Step by Step
How To Make a Dragon Puzzle
Before I decide which project to start next I take a look at my wood storage and consider which wood and which grain would fit my idea best. For the dragon puzzle I chose a wood of darker shade with a clearly visible grain. This looks more interesting than a light wood without a grain.
I chose ovengkol, a wood from West Africa.
I glue the pattern onto the wood with a spray adhesive. The disadvantage is that it takes some time to remove it.
The thickness of the wood I use is about 1'' and sometimes the wood starts burning when there are tight curves. To avoid wood from burning I mask the wood with masking tape. The glue lubricates the blade.
I start scrolling the outer lines. If there are sharp edges I scroll small loops to get exact tips.
Here you can see the sawn out workpiece.
When you scroll a puzzle the most important thing is to have a right angle between the blade and the table of the saw – otherwise the puzzlepieces will stick.
It has proved to work well if you divide the whole puzzle into 3 or 4 smaller pieces that you saw apart afterwards. And don't forget to check if each piece slides smoothly into the next. If not, correct the angle of the table.
It is advisable to plan the order of the cuts carefully to avoid that there are very small pieces left to saw in the end. It can be difficult to hold them with your fingers.
Here you can see the last two pieces. They are big enough to be hold without hurting the fingers.
With this step the scrolling is done but it will take some more time until the puzzle is finished.
In this close-up you can see that a lot of sanding remains to be done. I prefer to sand by hand. I put a piece of sanding paper on a flat surface and move the piece in grain direction back and forth.
The progress is well seen if you compare the the sanded dragon head with the unsanded one.
After having been sanded the puzzle looks good.
The look is improved by the finish – I use linseed oil. It is non-toxic and gives a nice shine and a smooth surface.
I think the dragon looks wonderful – the grain of the wood has a golden shine in the sunlight.
And at last a close-up of the finished head.