First Anniversary Preparation
Elaborate schemes are the norm for my romantic occasions with
Rachel.. usually I'm assisted in my plotting by Denise (and provide
reciprocal plotting aid). However, this year's anniversary was
somewhat more ambitious than most occasions -- not only because it was
such a special one but because we would be apart for the surrounding
months! So, I got help from Denise and a whole gaggle of others.. and
I took pictures! (This is normally anathema to me.)
Anyway, I planned a particularly full day of
events for us and centered the day around my present to Rachel: a
hand-made jigsaw puzzle with a built-in picture frame. These photos
detail some of the work involved in creating the
puzzle. (Almost all the work was done in Mike's shed.)
- Plans and Ruminations
- With Jacob's
help, I sketched out preliminary plans for how to cut the
puzzle. Initially these plans were greatly complicated by my intention
to cut a puzzle with a diagonal larger than 16" (the throat size of my
saw). Jacob pointed out a method to do this and together we worked out
the details. Just make a middle cut (with puzzle edges/tabs) all the
way across the puzzle, cutting in half the longer side. If I were not
making a modern-style interlocking puzzle, this would not have been a
problem (or not as much of one, at least). In the end, the puzzle had
a 14 + epsilon" diagonal: no problem.
- The Shot
- After making several different sizes of enlargements from several
photos, I settled on this one with Mike's help. This one had an
appropriate area to cut the picture frame and sufficient visual
interest. Mike predicted that the flaws (specks of dust on the slide
when it was enlarged) in the shot would not be visible after cutting
the puzzle, and he was right.
- Starting Out
- Mike kindly took a shot of me displaying the tools.
- The Pristine Pusher
- When I
learned to use a band saw, the first piece I cut was a "pusher": a
piece of wood with a flat, canted face and grips. You use it to push
wood through a table saw (or other saw) when the piece is too small to
use your fingers. The saw cuts right through the pusher, but that's
better than your fingers! So, the first piece I cut on the scroll saw
was the same. (For picky folks, the face is at an angle which is not
nearly obtuse enough wrt the bottom of the pusher to be
useful. However, since you really don't need a pusher for a scroll
saw, this was never an issue.)
- Mike Cuts a Fine Figure (even close up)
- Mike did some cutting after I convinced him of how fun it is. I
only charged him 25 cents! These shots show what it looks like to
actually use the scroll saw.
- Action Routing
- The router was used to create the picture frame. I actually made
the frame first, but I had more fun with the scroll saw; so, the
routing picture got demoted to here.
- Broken Blade
- I went through only three blades in the course of making these
puzzles (since then, I've chewed through blades much faster; partly
because I moved to thinner blades and more exotic blades -- like
spiral blades -- partly because I'm less patient!). When they break,
it's generally a surprise but not dangerous because a scroll saw blade
is held on both sides. Still, I'm glad I was wearing Mike's biking
- Three Puzzles: Mike's (partly
cut), Denise's (jigged for
sanding), and Rachel's (being
disassembled for stowage)
- These are the three puzzles I cut before the anniversary.
is partly done, and you can see the incomplete cut where the blade
broke in the wood. Restarting these cuts smoothly can be difficult.
Denise's is finished and inverted for sanding. Sanding individual
pieces was a nightmare, but once I started jigging the puzzles tightly
and sanding the whole thing together, it worked great! You can see the
D-shaped figural pieces (a pair) in Denise's puzzle.
Rachel's is finished, sanded, and marked. I wrote a message on the
back of each puzzle. At this point, I was piling the pieces to go in
their separate bags and also just generally fingering them to work out
- I delivered all the puzzles (well, except Mike's) in dyed felt
bags that were made for board game pieces. The card in the background
was the anniversary card for Rachel. The pictures on the right are of
Rachel and me and of Fauna NMI Xerxon, terror beast, monster of doom,
horrifying death creature, and slightly frumpy, chicken-hearted house cat.
- Th-th-th-that's All, Folks
- The finished puzzle, assembled.