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freehand jigsaws completed - lessons learned

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  • freehand jigsaws completed - lessons learned

    Hi, thought I would post some images of my first attempts at freehand jigsaws which I have been busy making over the past 3 months as hand-made Christmas presents for family and friends.

    I use a Sheppach Decoflex variable speed saw, FD superior puzzle blades, 4mm laser-grade birch ply, 3M spray glue and pictures from calendars. These are typically 40x30cm images and have gone from around 160 to 200 pieces on average now.

    From trial and error (and very useful tutorial on this site) I have discovered:

    1. 6mm ply seemed almost too thick (I tried both) for this type of puzzle. However, I accept it is more robust, cuts neater and is suitable for most projects - and I will experiment in the future with it;

    2. Need to apply 3M photo-mount liberally to both wood and paper. However, if applied properly it produces a ripple free and reliable bond even for the finer cuts;

    3. FD superior puzzle blades are necessary. I tried the thicker FD-Polar No.3 and the gaps between pieces is too great for my jigsaws.

    4. No need to use guides once I had practiced (and broken a few blades!). Freehand is the way to go! Cut around objects to disguise edges, create 'false' edges and 'trick' corners for added puzzlement

    5. No need to have locks on all the pieces as long as the edge and most of the other pieces lock.

    Some examples attached. Need some ideas for next project. Maybe a 3-D jigsaw or a shaped edge, personlised photos etc.
    Attached Files

  • #2
    You did a nice job and made some interesting observations. Thanks for sharing. You did miss out on some great color line cuts however...LOL Just thought I'd toss that in before carter shows up....<wink>
    "Still Montana Mike"

    "Don't worry about old age--it doesn't last that long."
    Mike's Wood-n-Things LLC


    • #3
      Very interesting shapes but I would really hate to be putting all that blue together

      A couple of questions / observations:
      (1) I've used 3M Super 77 spray adhesive. I don't find that I need to be super liberal with it and I've never had any trouble with separation at the glue layer. If you think you are really putting on excessive amounts of the photo mount, you might might to try some of the Super 77 for your next batch.

      (2) (getting my calculator out) 6 mm is just about 1/4". You'll find that is a pretty standard size for wooden puzzles. It handles and cuts well (although it baltic birch will just eat up your puzzle blades) and makes a very attractive final product.

      (3) Hooray for free hand cutting!



      • #4
        Beautiful, even amazing, puzzle cuts for first time. Keep it up!



        • #5
          I am still learning about puzzle making myself but these look good. The different shaped pieces add interest. I have developed a quirk for wanting all of my pieces to interlock but your observation that this isn't necessary is spot on. I like to be able to pick mine up and have none of the pieces fall out.
          Also, I love the subjects. Most of what I have done so far is of a nature subject...animals and landscapes. I have some beautiful sea scape images I want to try.
          Thanks for sharing your work. I think you've done great.
          "Live as though Christ died yesterday, arose this morning, and is coming back tomorrow."


          • #6
            Those are some great puzzle cuttings.
            You have some great ideas.

            It's all fun
            Craftsman 18"
            Delta 46-460 lathe



            • #7
              Nice job Well done
              The Journey Is Everything.


              My Google+


              • #8
                very nice job......the more you cut the better you get!!.....keep posting those puzzle pics...

                "The Journey is the Reward"


                • #9
                  Welcome to the puzzlin' club, "Sham"!

                  I think you'll find jigsaw puzzle cutting a very fun and rewarding hobby. Stick with it, and you'll find your cuts getting smoother and smoother, and you'll find yourself enjoying new experimentations.

                  I noticed that both of the puzzles displayed have a similar "swirl" type area of pieces. Stuff like that is fun to do, and helps to add interest to the puzzles, I think.

                  Great job!
                  Shawn Ferguson

                  Come visit at The Ferguson Puzzle Company !


                  • #10
                    Very nice. This forum is full of ideas. So many I don't think I will get to try more than a small number of them. Nevertheless, it is always great to see what others do whether I am able to do something similar or not. Keep posting your work.


                    • #11
                      Thanks for your kind and encouraging comments. I think I ended up trying to do too many in a too short a time to meet Christmas deadline (14 jigsaws in 2 months) - I don't think my wife appreciated how long they would take! Anyway I was a bit pressurised towards the end and was doing 2 hour shifts cutting up to half a jigsaw some evenings (about 100 pieces). Didn't manage to sand the backs of them all and at one point when I was cutting with over-used blades and the back was rough I tried burning the frayed edges with a lighter! (see attached image - back). Discovered that sanding with fine paper is more sensible and quicker - D'oh!

                      A few more questions if you don't mind - If doing double sided, one side will end up rough. Anyway to avoid this apart from ensuring blade is changed regularly? Also, what is thickest I should attempt a 3-D block jigsaw and what is the largest piece that can be handled for a single jigsaw? (I assume it depends on throat depth - ahem!)
                      Attached Files


                      • #12
                        i have used loctite high and professional performance as well as 3M hi strength 90, and the problems i have with them is the glue seems to come out stringy, unlike the loctite repositional spray, which comes out as a mist. also, difficult to accurate place the picture on the wood as it sticks immediately. naturally will look at the 3m super 77 as John suggested.

                        I just did my first two freehand puzzles and tried contact cement, which seems to have worked well. this was easier to position on the board as i could be freezer paper between the wood and picture, get them located which i wanted and slide the freezer paper out. now have to see how well the photo sticks to the wood with this glue.

                        i have had no problems with the paper separating from the board on the spray glues, but have had the photo paper separate - all of my puzzles thus far are photos vs prints. so i keep some white glue (clear dry) on hand to glue them back down!


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