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Help with puzzles please

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  • Help with puzzles please


    I'm new to scroll sawing, bought a used Dewalt mostly to make toys etc for my kids. I have 2 questions.

    1, When maaking puzzles w/ photographs is there a fininsh put on the photo? What kind and how is it applied?

    2, Any suggestions on sources. cool puzzles for kids would be great. I really liked the wizard in the recent mag.

    Also any tips on toys or puzzles will be appriciated and put to good use.



  • #2
    Hi Rich......

    I'm kind of notorious on this board for my freehand jigsaw puzzles and I'd welcome the opporunity to assist you in any way I can. You can see some of my puzzles at:

    To answer your specific questions, I've cut many puzzles from photographs and don't use any kind of finish on them. On all other pictures (mostly taken from calendars) I spray one heavy coat of any acrylic high-gloss glaze spray.

    Questions? Reply to this forum or e-mail me directly at:

    [email protected]

    Good luck....and have phun.....Carter


    • #3
      Very nice work, Carter. What wood do you use and how do you apply the photos so they don't come apart during use?


      Craftsman 16" VS, Puros Indios and Sam Adams!
      Scrollin' since Jun/2006

      My Gallery (reciprocal links welcomed)


      • #4
        Depending on how old your kids are, check out some of the books by Judy Peterson and her hubby (his name escapes me right now -- maybe Dave?)
        I think her thick puzzles are really terrific, and they have lots of patterns in at least 3 books.
        And welcome to our family - er -- group.


        • #5
          Hey, Rich, welcome to the board.

          Regular art posters and prints, and calendars, usually are very nice for puzzles. Magazine pictures are a bit thin. They would cut OK but not look or feel very good.

          Good luck!



          • #6

            It seems to me that there are really three distinct kinds of "puzzles" made with a scroll saw. First, there are traditional "jigsaw puzzles" which I do. Then there are thicker childrens puzzles of animals, etc. And last, there are 3-D puzzles that are manipulative or come apart/are assembled in puzzling ways.

            Regarding regular jigsaw puzzles, I use 1/4" plywood, usually poplar but also oak, cherry and cedar, which I obtain from Wildwood Designs in Wisconsin. I sometimes use Baltic Birch when I want the puzzle to be especially sturdy.

            I use Flying Dutchman 2/0 Superior Puzzle blades from Mike's Workshop. Some prefer other brands, but they are all the narrow kerf needed to make the tight turns required. Blades last about 50 pieces with the Baltic Birch and at least three times that with other woods.

            The pictures or photos are glued to the wood with Aileen's Tacky Glue, spread thin and even with a paint scraper. Carpenters' yellow glue can be used almost as well, but sprays haven't worked well for me. As I've mentioned, I spray the pictures (except photos) with a glossy protective coating.

            I don't use a pattern! and I see no reason why anyone would want to. I use the images within the pictures as guides for my puzzle pieces, cutting one at a time and making sure I put in locks to adjoining pieces. I turn out 3 to 4 full-size (300-400 pieces) per month plus all our Christmas cards each year are puzzles.

            Good luck, keep the questions coming....and have phun. Remember, in cutting puzzle pieces, the mistakes you feel guilty about are seldom noticeable to anyone else!



            • #7
              sawdustus of hiawatha


              I also do a lot of puzzles, and when I want to put a picture or label printed on my inkjet, I adhere them with a product called MOD PODGE. I spread it on the back of the picture with a foam brush and then put the picture or label onto the wood, smooth it out and let it dry. Takes about a half hour or so. The stuff cleans up with water when wet but is highly resistant to removal when dry. After it dries, you can coat the top of the picture or label with more MOD PODGE following the instruction of the bottle. It is really good stuff for puzzles. I then freehand cut the puzzle pattern. MOD PODGE can be found in craft stores in the U.S. I have also sprayed varnish on the pictures after cutting them out sometimes after using MOD PODGE as a top coat and sometimes without it. Since it is water soluble when wet, don't coat to top side of an inkjet picture, photo or label with it since it will pick up the ink and blur it. I hope this helps.
              A day without sawdust is a day without sunshine.

              delta 650, hawk G426


              • #8
                I don't know anything about puzzles, just wondering if Kzoorichie is from Kalamazoo michigan.
                Jeff Powell


                • #9
                  Carter et al.,

                  Thanks to much for your replys. Carter your puzzles are fantastic. These tips are enough to get started.

                  My boys are far too young to do the type of puzzles that Carter makes which is good because I lack the skills to do such great work.

                  Yes, Jeff I'm from the land of the Promise. Oshtemo township actually and I work in Plainwell.


                  • #10

                    During cutting,do you lay each individual peice aside and reassemble it for the photo? Or do you have a technique to hold everything together throughout the cutting? I would be afraid that I'd "forget " to put a lock in a piece.

                    "Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it."---Thomas Paine


                    • #11
                      Rodney, I just cut one piece at a time, laying each piece aside as it is finished. When I've cut 30 to 40 or so, my limited patience has usually expired and I stop, sand each piece briefly by touching the bottom of each to an upside-down sander (a step that probably is not really necessary). I then assemble those pieces together with pieces I have already cut.

                      When I'm finished (after about a week's worth of these 20-minute sessions) the full 300 to 400 piece puzzle is assembled. I then turn it over and sand the back. Now it's time to take the pieces apart (after tkaing a picture for the forum), count them, mix them up, give the puzzle a title, record it in my log, put it in a gallon baggie along with a photo taken before I started and then take it upstairs to wait for my wife to put it together (she's usually a little ahead of me).

                      When she's done, there are two local families ready to assemble it in turn. After that it becomes one of my growing (340+) inventory of puzzles I loan out for free to other friends and their families around the country. Some of my puzzles have been put together over 15 times.

                      I seldom "forget" a lock, but I do not put locks on every side of every piece. If you concentrate on having a puzzle with interlocking pieces, you'll quickly remember to put locks where they are necessary. All my puzzles can be picked up by a corner with one hand and waved beneath that hand without falling apart and only occasionally dropping a piece.

                      Hope this helps....give it a try. I am often surprised by how reticent some scrollers are to "just do it!"

                      Have phun.....Carter


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