Three Dollar Scrollsaw Puzzle

  • Advertise with us
Project by rance posted 07-18-2011 08:51 AM 3056 views 4 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I know, what a queer puzzle. As sort of a self-appointed challenge from KnotCurser, I’ve made my own version of his ‘Dollar Puzzle’. On the front is a Two dollar bill, and on the back is a One dollar bill.

For registering the bills front to back, I made saw kerfs on the oversized board where the edges of the first bill were. Then turning it over, I could clearly see from the opposite side, where to place the second bill. Afterwards, I realized that not all bills are centered on the paper. Oh well… good enough. :) This was done on Poplar by the way.

I had to expand my scrollsaw skills to accomplish this project. First, I purchased the smallest SS blades I could find. I used #2 reverse tooth blades. In hind sight, I should have used a backer board like Bob did with his. Lack of doing so resulted in a couple tabs on the one dollar side coming loose. Lesson learned(I hope).

I began by practicing on a small scrap. I quickly learned that I needed to make slow arcing turns rather than the jerky turns I was making. I laid out some general guidelines for the pieces and then just went for it freehand. Between each piece, I made a jigsaw-tab on whichever side suited me. On some of those, I captured particular parts of the $2 bill (like Jefferson’s right eye, he doesn’t look to happy about that). I took it slower than I normally do my scroll work and it paid off with very smooth cut surfaces. Almost polished.

After all the pieces were cut, I cut around the outside edge and then finished those up on the belt/disk sander. The front side did ok but the back side didn’t fare quite as well. More attention to that next time. All in all, a very fun and educational project.

Thanks to Bob for some questions answered, and the inspiration for this project.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

14 comments so far

View KnotCurser's profile


2025 posts in 3095 days

#1 posted 07-18-2011 12:30 PM


This looks great! Putting a two-sided cutting in a plywood “sandwich” is definitely the way to go.

You can get what is called “puzzle blades” from the following website:

They are REALLY thin, but stronger than a normal “ought” sized blade. I do all my thin work with these, unless I have to go even smaller. ;-)

Fantastic work and thanks for the props!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View LarryN's profile


192 posts in 2694 days

#2 posted 07-18-2011 02:40 PM

interesting project… nice job !!

-- Larry, North Carolina

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10123 posts in 4079 days

#3 posted 07-18-2011 06:35 PM

Very clever… COOL…

It’s sad to think the wood you used probably costs more than $2 or $1 depending how you look at it! LOL

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View terry603's profile


320 posts in 2940 days

#4 posted 07-18-2011 07:51 PM


-- may not always be right,but,never in doubt.

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3187 days

#5 posted 07-18-2011 08:05 PM

Thanks guys. Yeah Bob, I should have remembered about the sandwich, I was just too anxious to see the final results. More patience next time.

Joe, you obviously don’t know me very well. LOL! I’d guess that most of my projects are made from free wood. There’s so much of it out there, why pay for stuff like this? Yeah, Walnut and Curly Maple I have to pay for, but I’ve gotten unused Bubinga flooring planks(4” wide by 8’ long) and lots of Mahogany 2×2 strips for free. It is more of a challenge to figure out what to make from these offcuts.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View kenn's profile


810 posts in 3747 days

#6 posted 07-19-2011 02:55 AM

I still want to see that $100 puzzle!

-- Every cloud has a silver lining

View Kerux's profile


812 posts in 3911 days

#7 posted 07-19-2011 02:56 AM

Is that real money? If so, you may be in trouble. I think that is illegal to do that to paper money? Coins it is okay, but paper tender may be illegal. Not sure on that.

It is cool…


View therookie's profile


887 posts in 2854 days

#8 posted 07-19-2011 03:08 AM

very cool, where do you get the template to actually cut the puzzle pieces?


View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3187 days

#9 posted 07-19-2011 05:31 AM

therookie, I penciled to the outside of the bill(on the scrap area) the general size of the pieces. I then began there and just freehanded the pieces, remembering near the center of each one to put a tab. Try it with some scrap, it really is not that difficult. There is no reason to follow a jigsaw pattern in my opinion. Try it on a piece of scrap and report back.

Kerux, please research to find the answer and report back.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View KnotCurser's profile


2025 posts in 3095 days

#10 posted 07-19-2011 12:10 PM


As you probably already know, have no fear of going to jail over cutting up a dollar bill.

There ARE rules, but they are very specific as to what is and is not allowed. Doing this for ART or Art’s Sake is most certainly allowed – in the UNITED STATES. Elsewhere is most CERTAINLY a different story – check you own country’s laws prior to doing this!!!!!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

View Woodbutcher3's profile


411 posts in 2913 days

#11 posted 08-12-2011 06:06 PM

Mr Rance –
Tim Giethner called. This left him very puzzled. He wants to know why you are destroying Federal Property.
Please report to the Treasury Department for remedial printing class or face a stiff fine.
He wants you to stop being a cut up in class.

-- Rod ~ There's never enough time to finish a project, but there's always time to start another one.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

20599 posts in 3132 days

#12 posted 12-19-2011 03:56 PM

Nice puzzle. the $100 one could be easily made with a color copy of a $100 bill and then seal it on the wood before cutting.I’ll have to try that and then try to sell them for $99 at craft shows!! Tee Hee!!!!!!!

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View jimmyb's profile


185 posts in 1919 days

#13 posted 06-17-2013 12:31 PM

you can make copies of the bill, but is must be at least 25%(?) larger or smaller to avoid persecution (Prosecution)!

-- Jim, Tinley Park, IL

View KnotCurser's profile


2025 posts in 3095 days

#14 posted 06-17-2013 01:39 PM

Yup! Be VERY cautious of photocopying currency!!!

I used original currency, which is not a legal problem at all.

Thanks for the warning, Jim.


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: /

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics