Creating A Chess Set From A Vintage Nega-File Case

“Negafile Systems™ was founded in Easton PA in 1939 by an Engineer and amateur photographer enthusiast looking to design a functional preservation and filing system for photographic negatives and prints. Thus, the Negafile System™ was created – beautiful, hand-made wooden containers, the first of which were designed to store 2×2 slides and 120mm film. The strength and durability of this product is derived from the corner-lock construction, this and the attractive acid free mahogany hardwood gives the files their furniture quality look and archival storage capabilities.” (From

I picked up one of these lovely vintage handmade boxes awhile ago with the hope of creating a repurposed wood inlaid piece.

I kept the original hardware as is and after some initial clean up, I added an inlaid top, using our signature wood inlay.

I have collected several chess pieces and realized this case would serve as a beautiful motif for a chess set.

Using elm and walnut as my dark and light colored woods, I created a chess board on the inside of the lid.

I kept the original cardboard dividers from the case (with some additional ones cut from a couple of Lyndaker Inlay postcards) and chose a set of glass chess pieces from my stock which fit perfectly inside the former photo negative spaces.

I am thrilled with how the chess set turned out and am it will make a nice addition to a chess lover’s home. This lovely item and others can be purchased at

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