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3-D Walnut Snake & Fish Puzzles

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Project by KnotCurser posted 1666 days ago 5836 views 8 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Once upon a year I saw a web posting on how to make a simple, 4 piece fish puzzle out of a scrap of wood. I thought “This is cool, and should be really easy to do in my spare time”. I quickly made some and gave them out as gifts. If anyone wants the pattern, just ask!

Then came the idea – “You know, if you change the head a little it could look like a snake. And you could probably add more pieces” One thing leads to another and now it wasn’t a simple project anymore. It was more of an obsession – just how long of a snake could I make? The answer turned out to be over 20 inches long – since I have a 20 inch throat on my scrollsaw.

I practiced a bit and finally turned out my “Black Snake” – black walnut snake to be more exact. It has 45 pieces and can bend over two inches at any given point. It has seriously scared a few people who saw me pick it up from where it sits on my entertainment center – this I consider a compliment ;-)

And the answer is “Yes” – I did indeed mix all the pieces up and put it back together. Once. Just once.

Oh yeah – the two fish I made out of the scrap pieces of the snake. Couldn’t waste good walnut!

-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: rrww@rhoadesclan.com / www.rhoadesclan.com





11 comments so far

View bayspt's profile

bayspt

292 posts in 2302 days


#1 posted 1666 days ago

I for one would like to know how it is executed. I don’t have a scroll saw at the moment, but this is really near.

-- Jimmy, Oklahoma "It's a dog-eat-dog world, and I'm wearing milkbone underwear!"

View KnotCurser's profile

KnotCurser

1795 posts in 1666 days


#2 posted 1666 days ago

For a full set of plans to make the fish, go here: http://www.woodmagazine.com/woodworking-plans/home/somethings-fishy-key-ring/

-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: rrww@rhoadesclan.com / www.rhoadesclan.com

View Steve's profile

Steve

15 posts in 1679 days


#3 posted 1666 days ago

Now I have to try this. Very cool. I too am trying to get a good scroll saw. But as soon as I do I can put it to use. Excellent work.

View bayspt's profile

bayspt

292 posts in 2302 days


#4 posted 1666 days ago

Thanks.

-- Jimmy, Oklahoma "It's a dog-eat-dog world, and I'm wearing milkbone underwear!"

View lotus's profile

lotus

33 posts in 2008 days


#5 posted 1666 days ago

Way cool. If I make the fish will the pattern to the snake be obvious?
I could see a figured piece of stock making a diamond back.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

111999 posts in 2175 days


#6 posted 1666 days ago

Very cool projects

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View KnotCurser's profile

KnotCurser

1795 posts in 1666 days


#7 posted 1665 days ago

In response to Lotus’ question….... The snake is just a REALLY long fish – it’s a matter of repetition. I did modify the shape of the puzzle joints, but you don’t have to. If you do modify them, make sure two pieces “lock in” the third one – I just about cut one of the very end pieces to shallow and would have had to do the entire snake over again.
The head and the tail are the only unique parts to it.
You also have have a single piece of stock to start with, as far as I know. If anyone has any ideas on how to “join” multiple pieces of stock to make a REALLY long snake, PLEASE let me know! I think you might be able to fully duplicate an already cut piece with the end of another piece of stock, but it would not be easy.

-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: rrww@rhoadesclan.com / www.rhoadesclan.com

View RonSch's profile

RonSch

4 posts in 1706 days


#8 posted 1658 days ago

I saw this project at a lumber show here in town. It was at a booth trying to sell upgrades to a bandsaw. He claimed that with these upgrades he could make a bandsaw do what a scroll saw does with the tight turns. He had one snake there that was about 3 ft long. I think the brand was Carter but am not sure about that.
These are cool projects to do and I love the black wood that you used.
Ron Schneider

-- Ron Schneider, Sacramento, Ca

View KnotCurser's profile

KnotCurser

1795 posts in 1666 days


#9 posted 1658 days ago

Ron,

I would LOVE to have a bandsaw blade that can do what my scrollsaw is capable of, but I have yet to see it. I have seen blades come CLOSE, but…............... Not quite in my opinion.

That’s why I still have my bandsaw AND my scrollsaw – the right tool for the right job!

BTW, I will be going to a HUGE woodworker’s show tomorrow in Baltimore, MD and one of the booths has these blades – I might take one of my mini-puzzle-cubes with me to see if he can duplicate the curves. ;-)

If so, I will buy a bunch of those blades! It would make a lot of my “regular” projects much easier!

Oh yeah – the “black wood” that I used was Walnut – my absolute favorite wood to work with!

-Bob

-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: rrww@rhoadesclan.com / www.rhoadesclan.com

View RonSch's profile

RonSch

4 posts in 1706 days


#10 posted 1650 days ago

Did you find it at the show? it was out of my price range at the time so I did not get it.
If you got is how does it work? He made it seem easy but I have seen people do things on the scroll saw that looked easy too until i got home and tryed it.
Ron

-- Ron Schneider, Sacramento, Ca

View KnotCurser's profile

KnotCurser

1795 posts in 1666 days


#11 posted 1650 days ago

Ron,

Yes and No – how’s that for a answer! ;-)

I did indeed find the Carter folks and what they can do to a bandsaw – ANY bandsaw – is impressive! What they offer is basically an entire retrofit of any bandsaw to make it perform like a $1000+ model. They were demonstrating on a 1970’s style crafstman benchtop model with a plastic table and really rusty wheels. Once they replaced all the rollers, added some wheel bands and a new blade they were cutting veneer sheets from rock maple! Impressive to say the least!

HOWEVER, were they able to make the cuts I had to do in order to make my toys? Nope. They DID have a bunch of those snakes there and they were impressive, but much larger with much wider kerfs.

So….......My verdict: Very impressive but NOT the same precision as a scrollsaw. Guess I’m keeping both of my tools still. :-)

My 2 cents.

-bob

-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: rrww@rhoadesclan.com / www.rhoadesclan.com

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