We then drilled semi-equidistant holes through the paper and into the wood using the 3/16″ drive.

After removing our template, we took the 3/4″ #6 Stainless Steel wood screws and drove them into the pre-drilled holes.

Drilling Holes in Key Holder Stencil                                               Driving Screws into Key Rack

Final Step: Hanging (your keys)

We are still deciding on the best place to hang this for us but in the mean time, we couldn’t resist hanging our keys on it to show you the finished product. We consider this build to be simple and it took us about 3 hours from start to finish. Leave and questions or comments below. We look forward to hearing about your exciting pallet key holder ideas!


Finished Pallet Key Holder

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How to Build a Threaded Rod Pallet Shelf

Building A Pallet Shelf Using Threaded RodCompleted Threaded Rod Pallet Shelf - Empty

Pallet shelving is incredibly popular for its rustic look and simple functionality. We’ve decided our office could use a display shelf and we had excess pallets lying around. Then we asked ourselves whats the point in building something if we can’t show it off and teach you how to make them for yourselves. (come back to this, needs a rewrite Mention Threaded Rod Pallet Shelf)

The Tools

The Supplies

Easily Remove Pallet BoardsStep One: Finding the Wood

After we put on our safety glasses and gloves, our first step when building this shelf was to locate pallets with wood of a similar size. We decided on 3 inch wide boards for the shelving. Once we identified the 18 pieces we wanted for our 2 foot lengths (shelves) we began removing them. Ten minutes and a broken hammer handle later, we decided we needed a better way to remove the boards. Using two pieces we were able to remove in this time, we used them to create better leverage and a pry bar. Moving back and forth across the board the nails easily came out and removing our boards became simple.

*Make sure to bring extra pallets if you are collecting them. Some boards are brittle and will snap or crack during this process.

After removing those 18 boards we then found 9 more boards that were slightly thicker (4 inches wide) for the supports. Using the same prying method we were able to remove them with ease. Since these boards were over two feet in length, we only needed 9 which we could then cut into 18 10-1/4″ support beams.

Step Two: Removing the Nails

This step was the most time-consuming by far. We thought about just hammering the nails flat against Remove Nails from pallets easilythe base but decided it wasn’t particularly safe and so we began bending them straight and removing them all with a hammer. The time this takes will vary. We had some boards only attached by 3 screws where others had 9 or more.

Pro Tips:

  1. Using the gaps inside a pallet to hammer the nails down through makes removing nails easy.
  2. If the length you want to use is shorter than the board, leave the screws in the end you will be cutting off and not using.

Step Three: Measure, Mark and CutMeasure and Mark wood for cutting

Once the wood is ready, take a moment and look at each piece. Check for splits in the wood and other chipping or excessive warping. This wood can still be used if the other side is clean. At this point sort your wood by width. You should have two stacks: one with 18 3″ wide pieces and one with 9 4″ wide pieces.

Take the first 3″ wide piece and measure two feet long. Mark this length and cut it with a chop saw. Measure again to ensure the length is correct at two feet. Then use this piece of wood to make the remaining 17 pieces. Repeat this process for the 4″ wide boards but with 10-1/4″ lengths.

*To save time when collecting the wood, we only gathered 9 pieces. Use the stencil to mark multiple cuts on the 4″ wood to make multiple lengths out of one board

Step Four: Assemble the ShelvesA Pallet Shelf Halfway built

Now that all of our wood is cut to length its time to begin assembling our shelves. Lay out three pieces of the 4″ wood and then three of the 3″ boards on top of it. It’s important to make sure you even out the spacing of the 4″ boards or it will look uneven when all of the shelves are stacked. Make sure your screws are screwed in off center. This way when you go to drill the holes for the threaded rod they will not be in your way. Starting with the outside boards, drill a single wood screw into each cross-section to hold the pieces together. Do the middle piece last as it will be easy to center once the edges are in place. Make 6 shelves by repeating this process

Pro Tips:

  1. If your boards are uneven, make sure you choose a side to be front and make that side as even as possible. No one will see the back and if it’s a little un-even that’s OK.
  2. We used blue tape before drilling into the wood to help prevent splitting and cracking around the screws.
  3. Do not over-tighten the screws, the ends will be held together with nuts. The over-tightening can cause splits in the wood.

Step Five: Drilling the holesDrilling Holes in Pallet Shelves

The next step was to measure the corner of the first shelf board, find the center and drill a hole with a 1/2″ spade bit. Do this for all four corners. We recommend drilling down into another piece of wood to avoid damaging the drill tip if you drill too far.

Once all four holes are drilled, make sure you have all 6 shelves with the front identified. Line up 1 or two of those shelves by the front making sure everything is flush, then take the first shelve (the one you already drilled through) and use it as a guide to drill even holes all the way down through your shelves. Once through, switch our the shelves with 1 to two more and continue until all six shelves have holes.

*Once completed line up all six and hold them up in the air. You should be able to see all the way through the hole.

Step Six: Putting it all together

Take four flange bolts and screw them onto the end of the threaded rod. Have two flipped upside down. These flanges will act as the feet and the first shelf will sit on the other two. Then begin Flange Nuts as feet for pallet shelfscrewing on four more in the same fashion from the top. One to push down against the first shelf and one to support the next shelf. Make sure you measure the gaps to know where to stop. Repeat this process until all of the shelves are sitting on four flange nuts and have four pressed down against the shelves as well.

Pro Tips:

  1. Our fastener Expert told us using coupling nuts and washers may be easier to install than using flange nuts.
  2. Don’t worry if the fixture seems unsteady. Once we tighten down the flange bolts it will be very strong
  3. The measuring at this stage is a loose indicator, we will fix that in the next step

Step Seven: Make the Shelves Equidistantmeasuring shelf height

Take a tape measure and from the bottom shelf, measure up to the next shelf. Decide on what distance you want for the shelves(we chose 13 inches). Measure each corner and adjust the bottom flange bolts as necessary until all shelves are even. Then take a level, place it on the bottom shelf and adjust the feet to even out the bottom shelf. From here you can work your way up the shelves and adjust the lower flange bolts accordingly to make each shelf level.

Step Eight: Tighten Up

At this point your threaded rod pallet shelf should still be a little wobbly. Take the 3/4″ wrench and tighten the top flange bolts down onto the shelves. Make these bolts very tight and then also tighten the bottom. Your shelf should stiffen up significantly at this point. From here on out there is only one more step.

Final Step: Decorate Your New Threaded Rod Pallet Shelf and LOVE IT!

Now that you have your completed and amazing looking shelf, its time to use it! We recommend keeping heavy weight on the bottom and lighter weight on top. Check out our decorations and tell us all about how your project turned out below!

Completed and Decorated Threaded Rod Pallet Shelf

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