Make a 3D Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle

I’m not sure if there is any project that brings more pleasure after it leaves my shop than a jigsaw puzzle.

After buying a scroll saw, I was soon making jigsaw puzzles from 1/4″ plywood. As fun as they were to make and assemble, I soon began experimenting as I do, and started cutting multi-level 3D jigsaw puzzles. To date, I have cut thousands of puzzle pieces on the scroll saw dd(and even a dozen or so with a manual fret saw).

If you’re interested in learning how they are cut, check out my article in the latest issue of Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement: Make a 3D Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle. There are some good scroll saw tips in the article as well.

Not interested in making your own puzzle? I sell them too – they’re a great gift idea. Click here to shop.

The Five Foot Shop

It’s been about a year-and-a-half since my shop size got cut in half. It presently occupies a one-car garage and I must say that I’m quite happy with the space. All my machines made the move, including my sliding table saw, 18″ bandsaw, jointer, planer, drill press and dust collector, but I did give up my tall joinery workbench and a lot of wood storage.

With this particular machine layout, I can work quite efficiently on material as long as five feet for any machine, and can handle longer material with handheld tools. All this without a mobile base under each machine.

In an article for Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement Magazine, I explore the concept of a shop optimized to handle materials up to five feet long and provide examples of how it works in practice. Read it in the annual Small Shops issue (June/July 2017).

You’ve probably noticed that things have been quieter around here than usual, but don’t worry – I’ve enlisted a new helper. Once he’s fully trained, things should be back up to speed. Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there!

Featured by Canadian Woodworking Woodworking Magazine

I am featured in Canadian Woodworking Magazine’s June/July issue! Pick up your copy today, get a digital subscription online, or preview the issue on the magazine’s website.

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The magazine also produced an accompanying slideshow. Watch it here.

21st Century Writing Desk, Complete

A textured top might at first seem the wrong choice for a writing desk, but with computers leading the writing world nowadays we think it’s a great idea.

– Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement Magazine

I completed the base for the 21st Century Writing Desk, to go with the top that I carved in November.

21st Century Writing Desk Top

The base had to be visually lightweight to avoid overwhelming the thin top. I achieved this by leaving space below the top and tapering the legs.

To allow ample space for knees, I opted to omit the front apron. I made up for the missing apron by using an H-shaped stretcher assembly positioned low on the legs.

21st Century Writing Desk

Turned around, the desk can be used as a side table as well. The long stretcher provides some more visual strength.

21st Century Writing Desk Back

I wanted to make the legs flow into the stretchers so I created curved transitions at the joints. To do this easily, I developed a process involving two common router bits and a couple simple shims. (Read about this process in the April/May 2016 issue of Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement.)

21st Century Writing Desk Base

3-Month Review

I am quite happy with the desk after a few months of use. It is plenty stable and the top is big enough for my laptop computer, some wrist support, and not much else. Therefore, it does not attract the clutter with which desks are often plagued. It is also incredibly light, which makes it enjoyable (not an exaggeration) to move around from room to room.

When I work at it, I sit in my 3-Week Chair, Prototype 4 (which I badly want to revisit and further develop).

Bonus

Read the article from the March/April issue of Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement by clicking the following image.

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Furniture & Cabinetmaking #210 (October 2013)

September 2013 Furniture & Cabinetmaking

Cover of Furniture & Cabinetmaking #210, from http://www.woodworkersinstitute.com

My latest magazine article, Reading the Grain, was published in the October 2013 issue of United Kingdom’s Furniture & Cabinetmaking.  For this article, I teamed up with my friend, Charles Mak, (we first collaborated on an article published in the March 2012 issue of Australian Wood Review).

The article starts by explaining different ways to tell the direction of the grain and why it may affect how you work the wood.  Also covered are different tools, blades, techniques and setups to cope with end grain, difficult grain patterns and intersecting components.

According to the magazine’s website, the article is available for download from your Android device, iPhone or iPad via iTunes.  You can also order a hard copy from their site.

Links:

2012 Year in Review

2012 was another memorable year for me.  Here are some of the highlights:

More magazine articles published!

In March, an article I co-wrote with Calgarian woodworker Charles Mak was featured in issue #74 of Australian Wood Review.

In the December/January 2013 issue of Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement, I had two articles published (two articles in a single issue is a new record for me!).

CWHI_DecJan_Contents

Morgan Holt named Master of the Southwest

Morgan Holt

Morgan Holt of EarthArt Landscape gave me my first big job in 2008 when he commissioned me to make a bubinga table top for a dining table that was to become part of an extensive backyard renovation in Phoenix, Arizona.  I was grateful for the opportunity to work with Morgan and it remains one of the best experiences of my life.

2012 Master of the SouthwestIn March, Morgan was awarded with the title of Master of the Southwest, a title he undoubtedly deserves.  Working with him, I feel that he is indeed worthy of the recognition. What I noticed was his impeccable attention to detail, his thorough understanding of the materials, his ability to envision and comunicate his ideas, and his skills to work with clients and contractors to complete the build (these attributes really are not that different from that of a good woodworker).

Morgan and I have remained friends since the project.  He is a hobbyist woodworker and reads and comments on my blog.

"Flow"

Relationship Study

On April 15, I started what would eventually be realized as a trestle table and probably the most ambitious, boldest, and challenging thing I had ever built.  The entire process was documented with a 31-session Tweet-Along spanning three months.

The table was titled Relationship Study (and is available in my Store).

Woodworking In America and Hand Tool Olympics, and woodworking attractions!

October was a busy month for me.  I attended Woodworking In America where I gave away bench dogs for Time Warp Tool Works and had a blast competing in Hand Tool Olympics.  After Woodworking in America, my friend Paul-Marcel and I visited other art/woodworking attractions including Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Paul Schurch’s woodworking shop.

Then we returned to his place in Phoenix, Arizona where I was able to spend a few days, unsupervised, in a shop full of expensive and fancy tools making a wooden lock mechanism that came to me in a flash of inspiration.

Mechanical Puzzle Box

Haircut!

At the end of October, I cut my hair for the first time in three years to donate to Locks of Love.

Oops!

Experimenting with other mediums.

For a long while, I have wanted to explore mediums other than wood and in November I did my first resin casting, for Deconstructed.

Deconstructed Shelf

News About Woodworking Magazines

The December/January issue of Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement is now on newsstands.  If you’ve been following my blog for at least a year, one of the three pictures at the top of the cover should look familiar.

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On the Contents page, we see that I have an article, Make a Wooden Bow on page 16.  Also, on page 28 is another of my articles, Shop Skills: Working Without Numbers.

CWHI_DecJan_Contents

This video preview shows some of the issue’s content in a different format.  (2:29).


In related news, Woodwork, my other favourite magazine, is now on newsstands.  Currently, only one issue is printed per year.  I highly recommend that you find yourself a copy.

Dale J. Osowski’s copy of Woodwork

 

Australian Wood Review #74 (March 2012)

My most recent woodworking article (which I co-wrote with Charles Mak) is featured in issue #74 (March 2012) of Australian Wood Review (AWR).

Our article shows how to build a folding ladder that Charles designed and I built.  The ladder does not fold the way that you would expect – the rungs have pivot points at the ends and disappear into the rails.  You can order your copy from the AWR store.

 

Yep, that’s me in the lead photo!

Charles is a woodworker who lives in Calgary.  He is a maker of automata and a frequent contributor of tips to woodworking magazines.  (His first published article was about automata and appeared in Lee Valley’s September 2008 Woodworking Newsletter.)

Sheep Shearer, an automata by Charles Mak

Published in May 2007 Issue of Canadian Home Workshop

Last summer, Jodi Avery MacLean, the Managing Editor of Canadian Home Workshop Magazine (CHW) contacted me asking if I was interested in building them a whirligig.  Truth be told, I was hoping that they’d ask me to build them a piece of furniture such as a side table or dresser, but I was excited nonetheless and promptly responded with a resounding “yes”.  I took a few days to get my grand idea together.  I was familiar with whirligigs though I had never built one.  I knew that there were two main types:  simple and complex mechanical.  Simple whirligigs typically consist of a body with two propellers on the sides for arms or legs.  Mechanical whirligigs use a propeller connected to a camshaft to control one or more characters and are much more elaborate and time consuming to construct.

Given that this is my first assignment for the magazine, I knew that I had to make a strong impression and immediately cast aside the idea of a simple whirligig.  I scan through the books in my local library revealed no shortage of ideas and plans for a mechanical whirligig.  However, trying to impress, I decided to design my own whirligig from scratch.  My grand idea was to have a scene from the wood shop:  one woodworker uses a jack plane to surface a board while the other chops a mortise in another board.  With the idea fresh in my mind, I drew up a quick sketch which I later turned into a 3D model using a CAD program called Rhinoceros 3D.  I sent a screenshot of my idea off to Jodi to be reviewed and turned my attention to working out the details.

The building went surprisingly well, although it took a bit of patience to get everything working smoothly.  The idea of having my project published, however, was more than enough of an incentive to keep working at it (If you want the details of how to build it, check out the magazine!).

Once the building was complete, the writing began.  I began by making detailed notes, documenting every step involved.  Then I took those notes and converted them into sentences and paragraphs – the first draft was complete!  Eight drafts later, I had an article which I was completely happy with.  I sent a copy off to Jodi at Canadian Home Workshop electrically and mailed the whirligig across the country from Port Moody, BC to Toronto, ON.  Upon receipt of my handcrafted work of art, the staff at Canadian Home Workshop were very impressed.  Mission accomplished!

About a month and a half ago, I started working together with Jodi Avery MacLean and Steve Maxwell (CHW’s technical editor) to edit the article and illustrations.  I compared Draft 9 with the final draft and only found a handful of changes the folks a CHW had made.  And each edit was minor – adding or changing a word here and there.  This meant that the nine drafts I had meticulously pored over for so many hours had been worth every minute, with the result being an article which I can call my own.  It was just a matter of time before the magazine with my article hit newsstands nationwide – and that time has arrived!

Get your copy today!