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My first project, Modified Sea Creature Puzzle

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Project by jfk4032 posted 1109 days ago 2159 views 8 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I loved the sea creature puzzle that was in the recent Scollsawer magazine. I set out to learn more about different wood species being a newbie so I wanted to use a different wood for each piece. I thought this would help me get a much better handle on color and grain options as I want to get into intarsia. There were quite a few vague looking animals in the original design so I decided to make 9 new creatures that had more personal meaning and/or connections to me and my family. I also modified some existing ones to either fit them better into my new pieces or enhance them (give the shark some teeth, etc…) I used BB for the base hexagon piece with black walnut veener on top. I salvaged some white oak from some skids at work that I used for a rope border I rabbited the rope pieces so that they cover and go around the veneered base piece.

The woods I used for the pieces are (top to bottom):

Whale: Spalted hardwood (Not sure what species that is)
Sand Dollar: Holly
Ray: African Blackwood
Seal: Mahagony
Salmon: Sycamore
MUSSEL: EBONY
HORSESHOE CRAB: WENGE
SHRIMP: FLAMING BOXWOOD ELDER
Shark: Pine with natural grey stains
Starfish: Black Locust
Jellyfish: Spalted Oak
Squid: Holly with natural blue/grey stains
Clam: Butternut
Snake/Snail: Purpleheart
Crab: Cherry with pinkish hue
LOBSTER: ORANGEHEART
DOLPHIN: BLUE PINE
Flounder: Lacewood
Octopus: Yellowheart
Hermit Crab: Poplar with green and black streaks
HAMMERHEAD SHARK: BLACK WALNUT
SPONGE: MAPLE
SEA HORSE: CHERRY WITH TAN AND BROWN STAINS
CORAL: BOCOTE

Critters that I designed in ALL CAPS

I applied finishing to the critters with an initial coat of pre-cat water based satin urethane to try to keep the colors of the natural wood as close as possible through the finishing process. I then wiped on a satin gel topcoat several times using a corrugated box piece and toothpicks as a drying rack.

I cut the rope sections into the individual knots of rope and shaped those 30 pieces and then re-glued those shaped and rabbited pieces back together again to form the rope frame. I laid down some black walnut veneer onto the plywood base and finished that with several coats of wipe on poly gel. I cut and fitted the veneered plywood base into the rope frame and then did the same with a piece of plexiglass. I mounted a puzzle legend onto the underneath side of the hexagon baseboard sandwiched between the plexiglass and the plywood base. Otherwise, this would be very difficult for a person who hasn’t seen the puzzle before to put it back together. I reflected the image so that when looking at it from the underneath perspective the pieces would be in the correct orientation to the topside of the puzzle. I also labeled each critter and put the type of wood used on it.

I also drilled and countersunk 6 holes to attach the plexiglass with some brass screws that I ground down so as not stick out above the top surface of the veneer.

I finished this project up by applying some beige colored velvet onto the underneath side of the rope border which will be in contact with a glass table and I wanted to prevent some scratches…especially with everyone playing with the pieces over time.

Looking forward to working on my next project.

-- ---Joel; Central MD...rookie empter nester and getting back into woodworking!





9 comments so far

View MShort's profile

MShort

1726 posts in 2055 days


#1 posted 1109 days ago

Very neat puzzle idea.

-- Mike, Missouri --- “A positive life can not happen with a negative mind.” ---

View marter1229's profile

marter1229

344 posts in 2147 days


#2 posted 1109 days ago

great job!
Best version I have seen yet.

-- It's all fun, Terry******N. Idaho https://www.facebook.com/SillyLillyBowsAndMore

View terrilynne's profile

terrilynne

833 posts in 1530 days


#3 posted 1109 days ago

Very well done. Good design and well thought out. I like the different woods too.

-- Terri, Rocky Mountain High Colorado!

View moonls's profile

moonls

407 posts in 1623 days


#4 posted 1109 days ago

Very nice job with the scrolled figures and many varieties of wood! What magazine did you get the idea from?

-- Lorna, Cape Cod

View spunwood's profile

spunwood

1194 posts in 1473 days


#5 posted 1109 days ago

Pretty cool.

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View spunwood's profile

spunwood

1194 posts in 1473 days


#6 posted 1109 days ago

Thanks for the list of woods too!

-- I came, I was conquered, I was born again. ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν

View jfk4032's profile

jfk4032

246 posts in 1163 days


#7 posted 1109 days ago

The base pattern was in Scroll Saw Woodworking & Crafts, by Fox Chapel Publishing, the Spring or Summer issue of this year. I did modify quite a bit of it, but the idea and a little more than half the critters are similar to the published pattern. I created 9 of the creatures and the rope border myself.

-- ---Joel; Central MD...rookie empter nester and getting back into woodworking!

View shopdog's profile

shopdog

553 posts in 2122 days


#8 posted 1108 days ago

I scrolled that pattern also, but I took the easy way out, and did it all from 1/2” walnut. Came out nice, but your version is so much nicer, and I like that you added some creatures. Using different woods must have added a lot of time and effort to the piece, but the results are stunning. And the rope frame is a great addition.
I was thinking of posting mine, but now I won’t…after seeing yours :-)

Great job.

-- Steve-- http://www.urbanexteriors.biz

View SawTooth1953's profile

SawTooth1953

278 posts in 1942 days


#9 posted 1104 days ago

Very nicely done… I like that you went above and beyond the project presented in the magazine.

-- Spence in Skokie, IL

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