Koncrete Creations

02.26.10 During an off-hand chess game a friend suggested to Ryan Deane, owner of Koncrete Creations based in Portland, that he might try making a concrete chessboard. Ryan took the idea and ran with it. He now offers a line of beautiful stock and custom-made concrete chessboards manufactured right here in Maine. Some of Ryan's work is featured this month at The Constellation Gallery in Portland. We caught up with Ryan for this interview.

This beautiful chessboard and table combination is one of Ryan Deane's works of art on display this month at The Constellation Gallery, 511 Congress Street in Portland.

Ryan has graciously offered a special discount to ChessMaine.net readers: buy any five chessboards and get one free. For more information or to contact Ryan please visit: Koncrete Creations

ChessMaine: Can you tell us about yourself and your company? How it began and how you got the idea to start manufacturing chessboards from concrete?

Ryan Deane: I formed Koncrete Creations in 2005, starting in Florida. I'm originally from New Hampshire. I moved to Portland, Maine in the spring of 2007 after having lived in Florida for ten years. While in Florida, I worked doing all facets of home renovations, with a strong focus on custom tile work and bathrooms. After being approached by a loyal customer about the idea of trying concrete for his countertops, I fell in love with the material because of its beauty and the limitless design possibilities it offered. When I'm not at the shop hands deep in concrete, I enjoy spending time with my family, two dogs and when weather permits, skydiving.

Koncrete Creations specializes in all things concrete including concrete countertops, vanities, fireplace surrounds and mantels, furniture and other centerpieces. A couple years back, while playing a game of chess with a friend, he mentioned I should make a concrete board. I did just that, and we are now excited to be offering a line of custom concrete chessboards.

CM: Do you keep an inventory of boards or are they all custom made?

RD: Since we began making and offering the boards, the interest has been very positive. Due to strong feedback we have begun making stock boards available for sale in either black/white or green/white color combinations. We also make custom boards.

CM: What types of colors, patterns and square sizes are available?

RD: One of the great things about concrete is that it allows for unlimited design choices related to sizes, color combinations and patterns. Often we will incorporate embeded marble or stone squares of one color to contrast the base concrete color of the board to create the alternating squares effect. Once we finish processing the board, it's impossible to tell that it's not one continuous piece.

CM: Are you a chess player yourself?

RD: I do play as well. I have several friends, in addition to my girlfriend's eleven-year-old son (boy prodigy) who I enjoy playing with. I play enough to know that I have a lot to learn about this wonderful game.

CM: Can you give us an idea of pricing for your concrete chessboards?

RD: The pricing of the boards vary, depending on size, personalized options, whether it's a stand-alone board or board/table combination, etc. Boards start from $119 up to $1,400 for an outdoor board/table set.

CM: What thicknesses are typical and what is the weight of a board with 2 1/4 inch squares?

RD: Boards can be made at any thickness. Generally, unless otherwise specified, the boards are 1" thick and weigh approximately 16 lbs (comparable to a similar sized piece of granite). Although boards can made as thin as 1/2 thick, the extra 1/2 inch allows for an attractive "round-over edge" giving the illusion that the board is off the surface it's sitting on.

CM: Are your boards available for shipping anywhere in the U.S/World?

RD: Yes, we can ship nationally and internationally.

CM: Do you have a showroom where folks can get a look at the boards?

RD: Unfortunately, we do not have a showroom at this time. In order to keep overhead costs and end product costs down, a showroom hasn't been a luxury we've been able to open at this point. We have talked and are interested in pursuing partnerships with retail organizations to be able to showcase our products to the public.

CM: Have you considered manufacturing the pieces from concrete?

RD: We are actively looking into the in's and outs of manufacturing chess pieces made out of concrete. Because every material has its strengths and weaknesses (concrete being its tensile strength, we need to ensure that once made, the pieces will be able to withstand years of use with the realities of something handled and sometimes dropped.

CM: Best of luck with this pursuit and thanks for the interview!

RD: Thanks again.


This table is made with reclaimed Hemlock from a 100-year-old barn.


A stunning piece of art!


This board is 36" x 36", uses gray concrete with 4" tumbled marble squares and has what is called "split face granite" edging.


This 17" x 17" light blue design with tumbled marble squares makes for a very practical, playable board.


A medium gray board with glass tiles worthy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art!


Each board has its own unique look and feel.


The maestro: Ryan W. Dean


Comments

I’m in Belfast - are you local that I could come in an select a table? Thanks.

It all looks great. That's a good item you could have in the back yard.

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