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The Different Stages of Making a Wooden Puzzle

The tasks mentioned in this article should only be carried out by an expert or under the supervision of an expert or after having consulted one with all the proper safety precautions taken as doing them can be dangerous and you do them at your own risk (see disclaimer).

Making your own wooden puzzles can be a great way of combining the two hobbies of puzzles and woodwork that could lead to further opportunities like a business opportunity if you are entrepreneurially minded or a way to meet new people and friends. Making your own wooden brain teasers is a way to develop new skills that could be very useful for other tasks such as the ones that you often need to do around the home that could save you a lot of money having to hire somebody else to do it like putting on a door or putting up a shelf. You could make something for yourself instead of having to buy it like a coffee table or a cabinet that might save you a lot of money, that would be unique and would be to your exact specific requirements. Most of all it can be a fun hobby that can reward you in many ways so here is some information about this hobby but you should always consult an expert in woodwork, if you are not one yourself, before attempting anything mentioned in this article as they will give the best advice possible for you to succeed and be safe.

Safety is very important and should be your top priority especially when using sharp tools like a saw that can do a lot of damage so if you are not of the correct age i.e. an adult then you shouldn't try it by yourself. If you are old enough but a novice then it is advisable you either take a course or research properly how to use the tools you will need to create the puzzle safely or preferably have somebody who knows show you. Safety advice can be about what to do in certain situations, for example, if you get part of you stuck in the machinery or the machinery malfunctions how to switch it off. Safety clothing and equipment is essential and depending on what tools you are using will decide what safety equipment to use which can be such things as safety goggles, protective clothing, steel cap boots and gloves that may seem unnecessary but you have to wear them for a reason. If you are still unsure how to stay safe while woodworking then it is better to do it under the supervision of somebody who knows what they are doing and can advise you in the best possible way so that you will stay safe. It is worth stating again the best and correct way to stay safe is always to consult an expert in woodworking who will know all the proper safety precautions and procedures for your particular task.

The equipment you will need depends on the design of the puzzle so if it requires holes then you are going to need a drill or to put pieces together you are going to need to either nail them or glue them together so you will have to think this through and plan it before you start how you will do each step of putting the puzzle together. It may be ideal to find somewhere that has all the tools or machinery you need like a local college and see if they will let you use them as they will be able to advise you and will have all the equipment you will need that will make your life a lot easier that can produce designs or results that the standard equipment you would find at home in your garage cannot. However, if you can't get access to a place like this then a lot of people will probably be able to find most of the basic tools they need at home but if you can't you could maybe check if you can borrow the equipment from a neighbour, family member or a friend if they have them. It is better however to have the equipment readily at your disposal if this is a hobby you are going to continue regularly for the foreseeable future rather than having to ask and then retrieve the equipment from somewhere else every time which could in itself be tricky and very timeconsuming. You shouldn't use the tools mentioned unless you know how to properly use them and how to be safe with them and to know this you should consult an expert as not to do so can be very dangerous and even risk life.

There are plenty of ideas for puzzles you can obtain by just browsing the internet that you can use to either copy or modify or use as inspiration to make your own brand new puzzle. It would be best however to look at the simpler wooden puzzles to give you inspiration as these are the ones that are going to be the most realistic for you to achieve when starting out and not seem too daunting or technical to recreate. You could also look at other puzzles besides wood ones to give inspiration and see if you could make that puzzle out of wood like Sudoku where you would have a wooden grid base and add the individual wooden numbers so it is important not to limit yourself and your imagination. You also have to bear in mind whether it will be feasible with the tools you have available to build the puzzle you have seen and like because you don't want to waste your time and be halfway through and realise you can't finish it.

If you are following instructions as a guide to building a wooden puzzle then they will likely recommend or tell you which type of wood to use but if you are not using instructions then it would make sense to look online in order to try to find instructions for the specific puzzle you want to make just to see if they recommend a particular type of wood. Another option for deciding what type of wood to use is to try to look online for a professional version of what you want to make and see what it is made of in the description or look for a wooden puzzle that is similar to what you want to make if you can't find exactly the same puzzle. What the puzzle does, how it will be used, how durable you want it to be, the price and how you want it to look and feel are all important factors that will determine which type of wood will be most appropriate. However, as there are certain woods that shouldn't be used for making a wooden puzzle it would be best to ask an expert if you are unsure who could be somebody who makes wooden puzzles themselves or who deals with wood in some manner and could make a sensible recommendation and at the very least help you to steer clear of obvious mistakes. It might even be a good idea to use recycled or reclaimed wood where possible as it is good for the environment as you would be using wood from trees that have already been felled. You will be learning as you go along with this hobby so you are likely going to make a few if not a lot of mistakes, therefore, it would be better to use inexpensive or cheaper wood which is often wood that has already been used rather than using new wood as it could become a very expensive hobby if you are buying new wood over and over again when these mistakes are made. There are potentially plenty of places you can source already used wood from with one being your own home where there could be, for example, old furniture or part of the house such as the door you no longer want as it is damaged or no longer of use in its current form and you could use the pieces of it that are not too badly damaged to make the puzzle if the wood type is suitable. Other places to enquire for used wood would be your neighbours, friends, family, the classifieds, charity shops, online and there are firms that specialize in used wood.

It is better to start with a very simple puzzle that is easy to make and then step by step gradually produce more complex ones that will show off your hopefully developing skills but first learn to walk before you run and you should ideally start as a beginner under the supervision of an expert to learn the basics and stay safe. It would be best to put your idea on paper before you start so that you can get the measurements correct and be clear about what the puzzle will look like so you will have something to go off when you are actually building it as this will result in fewer mistakes being made. It could be an idea to take a course in graphic design that would help you to draw your plans up with a teacher or an expert to guide you that can be done in person at a college or online at a time that suits you or you could search out books on the topic or alternatively research on the internet of which there will be plenty of material so there are many options available to you. There are blueprints you can find on many websites, some websites even solely dedicated to this hobby, that are instructions on how to put a particular wooden puzzle together and there are also plenty of youtube videos that will show you step by step how to do this as well.

It is important to take your time particularly if you are a beginner and not rush when putting the puzzle together in order to avoid mistakes and ensure you are doing everything in the right order as you don't want to have to halfway through scrap all of it and start again. However, if you are a beginner it inevitable that you will make some mistakes and you should treat this as part of the learning process and not get frustrated by it as it is supposed to be fun and with practice, you will not make these mistakes and be able to make the puzzles at a faster rate.

Adding a design or pattern to the puzzle could be also something you want to do that will make the puzzle look more attractive and distinctive and will help to broaden your skills further but again if you are a beginner then it is best to start with a simple design and get help applying it from someone who knows how to do it so that it is achievable which will allow you to gain the confidence to try a more complex design in the future. However, I would recommend sticking to your original idea that you have planned and drawn out as when you diverge from this then it can lead to things going wrong and mistakes that mean you have to start all over again but if it is something very simple what you are adding then you could give that a go in order to dip your toe in the water.

The final part of making a wooden brain teaser is to add the finishing touches to it which can be to add some colour by painting it using either the method of paint and brush or by what can be far less time-consuming spray paint. With both of these methods, you will need to ensure the place it is done in is well ventilated particularly when spray painting and you should also wear a mask to cover your mouth and nose. These methods of painting should be done under the supervision of an expert or one should be consulted before you start as they will be able to tell you what paint to apply, which method of applying the paint is preferable and how to stay safe. There are other finishes aside from a paint finish that can be potentially applied to a wooden puzzle such as stain, wax, shellac or oil and these various finishes can have differing effects on wood such as altering the colour, giving it a sheen or just bringing out the natural colour more. These finishes can also offer differing amounts of protection and some will need more maintenance than others so which one you choose will come down to the characteristics of the wood that the finish is going to be specifically applied to and how the wood/puzzle will operate and be used as well as your own personal preference. As there are many wood finish options available with each having pros and cons you will have to research yourself thoroughly what would be best for your specific puzzle and the wood type that will best protect it and allow it to operate properly or preferably consult an expert who you could perhaps find at a DIY store. It can be a process of trial and error to know which finishes are best or preferable to use for different wooden puzzles and you are learning so mistakes are inevitably going to be made but choosing the wrong finish could be quite expensive and a huge waste so that is why it is preferable to consult an expert to reduce this risk. When applying any of the wood finishes above you should follow the safety advice on the packaging and seek advice from an expert before using.

In conclusion, making your own wooden brain teasers can be an enjoyable and rewarding hobby that with practice and a lot of time invested could lead to some spectacular results and varied opportunities with likely a wide variety of new skills learnt.

If you are a beginner or novice then mistakes are inevitable and this could result in you having to start all over again and having to acquire new materials so this is something to bear in mind before you start what the monetary cost would be of having to start again with new materials and if you can afford this.



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