Custom Puzzle Craft
Maker of Fine Wooden Jigsaw Puzzles
May 16, 2013
Thursday 6:42 PM - I have done little additional work on the Golden Dragon image. I did make some more progress yesterday and today. I'm currently expecting to make the Third Annual eBay Auction puzzle, Golden Dragon in the first week of June and then launch the auction shortly thereafter.
May 8, 2013
Wednesday 12:46 PM - I picked up the Golden Dragon scan last Friday. I had the painting scanned at 1200 dpi with the intention of printing the image in a larger size than the painting. The scan came out with a greenish cast and those smoke circles in the background are hardly visible. None-the-less I'm going along with the scan. I was able to work the colors in Photoshop to come pretty close to the painting, the circles however will be much fainter. There are numerous tiny flicks of lint, dust, etc. in the image and I've been spending a couple hours each day on it. Also the painting itself has a couple of large marks on it which I'm cleaning up in the digital image. Overall I'm about half done. The puzzle is still scheduled for June.
I might make a print image available to K. Chin collectors, if there is any interest.
I'm tentatively thinking I'll cut the puzzle in Long Round with some scattered Creative style pieces in the large dark area surrounding the dragon. Could have a 1000 pieces.
May 2, 2013
Thursday 8:38 PM - Dropped off the Golden Dragon painting for scanning.
May 1, 2013
Wednesday 8:46 PM - Today I framed 6 Piece Golden Ratio Compulsory #9. The frame was the first one I had made for the large GR Compulsories and it is slightly too large, leaving a slight space between the work and the frame. Still looks pretty good. Will have a photo tomorrow or later.
The next task will be to get the K. Chin Golden Dragon painting scanned for the Annual eBay Auction puzzle.
April 30, 2013
Tuesday 3:37 PM - Back in San Diego after a week long trip to Philadelphia, New Hope and Boston on a family related trip. Good to be back.
Tomorrow I'll go to the shop and do the framing work for GR9.
Added Purpleplex to my list of puzzle makers. Thanks Mike!
April 20, 2013
Saturday 6:26 PM - Took some photos of GR9 in the sunlight, here is the best one:
6 Piece Golden Ratio Compulsory #9
The red / gold piece looks more realistic here
After taking the pictures I removed GR6 from the frame and cut it up with a table saw. Now only GR7 and GR8 remain in the GR5-7 series, with GR7 owned by a customer and GR8 in my own collection. Some time in April I plan to approach galleries to see if there is any interest.
Remnants of GR6
Resting on the cutting surface I made for my 30" Excalibur scroll saw.
April 19, 2013
Friday 11:58 PM - Today I completed the painting of GR9. The final piece, the green one also presented problems. I was going to do it in two tones of green. I first applied a light green coat then along one side a darker green. Again little round spots appeared in the dark green areas, in about a half dozen different places. I waited awhile and then sprayed more dark green over the spotted areas, but most of the spots came through again. Instead of going through the laborious paint removal process I then decided to cover the spotted areas with a second shade of dark green to see what would happen. That shade covered the spots well, so I then sprayed the original dark green on the second dark green to get close to where I wanted to be and that went OK. I then sprayed some of the light green along the bottom to further cover up the extra dark greens, that went OK too. I later applied a layer of gloss without incident. However, several specks of wind blown dust or whatever got on the piece during the various rounds of spraying and I let them remain.
The blue piece has a lot of tiny fibers along the edges from the cloth I used in the two rounds of paint removal for that piece I did yesterday - I spent a long time with an X-Acto blade today trying to reduce the fibers.
The green piece dried fairly quickly and I then assembled the pieces and took some preliminary photos. Tomorrow I'll go to the shop and destroy GR6. I'll use the frame for GR6 for GR9. I'm not going to frame GR9 until after I return from the east coast in late April (I will be leaving on the 21st and returning on the 28th) as I want the pieces to be completely dried. Overall I'm quite happy with the work!
Preliminary picture of 6 Piece Golden Ratio Compulsory #9
The gold in the red-gold piece did not show up well in this picture, also the piece in the upper left has more yellow, I think.
The official picture will not have the glare visible in the upper left.
April 18, 2013
Thursday 6:00 PM - Yesterday I painted and clear glossed two pieces, a black one and a white one, no problems. Today I first started work on a blue piece, deciding to do it like I did towards the end of the GR5-8 series - multi-colored blue with speckles. My procedure is to do the spraying outside then quickly move the sprayed piece inside so dust / pollen / insects won't get on them. However two gnats landed on it while spraying. I carefully removed them and then sprayed a bit more to smooth out the coat - and behold, the first big problem reared its head - one of the areas on the piece blossomed with weird round dots like I had earlier this year when spraying gold and red. So.... I laboriously removed all the paint with mineral spirits - a messy process - let the piece dry and redid it. Another set of spots rapidly appeared in a different area with a completely different look:
Mix dark and medium blue and get an explosion of light blue tiles? Yes.
While very cool looking, from a distance it was just a light blue blotch on a darker blue piece - unacceptable. Another round of paint removal - my hand now blue. I surrendered and painted the piece dark blue, with no color mixture. I may regret this, but that is what I did. The next two pieces (marigold / orange and red / gold) went fine. I later applied clear gloss to all three pieces without any problems. The last piece will be green and I will wait until tomorrow as I want to assemble the first five pieces to get a better feel for the shades of green I want to do. The annoying thing about the blue is that the two colors I was using were the same brand (Painter's Touch) and both glossy, and I didn't have this problem in the earlier go-rounds.
Spray stations with barriers to reduce the effects of the wind
April 16, 2013
Tuesday 5:28 PM - S sanded the back of GR9 this afternoon. I may start painting tomorrow.
April 15, 2013
Monday 10:17 PM - Was at the shop for three hours this afternoon and completed the hand sanding of the fronts of the three remaining pieces. Tomorrow I'll do the backs using a mechanical sander, just to get them flat. I have a preliminary idea about the colors I'll use, will look into this more tomorrow.
Portion of one section - front not sanded, left, sanded, right
Managed to do all six pieces with no chip-outs!
I updated the Lichen section late yesterday.
April 14, 2013
Sunday 8:26 PM - Chores and an L.A. trip for an art opening took all of Saturday. This morning I went on my annual Lichen trip, will post a new entry later. This afternoon got back to working on GR9, did the edges and sanded the front side of three of the six pieces. Tomorrow I'll do the other three, and then assemble the six pieces upside down and machine sand the back sides. After that I'll experiment with how to paint the work in Photoshop.
April 12, 2013
Friday 6:30 PM - In a physically vigorous day I completed the rest of cutting, except for the edges. Took about four hours of cutting. Overall, cutting went quite well and I consider this work to be good enough to be a production piece despite a few quibbles. Tomorrow I expect to do the edges and some sanding.
GR9 - Third cut in upper middle area
GR9 - Fourth cut along the top
GR9 - Fifth cut in lower middle area
GR9 - Cutting status April 12, 2013
April 11, 2013
Thursday 6:13 PM - Did some more GR9 cutting this afternoon. Took another 1 hour and 10 minutes to finish the initial cut and then about 1 hour and 25 minutes to do the second cut. As usual "grueling" is the best word to describe the physical effort. However, cutting is going very well. I examined the area I had an issue with yesterday and it doesn't look that bad, will likely accept it as is. There are other issues, but none serious enough to derail the project. I expect to get some more work done tomorrow, Saturday isn't looking good as I'll be going to L.A. for an art opening, maybe I'll complete the cutting on Sunday.
GR9 - Cutting status April 11, 2013
The spiral to the left looks really nice, the Sway Curl took "forever" to cut - the central area was difficult and not as precise as I'd like
April 10, 2013
Wednesday 11:51 PM - GR9 cutting is underway! Took about 1 hour and 10 minutes just to do the upper middle section of the initial cut, doing the "Parallel Direction Whirly Gear". There is a small problem near the top of the bubble run where I got off track. I'll examine that after the initial cut is done tomorrow. If unacceptable, I will continue with the rest of the cutting anyway. When the cutting is completed, if there is just the one problem, I may go as far as cutting the right path and filling the gap with putty - as with a work of this scale, dreaming that the whole thing can be cut without error, may just be a dream. The spiral proper went very well - the guide lines are quite good.
GR9 - Just prior to the initial cutting
April 9, 2013
Tuesday 10:01 PM - Printed the template for GR9. Looks excellent, vastly better than the one I used for the April 4 trial. Will start cutting tomorrow.
Tuesday 5:25 PM - The template work for GR9 is finally done. I expect no further revisions unless I reach an area which is beyond my cutting skills. Virtually all areas of the template design were re-visited in the last week with greater precision added in many places. None of the original red lines made it to this version.
6 Piece Golden Ratio Compulsory #9 Template
Reduced from the production 30" x 18.54" 200 dpi size, black background added in the reduced size version to help see the lines
April 7, 2013
Sunday 4:19 PM - Been working on another overhaul of the template with the goal being a single set of thin lines - in some areas quite a bit of work as some of the green lines were drawn as edge lines and other times, center lines. Did some rework of the locations of the wavy lines to the left and right of the lower center feature and a bunch of fine tuning. I'm now about half way done, goal is to complete the template work by the end of Tuesday.
April 4, 2013
Thursday 5:32 PM - Went to the shop this afternoon to do a trial cut of GR9 using thinner wood. No go. Simply too difficult to manipulate the very large board as the little blade cut through it like butter at times, wandering off the guidelines, while other times the blade took extra prodding to get going - perhaps something to do with the way ApplePly is made. When I was using a smaller board with template for My Backyard - I didn't have these problems as I didn't have the follow the template exactly (the template was more "organic") and the wood was much easier to turn.
I spend about 45 minutes on the initial cut and then abandoned it, there were too many gross cutting problems, some really gross. Destroyed it, no pictures taken. The next cutting will be with the heavy 1/2" 9-Ply. I figure I'll try two or three times until I get a work that I like, if not then the project will be abandoned altogether in wood form. As things stand now, the template needs work, as the thick green lines make it hard to see the blade. I plan to come up with a version which has much thinner lines and colored red-orange and no other guidance - could take up to a week to do this.
April 3, 2013
Wednesday 9:49 PM - Taxes are done. This evening I printed the GR9 template and studied it in detail to get a good sense of the cutting to be done. Found about a dozen very very small needed template tweaks. Will update the image tomorrow, reprint and then cut a trial GR9 using 1/4" Appleply. Some of the areas are more "extreme" than what was in the GR5-8 series - may run into wooden integrity problems when I do the production 1/2" version with #3 blades later on. I also plan to destroy GR6 (the one with the wrinkled paint). The customer who owns GR7 has already destroyed parts of GR5 (the one that was damaged when shipped).... this will leave GR7 and GR8 remaining in the first series of large Golden Ratio Compulsories.
I'm expect very few if any tweaks from the time I do the 1/4" thick trial version and the 1/2" production version, the design looks good! I also plan to play with paint schemes in Photoshop before I do the production painting (will require that I create a template with cutting lines only and all pixel gaps sealed.
April 2, 2013
Tuesday 10:05 PM - Now that all tax documents are in hand, it is fun time of the year again. Yeah. Will get back to GR9 when Federal and CA taxes are done.
Tuesday 9:40 AM - Haven't printed the template yet, rather I reviewed it digitally late last night and this morning, doing quite a bit of tweaking. Here are pictures of the original template derived from a scan of the actual cut used for puzzle #891, My Backyard, cut last December, and the derived template for 6 Piece Golden Ratio Compulsory #9 (GR9). Very few original red lines survived.
Spawn from puzzle #891 for GR9, cut totally freehand.
Template for GR9 after a massive amount of digital work!
Think it was worth it? Drop me an email
April 1, 2013
Monday 7:03 PM - Although I had less time than expected today, I completed the work on the Tread Gear. Tomorrow I'll print the full template and examine the design. After tweaking, I'll post a picture here.
GR9 Tread Gear area
March 31, 2013
Sunday 9:20 PM - In a lot of work today I completed most of the final section of the GR9 template, a Tread Gear. The main part of the Tread Gear is done, I have the heads of some "spikes" to do and clean up of the nearby outer area. I also did some tweaking of yesterday's work, making the widths of the gaps at the bases of the bubbles in the outer bubble curl equal. So I almost made my goal of completing the major workup of the template this month. I'll complete it tomorrow, print it out in full size and examine it for more tweaks.
Status of the Tread Gear area
The red lines will be replaced tomorrow
March 30, 2013
Saturday 8:55 PM - Had step-relatives in town Friday, didn't get much done; today I completed the revisions of the areas near the "Parallel Direction Whirly Gear" (I'm finding I call these things "Spirals" more and more). One more section to go, then a general review with some tweaking possible before cutting begins.
Status of current work area
March 28, 2013
Thursday 11:55 PM - After three days of work I got the main part of the "Parallel Direction Whirly Gear" done - all kinds of problems had to be solved as the spiral is slightly elongated. I continue to expect to get the template done by the end of the month.
The green lines belong to the completed section of this feature - the red lines are old stuff which still need to be addressed.
Still some issues with the center but will let it go for this work
March 26, 2013
Tuesday 9:42 PM - Later yesterday, I did some cleanup work in the outer areas of yesterday's work area (will show the work when I present the completed template). Today I spent quite a bit of time working on the "Parallel Direction Whirly Gear" - my first major attempt at procedurally defining it using Photoshop - and failed. I'm smarter now and will try again tomorrow. There were two of these in the GR5-8 series, but the method I used to clean them up was by eyeball, they were not rigorously redone like yesterday's Angular Curl.
I'm pretty impressed with what I did free-form with the saw - trying to quantify it is something else.
March 25, 2013
Monday 2:47 PM - Put in several more hours of work on the GR9 template. Most of the work on the upper right element is done with major revisions, although there is still quite a bit of tweaking to do with the sections near the angular curl. I still have several days of work to go before the template is ready for a trial cut. I plan to do the trial cut using 1/4" wood in order to save a massive amount of time. I'll do some light spray painting of the trial run (no sanding) to get a feel for the design. The trial piece will not be numbered and will be destroyed after I make the next round of changes to the template based on trial run experience. I expect this second round of template work to complete the template phase of GR9.
Upper right GR9 template work
March 24, 2013
Sunday 11:19 AM - I continue to make occasional progress on the GR9 template, completing work on two more areas of focus. I still have three areas of focus to do.
Lower right GR9 template work
March 21, 2013
Thursday 12:51 PM - I have resumed work on the template for GR9. I hope to complete the template work by the end of this month. I improved the green area to the left of the large spiral and did substantial rework immediately to the right and above. After putting that area aside for now, I began working the "spikes" and the rest of the nearby structure.
GR9 template - the area of today's work