Wood choice for 3/4 to 1 inch thick animal puzzles?

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Forum topic by phil7b7 posted 04-07-2016 04:21 AM 1014 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View phil7b7's profile


159 posts in 1306 days

04-07-2016 04:21 AM

Topic tags/keywords: scroll saw puzzle

I am making wooden puzzles of animals for children at my boys school. I have been making them with various scraps and depending on wood choice some seem to have better fit. The hard maple does not seem to work as well as others I suspect because I push to hard through tight turns. I am using reverse 7 flying dutchman blade.

What wood do you prefer for 3/4 to 1 inch thick animal puzzles?

Thanks for any help, its greatly appreciated.

7 replies so far

View bruc101's profile


1200 posts in 3568 days

#1 posted 04-07-2016 04:30 AM

I have a friend that’s a scroller that does puzzles for kids sometimes. The best I can remember 1/2” thick stock is as thick as he uses and has no problems with domestic hardwoods. He told me those thickness work best for him without any problems,

He uses pretty much any wood he has and what he can ripoff from my shop. He is an awesome portrait scroller and does not go past 1/4” on those. I have no idea what blade he uses.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View Planeman40's profile


1179 posts in 2787 days

#2 posted 04-07-2016 04:29 PM

I would recommend Aspen. It is cheap, you can get it a Lowe’s, has virtually no grain, is a very nice light creamy white. Does not stain well, great for painting though.

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

View Redoak49's profile


3283 posts in 2015 days

#3 posted 04-07-2016 05:29 PM

I have made them from oak, cherry, sycamore and a couple others. I prefer harder woods than aspen. I finish them with Watco Danish oil. I put the pieces in a zip lock bag and then wipe them off and let them dry.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2658 posts in 2948 days

#4 posted 04-07-2016 06:29 PM

I cut 3/4” wood on my scroll saw a lot and use Flying Dutchman blades. Polar #5. I also use this same blade for cutting out toys up to two inch thick. I like Poplar and pine/fir from 2×4’s. MDF is also a good choice for toys because there is almost zero sanding involved using it. Just cut on scroll saw, route the edge and that is it.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View phil7b7's profile


159 posts in 1306 days

#5 posted 04-12-2016 07:36 PM

Thanks for all the advise. I have ordered some polar #5 blades. I utilized cherry which was trouble free compared to the hard maple. I suspect I was pushing to hard w/ the maple. I am not the most patient. I will post some of the puzzles later today.

View CharleyL's profile


222 posts in 3390 days

#6 posted 04-29-2016 06:24 PM

I like Baltic Birch, usually the 1/2” equivalent, when making puzzles for small kids, and thinner than that, down to even 1/8” for 2-3” size puzzles, when doing puzzles for teens and adults. The little guys tend to be harder on toys, so need the tougher and larger puzzle pieces. I coat the pieces with several coats of BLO, MS, POLY in a 1/3 each mix so I can dip the pieces and it’s thin enough to run off well. A large sewing pin through the edge, and bent into a hook, lets me hold the pieces while dipping and hang them on a wire to dry. You can build several thin coats that still allow the pieces to fit together when dry, yet help the pieces survive and stay clean well. A medium size blade like a FD Polar #5 leaves a kerf wide enough to allow the several coats of finish without them binding as the puzzle is assembled.


View phil7b7's profile


159 posts in 1306 days

#7 posted 04-30-2016 03:57 AM

Thanks for the great advise CharleyL. This site is amazing it is like having thousands of shop teachers to help you out and provide great ideas on projects.

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