I had the chance to talk to a traditional English woodworker today. He makes fine chess sets from lovely cuts of luxury hardwoods. I quizzed him about the types of wood used to build chess sets and found out some interesting facts. Lets take rosewood as an example. A quick glance at some chess retailers tells me that you can buy an imported rosewood chess board for as little as £80. Yet I showed an 18 inch solid rosewood board to the English wood worker who priced up the raw wood materials at around £75! and that’s before he has even picked up his saw!
There seems to be a mighty casm between the price of these things in the UK against imported wooden products from countries like India. He went on the say that should we wish to commission him to make an identical chess board to the one retailing for £80 he would charge us a trade price of £250!
It does seem a little crazy but it would seem the cheaper imports are what is needed if luxury solid wooden chess products are to be brought to the mass market and made affordable to the everyday man in the street. It’s fair to assume that as stocks of wood like rosewood and ebony run dry and deforestation restrictions come into force the price and value of these woods will increase.
Will the day come when the scrap value of your large luxury chess board be worth more than you paid for the board? Either way, with the ecological problems the world now faces it’s clear that generations in the not too distant future wont be able to get hold of these sorts of products at a consumer price, so enjoy it while you still can!