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ARTICLE

The Unique Characteristics of Wooden Puzzles



The information in the article that pertains to woodwork including painting and applying finishes should only be done after soliciting advice from an expert and to try them is to do so at your own risk (see disclaimer).


A puzzle made up of entirely or almost entirely of wood will have unique properties to it that are different from puzzles made from other materials and therefore can have benefits that puzzles made from other materials will not. There are many different types of wood like Beech, Bamboo, Oak, Maple or Pine that a puzzle can be made of and which each have unique properties themselves as they can be different colours, textures and weight but the choice of which type to use to make the puzzle can simply be personal preference. It is a material that has been used to make puzzles for a very long time as it has been around a lot longer than other materials like plastic, for example, the wooden Burr puzzle has been around for hundreds of years dating back to the 17th century. There is a wide range of wood puzzles to choose from ranging from board games to jigsaws to assemble/disassemble puzzles with new ones still being invented today so they still have relevance for today's puzzle enthusiasts.


The most unique property of wood is that every single piece you find is unique rather like the human fingerprint in which no two are the same which is not the case with other materials like metal and plastic that are used for puzzles. The feel of this material is very different from other materials and there can be huge differences between the different wood types themselves for example the grain of the material can vary dramatically and can be straight, spiral, interlocked, wavy and irregular. The feel of the material will be determined also by whether it ha as been sanded and what finish has been applied as this can make a huge difference to how smooth the puzzle will feel which may be important to how it works or operates. The smell a wood brain teaser will give off can be quite fragrant and will again depend on the type of wood it is made of to what the smell is but most people will likely prefer it to a plastic smell. The tone of the wood can vary dramatically from light brown to very dark brown to almost black and the material doesn't just appear in the colour brown in its natural form but in such colours as red, yellow and white. The weight of this material will also vary as some types like Cedar and Cypress are very light in weight and some are very heavy in weight like Black Ironwood or Itin and the puzzle it is used for may require that it be light so you can hold it up for a long time without straining yourself or that it be heavy so that it will stay in its position and not be moved easily.


Brain teasers made from wood can have an antique look to them that can make them very suitable for displaying as ornaments and may even match well to a certain place in the home in terms of decor better in which they are displayed than other puzzles made of different materials. This can mean even a new wooden puzzle that has just been produced with the right paint and stain applied can look like it is decades old and you could even lie and say it is and it would be difficult to tell if you are telling the truth or not. The puzzles that are truly antique and have been around for decades do feel that they have a real history to them and belong to a specific period in time that you wouldn't get with plastic that feels very modern and often soulless but maybe certain metals could also give a certain antique quality but in a slightly different way.


The way pieces of a wooden brain teaser interact with each other will be different than with other materials and pieces of a puzzle can interact with each other in many different ways with the various puzzles you can play with so it could be slotting one piece into another, sliding against each other or one puzzle piece hitting the other. When the puzzle demands to slot one wooden piece into the other then there is more of a chance the piece can become stuck than say with plastic which is a very smooth material and that is why the hole that wooden piece fits into will either have to be slightly bigger than the piece that fits into with a little gap to avoid them becoming stuck or both the hole and the piece very well sanded. When wooden puzzle pieces slide or rub against each other they could splinter which is unique to the material it is made of and the surfaces of these pieces need to be smooth via sanding ideally with some sort of finish in order to prevent this as two rough wooden pieces sliding against each other will damage each other that would happen with repeated use. If the wooden brain teaser involves two pieces hitting each other then this can cause damage and the finish applied and the type of wood used will both factor in how much damage will be done when the pieces do clash as other materials like metal can take more damage and are probably or suitable for these types of puzzles that have these sort of actions.


Although you do need to chop down trees in order to get the material in the first place in order to produce the puzzle it is still more environmentally friendly in many ways than other materials as it is a sustainable material particularly over ones that are used for puzzles like plastic and metal and trees are renewable so can always be replanted with some trees being able to grow back very rapidly like Bamboo. The carbon footprint of wood is much lower than that of metal and plastic and with it being a common goal across the globe to reduce carbon emissions the use of the material is still vital. Wood brain teasers can be reused for other purposes and made into something else often quite easily which can stop them from being wasted when it is time to dispose of them and a lot of wood does get recycled for example by chopping it up into little pieces and used for mulch in a garden. They can last a very long time if they are looked after properly even if they biodegrade, which is a property that is better for the environment, at a faster rate than plastic and metal which means storing them out of the way from such potential dangers as water and making sure they are well maintained like using a finish such as a varnish to protect them from such threats. The durability and the resistance to water damage of wood will also vary a lot with different types of the material with some more suited to handling water than others and there are many examples that you see every day of wood used outdoors in the elements like sheds or a pavilion that can last decades with no real damage done to them. There are puzzles you can get that are made from recycled or reused wood that has been taken from other things this means the parts from an old broken wardrobe can be reused to make other things like a puzzle without it going to waste and just dumped or used as firewood.


A wooden brain teaser can be transformed into something else or modified much more easily than other materials often with tools you will probably already have at home in the garage or shed like a saw, sandpaper, hammer and nails, drill, carving knife, chisel etc. Being able to in a lot of cases modify a puzzle easily means you could customize it to your tastes which could mean carving your name into it or adding some sort of pattern to it that will make it unique to you and makes it one of a kind. It is also often very easy to apply paint to wood which can be achieved by a paintbrush or by spraypaint which is another modification you can make to a wooden brain teaser that could be in the colours of your favourite sports team for example. As wood can easily be transformed or modified it means when it is damaged for example if it was chipped then the mark can often be easily sandpapered away or sliced off with a saw and this will require very little skill to do. This could also apply to when a wooden piece of a puzzle doesn't fit into its corresponding hole because it is slightly too big it could easily be sandpapered down to make it fit and then repainted or refinished if necessary.


In conclusion, wood definitely gives puzzles a uniqueness specifically in terms of look and feel that other materials can't match with there being many different types of puzzles that are made from this material for you to select from so there are many reasons to choose a wood brain teaser as it is still as contemporary and important as it ever was.


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