Frequently Asked Questions
How do I determine which size Chessboard will best match my House of Staunton Chess set?
The minimum square size for a set of properly proportioned Staunton Pattern Chessmen is such that the width of the base of the King should be 78% of the width of a square. In other words, you should divide the King's base diameter by 0.78 to determine the ideal square size for the Chessboard. Let's look at an example - the Reykjavik II Chessmen. The Reykjavik II has a King base diameter of 1.75", which is the norm for a 3.75" King. If you enter 1.75 / 0.78 into a calculator, the result is 2.243, which is rounded to 2.25". Hence, the minimum Chessboard square size for the Reykjavik II Chessmen would be a 2.25".
If you purchase a Chessboard that has a smaller square size than was is considered the minimum, the pieces will be crowded together on the Chessboard. This will significantly increase the likelihood of Chess pieces being knocked over during the heat of battle.
Please keep in mind that this formula will determine the minimum square size for the Chessboard. Depending on availability, you can always purchase a slightly larger size Chessboard than what is considered the minimum and it would work just as well. Using the same Reykjavik II Chessmen example, either a 2.25" or 2.375" square Chessboard would be considered ideal. The chart below details the most common King base diameters and its corresponding ideal square sizes.
King Base Diameter
Ideal Square Size
1.875" - 2.0" Squares
2.25" - 2.375" Squares
2.375" - 2.5" Squares
2.5" - 2.75" Squares
How do I take care of my new House of Staunton Chess set and/or Chessboard?
Your House of Staunton Chessmen should be lightly waxed and buffed either once or twice per year, using only a high quality paste wax with a cotton cloth or cheesecloth. We recommend Liberon's Paste Wax. Please make sure that you carefully follow the manufacturer's instructions on the paste wax carefully, as improper waxing could ruin the finish on your Chessmen. Above all else - use the wax sparingly and allow the wax to dry before buffing. You should NEVER use a liquid polish.
Why are some sets (and boards) so much more expensive?
Many items determine the cost of a chess set. Ebony is more expensive than rosewood, which is, in turn, more expensive that boxwood, etc.
The quality and detail of the Knights is another price factor. A set of finely carved knights can represent up to 50% of the total cost of a chessmen.
Then, the quality of the turnings, the finish and the uniformity also add to cost. Most Indian-made sets are relatively inexpensive. They are almost always of very poor quality. They will have burn and tear marks, burrs, poor finishes, etc. The Indian manufacturers also have no regard for U.S. and International copyright laws, and will make counterfeit copies of most anything on the market. Why buy an inferior copy of something genuine that can last many generations?.
Finally, look at the storage box. A very high quality box can have a value of several hundred dollars or more. Most Indian-made sets come in very inexpensive boxes, hence can be marketed significantly below a high quality chess set housed in a fine box.
Does the House of Staunton have replacement Chess pieces should I lose or break one?
Absolutely! The House of Staunton maintains a very large inventory of replacement Chess pieces, so spares are always available.
Because our Chess sets are handcrafted out of natural materials, there can be some variation in the grain/color/cutting of the Chess pieces, so we strongly encourage those customers interested in a replacement Chess piece to send in an original for matching purposes. This is especially important in the case of Rosewood, Golden Rosewood and Blood Rosewoods, which can vary significantly in color.
If you do not want to send back an original piece, we can not guarantee that replacement pieces will perfectly match with the rest of the Chess set. The price of replacement Chess pieces will vary, depending on the Chess set, wood selection and piece type. Please Contact Us for pricing information.
Do you repair chess pieces and boards?
The House of Staunton is happy to endorse Ron Fromkin, owner of the Japanese Repository Inc. for his expert chess restoration services. We have been using Ron for many years and have always found his work to be top quality and fairly priced.
Ron has been restoring chess and other artworks for the last 24 years. He works in ivory, horn, bone, antler, and other natural materials. He repairs chess boards, and also does lathe turning. Contact him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. For additional information see his website at www.ivoryrepair.com.
How do I place an order from the House of Staunton?
Via fax You can fax us the items you wish to order, your shipping and payment details, and your contact information (daytime telephone number and email address). We can only accept credit card orders via fax.
Via email: You can email us your order by sending us the items you wish to order, your shipping and payment details, and your contact information (daytime telephone number) to email@example.com. We recommend that you break your order up into multiple emails for security purposes.
Via mail order: You can mail us the items you wish to order, your shipping and payment details, and your contact information (daytime telephone number and email address). We accept credit card, money order and personal check payments via mail order.
We accept no responsibility for those customers who mail us cash. All payments must be made to the order of The House of Staunton, Inc. If you are paying via money order or personal check, please Contact Us to determine the shipping charges.
Our products can be ordered via our website, fax, telephone, mail order and email. Please Contact Us. for all of our contact information.
What forms of payment does The House of Staunton accept?
We accept VISA, MasterCard, Discover, American Express, PayPal (id: firstname.lastname@example.org), Money Orders (in US Dollars), Personal Checks and Money Wires (on purchases over $200.00.) Please Contact Us should you have any questions.
What is the best way to insert the cross (finial) into the King?
Generally, you twist and seat the cross. However, the "wings" of the cross can break off rather easily if you twist too hard. You can use soap or wax to lubricate the shank if it does not seat easily. If it is too loose, a small bit of paper can be used to help wedge it tight. It is better not to glue it in, because then it is very hard to fix if it breaks. And it is almost always better to replace a broken cross, rather than the entire piece..
What is the difference between Ebonized and Genuine Ebony Chess pieces?
Ebonization, the process in which Ebonized Chessmen are created,. In this process, Boxwood (the wood used to create the white pieces) chess pieces are treated with a special stain to turn them jet black in color. When done properly, brand new Ebonized Chessmen are nearly indistinguishable from Genuine Ebony Chessmen.
Ebonized Chess pieces are often referred to as faux Ebony, because it has the look and feel of Genuine Ebony at a fraction of the cost.
Over time, the Ebonizing can wear off on the sharp corners and details of the Chessmen, but it is easily restored using a black marker.
Which House of Staunton Chess sets are "triple-weighted"?
Unlike other Chess set manufacturers, The House of Staunton does not describe its Chess sets as triple weighted because this term has no meaning today.
The term was originally coined by the Drueke Company to describe how many metal slugs were inside their Chessmen. Drueke used the term triple weighted to describe Chess Sets that had 3 metal slugs. Since then, many Chess manufacturers have bastardized the term and it is now used to describe any Chess set with any type of metal weighting. .
Rather than use a meaningless marketing terms to describe our Chessmen, we tell you the exact weight of our Chessmen in ounces so you know exactly what you are getting. Please do not fall for such marketing trickery, as we have seen some Chess sets advertised as triple weighted that weighed less than 30 ounces. If the House of Staunton were to use such standards, our Weighted Plastic Collector Chessmen would be septuple (7x) weighted!
Where can I found the House of Staunton Return Policy?
The House of Staunton Return Policy can be found here.
What do I do if the item I received was damaged in transit?
The House of Staunton uses the finest packaging materials to protect its packages and adheres to the strictest packing guidelines to minimize the likelihood of your package being damaged in transit.. We understand how frustrating it can be to receive an item that is damaged.
That being said, in the unlikely event that the item that you received is damaged, please rest assured that the House of Staunton is committed to providing the finest customer service and our professional staff will work quickly to resolve the situation and get you a replacement item at absolutely no cost to you.
I'm purchasing a gift. Do you have gift wrapping or gift cards available?
While we do not have gift wrapping available, we do have full-color customizable gift cards that can be inserted into the package at no cost. Please let us know at the time of purchase and we'd be happy to help you. We have cards of all types available, including Birthday, Graduation, Hanukkah and All Occasion Gift Cards.
What is your policy regarding deposits for custom-made products?
The House of Staunton offers a wide selection of custom-made Products that are available for purchase. This includes our Signature Contemporary-line of Chessboards and our 40,000 year-old Mammoth Ivory Chessmen. Given the nature of these products, these are not items that are typically carried by the House of Staunton and all sales are handled on a "custom made" basis. At the time that an order is placed, we require a deposit of 50% of the full purchase price. We do not begin production on the custom item until your deposit has been received.
If you decide that you do not want to purchase the custom-made item, you have the option of converting your deposit into a store credit that can redeemed any other House of Staunton-brand Chess product. The credit will be in the full amount of the deposit.
We are sorry, but no cash refunds will be made for custom items
What is your policy on discounts and combining discounts?
Coupons can NOT be combined with
Any other discounts, such as other coupons and price matching
Any promotional offers, such as free gifts, discounted additional purchases and free shipping.
Any purchases made through 3rd parties, such as House of Staunton-authorized resellers.
Any other discounts - such as other coupons and price matching
Any promotions - such as free gifts or free shipping.
Any purchases made through 3rd parties, such as eBay, Amazon.com and House of Staunton resellers.
Thank you for understanding.
What is the difference between Lacquered and Polished Sets?
The lacquered Chessmen have a high gloss finish, compared to the other Chessmen:
What is the difference between the Collector Chessmen and the Imperial Collector Chessmen?
The difference between the Collector Chessmen and the Imperial Collector Chessmen are the Knights included in the set.
The Collector Chessmen feature the legendary Jaques of London Knight design, which is modeled after the noble steeds from the Greek Parthenon (Elgin Marbles) and are unsurpassed in beauty and craftsmanship.
The Imperial Collector Chessmen feature our Imperial Knight design, which features a down turned head, flowing mane and offers breathtaking level of detail.
The Knights in the image below are of our Ivory Collector Chessmen and are crafted from 40,000 year old Mammoth Ivory.
What are your policies regarding International Shipping?
Please be advised that we will only ship Internationally via trackable methods.
We WILL NOT ship via any other less expensive and untrackable means, such as US Postal Airmail or US Postal Surface/Economy. This is necessary to meet the standard credit card requirement that all sellers be able to provide PROOF OF DELIVERY on all shipments.
When shipping internationally, delays or additional fees assessed by your country's customs department are beyond our control. Our customers are strongly encouraged to research their country's importing rules and if any additional fees, such as GST, duties or VAT are applicable. These fees are not included in the shipping costs and are,regrettably, your responsibility.
If you have any questions, we encourage you to contact your local Customs Officer to determine if any such fees are applicable to your purchase. We have no access to that information and will not be able to assist you in this matter.
What is the House of Staunton Collector's Club?
The House of Staunton Collector's Club offers special savings for individuals interested in collecting House of Staunton-brand Chess Products. For a one-time fee of $50.00 USD, the individual will receive a lifetime membership to the House of Staunton Collector's Club.
Discounts on House of Staunton-brand Chess equipment. With a minimum discount of 10% off MSRP, the savings can equal or exceed the membership fee on your first purchase!
Significant discounts on close-out House of Staunton-brand Chess Equipment.
Early notice on sets about to be retired.
Early notice on sets about to be introduced, including ourlimited-edition chessmen we introduce every year.
I need to have a package shipped the same day that I order it. Is that possible?
If you are in a hurry and need your package to be shipped the same day that you order it, add rush processing to your order. Orders placed before 12 PM (US Central time) with rush shipping will ship out the same day.
This option is for customers who want special delivery service, or just want regular shipping - but want the order shipped out ASAP (and do not want to pay for a shipping option with higher rates). To expedite delivery of your order, add RUSH PROCESSING to your order now. Rush orders received by 12:00 pm (US Central Time) on a business day will ship same day. Otherwise they will ship on the following business day.
Please note that all bespoke and custom-made items are shipped directly from the manufacturer or crafted or demand, and same day shipping is not available.
What is the warranty on House of Staunton-brand Chess sets and Chess boards?
From the date the item is purchased, the House of Staunton will warranty that its branded products will be free of manufacturing defects for a period of one year and will replace any items that exhibit manufacturing defects at absolutely no charge to the customer.
Examples of defects that ARE COVERED under this warranty:
If Hairline cracks develop in the base of Wooden Chessmen.
If the metal weight inside become loose and moves around.
Examples of defects that ARE NOT COVERED under this warranty:
Any physical defects that were caused by improper use of the product, such as being dropped on the ground, being chewed by the dog, pieces that are improperly stored.
Any pieces that become lost.
Any pieces that are damaged due to improper waxing.
The above examples do not represent every possible defect; all warranty claims are handled on a case-by-case basis.
This warranty only applies to customers who have purchased a brand new House of Staunton brand chess board or chess set directly from the House of Staunton, or one of our authorized retailers.
Items purchased from non-authoirzed retailers, or in used condition through venues such as eBay or Craigslist are considered to be sold in AS-IS condition, and is not eligible for warranty coverage.
Please contact us for more information, or if you have purchased a new House of Staunton brand product through us or an authorized reseller and believe it to be damaged or defective.
Does the House of Staunton allow Payment Plans / Lay Away on Purchases?
Absolutely! The House of Staunton offers a very flexible payment program (commonly referred to as Lay Away) that allows our customers to make payments on purchases over time.
This program is ideal for customers interested in a limited edition Chess set but lacks the financial resources to complete the purchase immediately. Once we receive the initial payment (10% of the purchase price / Minimum $50.00), that Chess set will be removed from our inventory and a Production Number (if applicable) is generated.
Once the initial payment has been received, we strongly recommend our customers leave a credit card on file with us and a specific amount will be withdrawn each month. For example, a $699 Ebony Collector would require a $70.00 and 9 monthly payments of $70.00 USD to be paid in full. Once the final payment is received, the Chess set will ship. There are no credit checks or personal information required to participate.
We do require that a payment be made each month and that the purchase be completed within one calendar year. That being said, multiple payments each month are fine and you can pay it off as soon as you want.
Please Contact Us and one of our sales representatives will be happy to discuss with you our Payment Plan program
Does the House of Staunton sell the Brass Original Production Plaques separately?
Absolutely! If you purchased a House of Staunton-brand Signature Series Chess set before we introduced the Brass Plaques (July 2008), you can purchase a brass plaque separately. Please contact us for more information.
My purchase is a gift that is being delivered directly to the recipient. Can I include a personalized card in the package so they know who it is from?
Absolutely! The House of Staunton would be happy to include a personalized card in the package for FREE. We include an actual greeting card, complete with sealed envelope!
During the checkout process, you will have the opportunity to enter the personalized message that you want to include on the card. It is located at the bottom of the information entry screen, where you enter your mailing and billing address.
Please be as specific as you can with the message. If the card is for a particular reason, such as Birthday, Graduation, Wedding or Christmas/Hannukah, please specify that and we'll include your message on an appropriate card.
What kind of oil or wax can be used to maintain the wooden chessmen in top condition?
NEVER use an oil on wooden chessmen. It will darken the finish and can cause the finish to become "gummy."
We recommend wiping the chessmen after each use with cloth from an old T-Shirt. Pieces should only be waxed about once a year or less with a high quality paste wax, such as MinWax or Lebrons (Clear color). The finish must be applied very sparingly, and only applied to the areas which are actually handled, never the detailed areas such as the mane, eyes and mouths of the Knights, for example.
Wax should be removed with a piece of a T-Shirt (This same piece of cloth should be kept to wipe off the chessmen after each use). A pointed tooth pick can be used to remove wax residue from the detailed areas if needed.
You can tell if the wax is ready for removal if it offers some resistance to the motion of the cloth. The wax must be removed between 15 and 30 minutes after applying. Never let the wax sit for more than 30 minutes or you will not be able to remove it without destroying the finish.