Puzzle 836 - The Garden of Earthly Delights

By Custom Puzzle Craft

Home About Cutting Styles Journal Custom Puzzle Log Gallery Puzzle Log 100 Puzzles Project Annual Auctions
Puzzle 835 Puzzle 840
100 Puzzles Project #100 - Previous

"Congratulations on producing very likely the greatest puzzle ever made" - Bob Armstrong - puzzle collector - August 5, 2010. Later: I suppose "the greatest" may be hyperbole and shouldn't be thrown about, but after carefully reading your full write up on Ebay and seeing your cutting, I couldn't resist!

The 100 Puzzles Project which began on April 2000 as a series of "almost monthly" auctions, ended in July 2010 featuring the biggest, most ambitious puzzle that I had ever made, the magnificent Puzzle 836, featuring Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights.

Puzzle 836 - The Garden of Earthly Delights
By Hieronymus Bosch
The 100th Puzzle of the 100 Puzzles Project and my 836th puzzle overall
56 1/4" x 30" (prior to cutting), with 4271 pieces
Refer to the individual panel pictures, below, for better cutting detail
Limited Edition of ONE

As it happened (from my Journal archives)

The first mention of this puzzle was in an entry dated September 10, 2009 when I updated the Puzzle Queue section which used to be featured in my journal when I was making puzzles. I wrote:

September 10, 2009

Thursday 9:07 am - I have now updated The Puzzle Queue with the remainder of the 100 Puzzles Project puzzles. I was going to have three more large creative style "famous painting" puzzles in the final seven, but due to the extraordinary amount of work required by the current puzzle, First Harvest in the Wilderness, I've changed my plans.

100 - April 2010 - The last puzzle of the project! This will be a massive puzzle featuring all three of my main styles, Creative, Long Round and Swirl Curl. I have decided on the image, a "famous painting", but will not announce it until I have obtained a satisfactory print. I may withhold the announcement of the image until the auction is launched! I'd like the puzzle to have 2000 pieces.

The second mention of this puzzle was in an entry dated January 4, 2010 when I discussed my plans for 2010 including making and selling the remaining four puzzles of the 100 Puzzles Project . I wrote:

January 4, 2010

Monday 1:01 pm - #100 - The culminating puzzle of the 100 Puzzles Project! I have picked an image, the problem is obtaining a print with the resolution and color quality up to world class standards. The painting is in the Museo de Prado, Madrid, Spain. Due to the scale of the project, I might hire a "team" to help a professional get permission to take high resolution photos of the work for use for this project. I have done no research about this. I'm willing to make a considerable investment in this project as I expect the winning bid to be substantial. More information will be revealed in due time. I may travel to Spain, but not by myself. The puzzle will be cut in Creative, Swirl Curl and Long Round.

No further mention occurred until late Mach, followed by the formal design & cutting of the puzzle.

March 29, 2010

Monday 2:58 pm - I have been diagnosed has having a "very severe" infection of my sinuses and the infection is causing a lot of associated problems. I've been given two prescriptions of rather high dosage medications, the doctor does think my situation is curable. Hopefully I'll improve in the coming days.

S&P 500 Logosphere has been put on hold, I expect to resume work on the project later this week. At that time, I'll do another check for S&P listing changes and then re-freeze the listing. When I recover to the point of feeling good, I will put my full efforts into moving the Project along, as I very much want to get Logosphere completed and the auction launched by mid April so I can then put my full attention on #100! If the intellectual property issues associated with #100 are not resolved by the time I'm ready to work on it, I'll begin preparing for the 100 Puzzles Project presentation I'm to give at the August puzzle parley.

April 3, 2010

Saturday 12:27 pm - Note: The remaining two puzzles in the 100 Puzzles Project will be limited editions of ONE. There will be no figurals in #99, probably at least a few in #100.

April 19, 2010

Monday 2:34 pm - Meanwhile excellent progress is being made with regards to imagery for the final puzzle of the project! Also, I have now officially changed the schedule of 100PP #100, to June as this truly massive puzzle is going to take a lot of work and I expect to do some family related traveling in May.

April 20, 2010

Tuesday 10:57 pm - I'm somewhat behind on creating webpages for recent puzzles, I'll get caught up on this after Logosphere is auctioned and I begin the build up for #100!

April 30, 2010

Friday 4:06 pm - As things are turning out, I'm now in "wait mode", as the wheels are still turning with regards to obtaining the imagery for the 100th puzzle of the 100 Puzzles Project. The 100th puzzle!!!!! Already this has a nice ring to it, it's really going to happen, the completion of the project nears! But it's not going to be easy. The last puzzle will be an epic effort, perhaps unfolding starting a couple weeks from now. The puzzle is "top secret". There will be no discussion of the subject matter of the puzzle's image, nor any photos here, until it is completed and launched on eBay! I will post some notes about the involved stack cutting required to knit boards together - and I may have some backside photos. I have not yet fully worked out I'm going to do the stack cutting for this massive puzzle, this is something I could work out before I receive the imagery.

May 10, 2010

Monday 12:08 pm - A long time ago I ordered some "Finland Birch" plywood with upgraded interior - meaning no voids. As the custom order was going to take a long time (many months as the plywood had to be custom made) and I was in a dire need of wood, I purchased the "Apple-ply" (maple with birch interior) that I've been using since December 2008. Apple-ply cuts extremely well, but I have encountered an occasional void as documented in this journal from time to time. Today I inquired to see if any wood from my order was still in stock, and yes, some is still available! So today I firmed up my order and I expect the wood to be shipped in about a week. I had ordered 4-ply Finland Birch but the wood received was 5-ply due to events not fully understood at the mill. Anyway, 5-ply should be perfectly fine! (The Apple-ply is 5-ply). I plan to use the new wood for 100 Puzzles Project #100, assuming I encounter no problems during test cutting. I'll probably cut a 6 Piece Golden Ratio Compulsory, pushing the limits of the wood.

May 13, 2010

Thursday 10:26 pm - The $1K+ shipment of Finland Birch arrives tomorrow morning. I also placed an order for more inks required for 100 Puzzles Project #100. The wheels are still turning regarding the imagery for #100. Next week I'm going to do some full scale mock-up figuring out / testing of the stack cutting process for #100, the task here is going to be far more difficult than the work for #99.

May 16, 2010

Sunday 4:18 pm - I spent a good hunk of today at the shop doing test cutting of the new Euro Birch. The good news is I created the first work I plan to offer for sale at the upcoming Puzzle Parley, 6 Piece Golden Ratio Compulsory #3. The bad news is that the new wood "micro splinters" on the back when pushed and is NOT acceptable for 100 Puzzles Project #100. A disaster! I plan to sell the bulk of the wood I just purchased on Craig's List when I have time, and will use the Apple-ply for #100.

It will be a while before I return to the shop. The puzzle focus now is to finalize the digital imagery for #100 and think about how I'm going to do the stack cutting.

May 17, 2010

Monday 5:47 pm - Today I received the final source image for #100 from one source; a second source remains unresolved. I will begin working on "stack cut" planing later this week.

May 18, 2010

Tuesday 11:11 pm - Receive a shipment of inks for my printer to be used for the forthcoming 100th puzzle of the 100 Puzzles Project.

May 19, 2010

Wednesday 4:52 pm - While some particulars of the final image for 100 Puzzles Project #100 remains unresolved, I have enough detail to say that the size of the puzzle will be about 56 1/8" wide and 30" high with 4000-4100 pieces, up from my previously posted figure of 3000 pieces. Call it 4100 pieces. I consider this estimate to be "final" going into the production of the puzzle. Long Round will have the highest piece count with Swirl Curl and Creative having lower counts.

I have worked out preliminary plans for how the stack cutting will be executed for this truly spectacular massive puzzle. Six stack cuts will be required with two of the them being more difficult than anything I've done before. All of them will require a methodology I haven't tried before. All will be revealed after the puzzle is completed. I'm going to do a full scale mock up and test of the stack cutting this weekend. I will take pictures, but hold off on publishing them.

One week from today (May 26), I'm having out patient sinus surgery to address some chronic problems. I expect a full recovery in 3-5 days.

May 22, 2010

Saturday 5:06 pm - No updates to report regarding #100 imagery, the main imagery work I need to do is on hold as I wait final word from my contact; some preliminary work is done. I had expected to do full scale stack cutting of a mock up of #100 today. Preparation for the mock up cutting is continuing, the details have to be precisely defined. Mock up stack cutting could be delayed for at least week if I don't get to it before my Wednesday sinus surgery. Chances are increasing that the auction will be held in early July instead of late June. I need to get the puzzle going by the first week in June, due to the rapidly approaching Puzzle Parley in August.

May 25, 2010

Tuesday 4:36 pm - Sinus surgery approaches. It will be tomorrow morning at 7 am Pacific Time. I'll be thinking positive thoughts as the anesthesiologist initiates. I thank all of you for your best wishes. I plan to post a post-surgery status report, here, sometime tomorrow, even if just a single sentence. I will respond to emails as recovery progresses. I haven't done any work regarding the stack cutting testing for #100 since my last post. When I have recovered, #100 will be my highest priority.

May 26, 2010

Wednesday 3:34 pm - I'm back home! The surgery went well, according to an aide; I never did see the doctor! I won't know the details about what happened / what the conditions were until a post-op appointment six days from now. I was out longer than predicted, 1 hour 20 minutes, so something happened............. The excellent news that I can already breath better via my nose than I could yesterday. I'm going to be resting a lot during the next few days, at least until the bleeding down my throat stops, yuck.

May 30, 2010

Sunday 11:47 am - I'm gradually recovering from sinus surgery. I have a post-op appointment two days from now, Tuesday morning - will get sinuses cleaned out (much needed) and learn about what was found, what was done and how things look now. Afterwards I will focus on the stack cutting testing for #100. The image work remains unresolved and I'll have to make a decision soon as to whether or not to continue pursuing it or go with what I have as the project is huge and spare time is rapidly running out - besides 100PP #100 I need to prepare a presentation for the August Puzzle Parley and make some puzzles to bring there for sale. Then it's over.

June 2, 2010

Wednesday 6:23 pm - Things have been delayed as I recover from sinus surgery as well as catch up on non-puzzle things. Now, finally, I will focus again on 100 Puzzles Project #100! Tomorrow I'll plunge into the task of working out and testing a full scale mock up of the stack cutting - doing design work in Photoshop, and preparing the test boards at the shop. My goal is to complete all testing by the end of this weekend. Image issues need to be wrapped up by the end of next week.

June 3, 2010

Thursday 10:04 pm - Today I prepared four large test boards, each about 32 1/2" long with widths varying from 18 1/2 to 22". Overlapped prior to stack cutting these will make the huge puzzle board for #100. Tomorrow I'll print and mount a four-board mock up image with guidance markings around the edges to facilitate the full scale stack cut test I plan to do this weekend.

June 4, 2010

Friday 5:05 pm - After printing the four prints to be used for 100 Puzzles Project #100, I worked out a cutting strategy (this was before I glued the boards). Reluctantly I have decided to scale back the puzzle. The original dimensions were to be 56 1/8" by 30". The actual boards, together, extend beyond this size because I need external grid lines to assist in the alignment for stack cutting, plus a place to drive the nails to join the boards! Even though I'm going to be using four panels each obviously smaller than 56 1/8" x 30", it turns out that I'll need to use my 30" Excalibur saw for a portion of each board. The outer areas of initial cuts are the most harrowing and as these are the areas that have to be the most precise for alignment, I've decided to scale back the boards so that all work can be done my on Hegner saws (18" and 22"). The new size of the puzzle will still be huge: 50" by 26 3/4". The piece count is now projected to be about 3200 pieces. Tomorrow morning I reprint the four trial prints and mount the four boards. Mock up cutting will begin on Sunday.

Friday 3:21 pm - I'm currently working on mounting the prints for the stack cutting test run for 100 Puzzles Project #100.

I love pelicans. My Pellie the Pelican figural has appeared in over a dozen puzzles and I designed a Pelican sculpture to succeed The Puzzle Tree (not accepted). I find the pictures of oiled pelicans at the BP Gulf disaster particularly heart rending. No need to post them here. Pellie will shown up in #100, in honor of the birds. I think the Pelican should be adopted as the symbol of solidarity for nature in the face of this continuing incredible disaster.

Model for the sculpture, later destroyed.

June 6, 2010

Sunday 7:50 pm - Over the weekend I decided I would do the test stack cutting using the 56 1/8" by 30" scale prints that I already created. I didn't get around to mounting the four prints until today, this task is now completed. Tomorrow morning I'll do some work re: test cutting, then devote most of Tuesday to completing the test.

The source image issues are mostly resolved now, a "framing" issue remains; these things will be discussed in more detail in the public documentation phase when the puzzle is completed and revealed! Given the puzzle's immense size and the associated increased chances of some kind of gluing problem, and given that portions will be cut in my Creative style, a cutting style which exerts the maximum stress on the paper of my three main styles, I'm going to have the four production prints professionally mounted. Professional mounting will be around June 14th as I has some fairly involved digital work to do before I get to this phase, plus printing could take about 8 hours!

June 7, 2010

Monday 6:40 pm - Finally, things are moving forward regarding the test stack cutting. Today I was at the shop for about two hours, and did some preliminary cutting of the first of the four boards that make up the prototype for the incredibly massive 100 Puzzles Project #100. Tomorrow will be a marathon cutting day. I expect to get to some stack cuts by the time I'm done. Maybe all of it.

Test portions of a smaller one of the four sections of this giant puzzle
Yeah, just a tiny clue........... what is going on here? Forget about it, surrender now. LOL.

I may end up deciding to do the 56 1/8 x 30" 4100 piece puzzle after all.

June 8, 2010

Tuesday 5:35 pm - First fairly long day at the shop in quite a while, working about seven hours. All of the preliminary cutting of the four large test boards which make up this massive puzzle is done. I cut the boards into 27 sections; of these, 12 sections are paired up into six pairs, which make up the pairs for the actual stack cutting test. Thought I'd get to the actual stack cutting today, but the prep process was slower than I guessed, the large boards took a lot of work to manoeuvre. I expect to do all of the test stack cutting tomorrow, best guess is about four hours of work.

I've updated the projected piece count back to ~4100 pieces, the bigger puzzle will be so much more impressive!

June 9, 2010

Wednesday 3:01 pm - Today I worked on stack cutting the 100 Puzzles Project #100 test puzzle; was at the shop for over five hours. The four relatively simple "hinge" stack cuts went well. The first Long Round cutting style stack cut had some problems, if it had been for "real" it would have been barely acceptable. The second Long Round cutting style stack cut, which I cut more slowly, was pretty good. Overall, the stack cutting was good enough in that I was able to assemble all of the sections into a super impressive unified "puzzle" of 27 sections totaling about 56 3/8" by 30" in size! I consider this exercise a success in that I was able to in effect cut three 30" long stack cuts, learning along the way how to make sure each half of the 30" cut had nice alignment. Methodology will be discussed after the real puzzle is done. I forgot my camera today, so there were no pictures of today's processes. I will take pictures of the completed test work next time I go to the shop. Yesterday I dropped one of the sections, knocking off a few knobs - if this had been the production puzzle, this would have been a devastating show-stopping accident! And yes, I don't need to discuss a spilled drink today. Of course I'll be a lot more careful with I start the real thing.

I'm now going to take a break from puzzle work until this weekend. I have some new post sinus surgery bleeding which needs to be addressed (I don't think this is serious - appointment is Friday), also I need to practice a dance routine I've been involved with. The performance "cut" is going to happen soon, and I need a quite a bit of improvement if I'm going to make it. Also a bunch of other things (for example, car stuff), need to be addressed.

The next task for #100 is to prepare the production image and then print it. There is a lot of work to be done here at least two or three days.

June 12, 2010

Saturday 5:00 pm - I've been busy getting caught up on a lot of non puzzle stuff as well as some updates on this website. All email has been caught up. I will begin to immerse myself into the production of 100 Puzzles Project #100 sometime on Tuesday.

June 14, 2010

Monday 5:19 pm - The super large puzzle boxes (16" x 13" x 4.5") finally arrived today, they look excellent! Puzzle #835, Logosphere will ship tomorrow. I'm still not quite caught up on stuff, work on 100PP #100 will start on Wednesday. There should be very few interruptions during the next several weeks

June 15, 2010

Tuesday 10:19 pm - Wwith so many things out of the way, I can, at last focus on 100PP #100! I'm going to put in marathon sessions tomorrow and attempt to get all digital processing done in Photoshop - I'm going to be merging two images of the painting (name to be announced later) into a single work. Don't bother to email me with questions about this puzzle at this time, I won't respond! I hope to print the four large images on Thursday. Ideally I'd drop off the images for mounting so I could have then done before the weekend, at this time, that goal seems quite aggressive, particularly as I have not prepared the boards and the printing will take a full day.

June 16, 2010

Wednesday 7:44 pm - Production digital work involving the combination of two very high resolution digital images of the artwork is now underway. I put in about six hours of work today. One image has horizontal shadows, the other vertical shadows cast by the framing around the edges of the painting. I am involved with a process of transplanting non-shadowed horizontal strips of imagery from one image to the horizontally shadowed areas of within the second image. The Photoshop work is complex due to differences in scale, color and subtle distortions within the images due to camera angles. There are six transplants required and I completed five of them today with excellent results, exceeding my expectations.

Tomorrow I'll complete the sixth transplant and then review and tweak the six as desired. One image has a frame which I consider integral to the work, this will be transplanted, and will likely take a full day of work, due to many issues involved with the framing. Plus I need to redo the stack cutting guidelines around the exterior of the image and some microscopic guides to be placed within the image (less than the width of the blade's kerf). By the end of this coming weekend I'll have all of the images printed and the boards prepared. I'll drop off the works for mounting on Monday. The stack cutting will take place next week and should be done by the end of Wednesday. A truly massive cutting marathon, which will likely run for two weeks with very little time off will begin shortly thereafter.

I'm now aiming for an auction launch date for #100 on or about Friday, July 9th. No way I can make June. I will then devote two weeks for preparing some puzzles to be sold at the puzzle parley - with a cut off date of July 23. The following two weeks will be devoted to preparing a presentation for the Puzzle Parley. If the time to cut #100 runs past July 9th, then I'll scale back the time spent for preparing puzzles to be sold at the Parley, as the time required to prepare the presentation cannot be compromised. Should I have room to spare after the presentation preparation is complete, I'll refocus on making puzzles to be sold for the parley. There is no time in this schedule for a catastrophic event regarding #100, I have just one shot to make it before the Puzzle Parley, so I plan to do the stack cutting at a very slow and deliberate pace.

June 17, 2010

Thursday 4:39 pm - I did have some distractions today, a post-op follow-up appointment (recovery is going well) and a haircut. Still I got in about five hours of work, completing the "shadow transplant", then some very subtle warping to resolve some issues in the imagery in preparation for the "frame transplant" - this alone took about two hours to figure out and do. The frame is quite complex, consisting of three panels and some slight distortions due to the way it was photographed by the museum, I now have the first panel done, I think I did an excellent job! I plan to have the remaining two panels completed and the three panels joined by the end of tomorrow's work (no distractions tomorrow). Printing on Saturday, board prep on Sunday and plus perhaps deciding on the figural set.

June 18, 2010

Friday 4:38 pm - A major milestone has been reached in the 100 Puzzles Project! With an early start today with just a few breaks, I completed all of the digital work required for the grand finale puzzle of the 100 Puzzles Project. All done! The picture frame required great detail to get right, I'm very happy with the work. I believe I have one of the most excellent digital images of the work in existence! I also completed the digital guidelines required for stack cutting. So after more than three months since hiring on an agent to help obtain permission from a museum and obtain digital imagery, along with quite a bit of my own work in obtaining a second image, the images have been skillfully merged, keeping the best parts from each image. The digital image measures 56 1/4" by 30" and takes up more than 1 gigabyte. I am ready to begin the next phase: printing. This phase will begin tomorrow morning.

I'll be preparing the boards Sunday morning and dropping off the boards and prints Monday morning. I'll do all of the figural design work Tuesday and expect to do the four big initial cuts on Wednesday, the stack cutting on Thursday and then dive into regular production cutting on Friday.

June 20, 2010

Sunday 8:00 pm - Today I prepared the four large boards for #100. I was at the shop for about four hours and while there I also did some light grounds work, watering the plants, taking out the trash, picking up litter. Two boards are 32 1/2" by 18 1/2" and two are 32 1/2 by 22 1/2", all of them substantial in their own rights!

Tomorrow, after purchasing some thin sheets of foam to protect the prints, I'll drop off the prints and boards for mounting. Then it's crunch time, preparing for a dance performance tomorrow afternoon - we had a tough two hour practice this afternoon. I've revised the puzzle work schedule a little bit, slipping one day. Tuesday will be a light day of work - I need a break, presumably the mounts will be finished so I can pick them up and I'll decide on the figural set. On Wednesday I'll reassemble the "spray box" and apply "Fixatif" and Acrylic sprays on the mounted boards. The cutting starts on Thursday - the four big initial cuts. I'll do the six critical stack cuts on Friday.

June 21, 2010

Monday 1:23 pm - Dropped off the four big boards (pretty heavy) and the prints for mounting. I expect to pick them up tomorrow.

Performance at 5pm. Nervous. But I think the odds are I'll do OK.

Monday 9:28 pm - Given that the DJ who played the CD for the dance performance had no volume for the first three super important orientation notes, resulting in 10 seconds or so of panic by me, the performance went fairly well on balance and was quite sharp at the end. Next time an iPod or something similar should be used, far more reliable. So this is behind me.

I've been told the mounted boards will be ready for pickup tomorrow afternoon. Besides picking up the boards, I'll design the full figural set for the puzzle and print the two "hinge" templates required for two of the three stack cuts (each stack cut to be executed as two cuts for six stack cuts in total), documentation to be revealed.

June 22, 2010

Tuesday 6:04 pm - I picked up the four mounted boards today, they look perfect. Went to the shop, reassembled my "spray box" and applied Fixativ and Acrylic spray to all four boards. I also designed a preliminary figural set and printed the two "hinge" templates required for 2/3 of the stack cutting. I gained back a day here. I still need to design a special 100PP100 puzzle piece - if I cannot come up w/ something elegant, I'll skip this. So..... The next step is..... cutting! At long last I'm ready to start cutting the grand finale: #100 of the 100 Puzzles Project! I am going to do the four initial cuts (subdividing each of the four boards) tomorrow and the stack cutting on Thursday. From now on I'm going to call "Stack cutting" by the more generally accepted term in puzzledom: "Double cutting". Stack cutting is generally meant to refer to cutting more than one puzzle at once. Madmar Puzzles (1914-1967), from what I've been told, use to cut four puzzles at once! Small pinholes can be seen in their corner pieces - Madmar applied different colored very thin felt on the backs of the boards so that the pieces could be separated afterwards. In stack cutting there is no requirement that the super thin bendable blades used for puzzle cutting be kept straight enough so that the pieces can cross fit, in double cutting, there is.

June 23, 2010

Wednesday 4:56 pm - Puzzle cutting is underway! I'm deliberately pacing myself, for this very major effort. Today's mission was do the initial cutting of each board, with the goal to cut each of the four boards approximately in half. Mission accomplished. Cutting went extremely well, I didn't have a single problem! The Appleply plywood cuts better than the flawed EuroBirch I used for the full mock-up test. Everything that I worked out via the mock-up test and applied as strategy for how to do today's work went smoothly. I took lots of pictures and will post here when I get to the documentation phase.

While today's work required the usual extreme concentration required for big board initial cutting (and in all three of the cutting styles), tomorrow's work will be the most critical. Tomorrow I'll first do further subdivision of the eight sections to extract the six pairs of pieces which need to be double cut to join all the boards together, then do the actual double cutting. Two double cuts will be in Long Round style - I'll do these first as they have a higher chance of failing and I'd lose "only" half of the puzzle; the other four double cuts are in a much simpler "hinge cut" style with much lower chances of failing. If I were to do the "hinge cuts" first and then have failure at the Long Round cuts, I'd have start completely over, a huge setback. If the double cutting is a success, the hard parts will be behind me and the rest should be "routine" puzzle cutting. The key to success in big double cuts is to turn the saw's speed down and go really slowly, minimizing blade bending as much as possible, although some bending is unavoidable. Also I tighten the blade quite a bit tighter than I normally do - this increases the chances for breakage which will not affect the puzzle, will decreasing the amount of blade bending.

I have decided for publicities sake to reveal the identity of the puzzle's image well before the auction starts. Some initial "snippit" pictures will start tomorrow.

I have set up a twitter account as "puzzlecraft", and will post a few 100 Puzzles Project publicity tweets there. This journal will continue to be the place to go for news about everything Custom Puzzle Craft. Year 2016 note: I posted very few posts on twitter about the puzzle.

June 24, 2010

Thursday 4:31 pm - No "snippit" picture today, but a hint - the work is a world famous triptych oil painting. The center panel is the largest and is being cut in Long Round. This is where the most critical double cutting will take place, spanning a total of 30". The center panel is about 28 1/2" wide by 30" high - this alone would be a very large puzzle! When I did the mock up test I isolated the sections to be double cut via long straight cuts - today I had to isolate the sections to be double cut via my production Long Round style cut. It took more than three hours to subdivide the two boards which make up the center panel from yesterday's four sections to 16 sections, with the double cut sections now fully isolated for the center panel. I then had to leave for a private dance lesson which had been rescheduled from Monday. So I did not get to any double cutting at all. Tomorrow will be interruption free. I'll do the center panel double cut and if successful, then further subdivide the left and right panels and do the "hinge style" double cuts. I'll post the first "snippit" picture here tomorrow

Today I announced to my dance teacher that I'm dropping out of the choreography team and eliminating one other class. This was a hard decision as the team was becoming like family, but I was getting seriously overextended, and the dance team commitment would soon advance to another level. The next two months will be focused on wrapping up the 100 Puzzles Project and preparing for the Puzzle Parley. After this will be some very overdue traveling to see relatives in New Orleans and Philadelphia.

June 25, 2010

Friday 6:27 pm (this and previous entries edited 11:23 pm differentiating "panels" and "sections") - Huge News: The critical 30" long center panel Long Round cutting style double cut was a success! The top half needed a second touch up pass as the fit was quite tight, worrying me there for a while. The second pass worked and the top halves of the center panel now fit well. The alignment of the images in preparation for the double cut was perfect, the fit looks like a single board! Two days ago I said the saw's speed should be turned down - not true, it is the feeding of the wood into the blade which should be slowed down to reduce blade bending, a fast speed of the blade is better. I did the top half of the center panel with the speed at about 700 RPM, the bottom half around 1100 RPM - the bottom half was perfect after the first cut - both in fit and image alignment. It took me almost three hours to do these two cuts (including prep work aligning and nailing the sections of the center panel to be double cut together). The left and right half sections of the center panel are now joined. I changed the blades every 3" of double cutting progress, using 10 blades for the center double cut, actually 11 as one broke.

After a lunch break, I subdivided the left panel of the triptych and then did the "hinge cutting". Again I spent a lot of time meticulously aligning the two sections to be double cut (the right most section of left panel and the left most section of the center panel) together before nailing and then making sure a template I designed for the hinge cut was also aligned satisfactorily. The two hinge cuts to join the left and center panels went a lot faster - took about two hours to subdivide the left panel and then about an hour to do the hinge cuts. This work also looks perfect! I used four blades for the hinge cutting

I forgot my camera, but realized I could use the camera in my second generation iPhone - so I was able to document the process. I was at my shop for about seven hours.

Tomorrow I'll subdivide the right panel - this will take longer than the left panel as the right panel will be cut in Creative style, my most time consuming cutting style. After I'm done, I'll do the hinge cuts to join the center panel with the right panel. I'm clearly over the hump, the most difficult work is now behind me. I expect tomorrow's work will take about four hours - I will have worked four days and will have not cut a single piece! I plan to take Sunday off, and then next week I'll go into marathon piece work mode.

Snippet #1

June 26, 2010

Saturday 7:32 pm - Four hours at the shop today and the double cutting is done! After I was finished, I assembled all of the sections into a single 56 1/4" by 30" image - a historic moment - looks fantastic! Tomorrow I'm going to take a break, regular cutting starts Monday.

Snippet #2

I will continue to post snippets on consecutive days for a total of 10 snippets and then announce the name of the puzzle. Two people have already successfully guessed the image!

Saturday 8:47 pm - Yesterday I designed a preliminary "100 Puzzles Project" logo which will be included in #100 as an outline figural - it will be signed on the back indicating that the puzzle is the 100th puzzle of the project. Yesterday I then posted a picture of the design on the Home page, I'm copying it here now. When #100 is completed I'll replace the logo picture on the Home page with a picture of the puzzle. For the 100 Puzzles Project presentation in August, I'll likely use this image as a cover page, so to speak, and add some puzzle piece shapes inside the zeros.

100 PP Logo
Pretty cool I think!

June 27, 2010

Sunday 12:20 pm - I've noticed this journal is now getting a few hits from scollsawer.com - welcome and thank you! A few messages here. FWIW, the 100 Puzzles Project grand finale #100, will have about 4100 pieces, not 5000!

Piece work puzzle cutting starts tomorrow, and I promises lots of pictures of the completed double cutting process and the puzzle's progress when I announce the puzzle on July 5th. A bigger snippet tomorrow.

Snippet #3

Sunday 11:18 pm - An improved version of the 100 Puzzles Project logo:

100 PP Logo
Even cooler I think!

June 28, 2010

Monday 5:52 pm - Piece cutting of the #100 puzzle of the 100 Puzzles Project has begun at last! My day was substantially cut short due to a dance lesson previously scheduled. Going forward my schedule is clear for at least a week. I started cutting with the left panel, first trimming the edges then working with the upper left section. The left panel is about 14" by 30" in size and I'm cutting it in Swirl Curl style. I'm expecting it to have about 1100 pieces, a major work in of itself! I cut "about" 112 pieces today in two hours of cutting, excellent cutting so far, no problems, the paper is cutting well, no voids. Speaking of voids, I did hit one serious one when I subdivided the left panel earlier. The wood is 5-ply and the void was in the 4th ply from the top. Repair work will be required, affecting two or three eventual pieces - the front is 100% unaffected.

This puzzle is an enormous undertaking! I mean I cut 100 or so pieces and I have 4000 to go! Tomorrow the cutting marathon swings into full gear. I expect to get the first panel done by Thursday or Friday.

The first three snippets were from the left panel. Today's snippet and the next three will from the center panel. The final three will be from the right panel.

Snippet #4

June 29, 2010

Tuesday 6:08 pm - Long day at the shop, the puzzle cutting marathon is in full swing. Today I cut about 373 Swirl Curl pieces with the total count now up to about 485 Swirl Curl. Cutting continues to go extremely well, no voids encountered so far in the piece-work areas. I really pushed myself today. A visitor to my shop was very impressed with the work.

In the left panel of the triptych I have about 615 pieces to go. I'm simply not up for sustaining today's pace, so I'm going to spread the work for the remainder of the left panel over the next three days. That takes me to July 2. The middle panel, which is to be cut in Long Round and measures a hefty 28" x 30", will have around 2500 pieces - this alone would be a record number of pieces for me! I can cut Long Round faster than Swirl Curl, but it will take me at least a week to cut the center panel. July 9th or later. Then the right panel, which is the same size as the left panel, about 14" x 30". The right panel will be cut in Creative style and will have around 600 pieces. Creative takes me the longest to cut by far, could be another week. So I'm looking at mid July now to complete the puzzle, just four weeks before the August puzzle parley. I need at least a week to prepare for my puzzle parley 100 Puzzles Project presentation. I've been planning to cut some puzzles to sell there - this has the lowest priority, I'll do what I can do.

I'm going to take a massive "life phase change" puzzle cutting break after the puzzle parley, perhaps for the remainder of the year, and then accept very limited orders in 2011.

When I announce 100PP #100's picture on July 5th, I'll have some pictures of the current status of the puzzle as it exists at that time.

Snippet #5

June 30, 2010

Wednesday 6:08 pm - Puzzle cutting marathon continuing.

I decided to put in another maximum day of work, I was at the shop for nine hours. Did almost exactly the same as yesterday, cut about 375 more Swirl Curl pieces in the first panel, bringing the total to about 860. Cutting continues to go well, no problems encountered. So far, the puzzle looks excellent! Tomorrow I'll complete the cutting of the first panel, with "just" 240 or so pieces to go. I'll also sand the back after focusing on the void problem area I mentioned yesterday [edit: was June 28]. I'll take Friday off and then begin the massive middle panel on Saturday. Will have pictures here on July 5th.

Snippet #6

July 1, 2010

Thursday 5:28 pm - Puzzle cutting marathon continued today, break tomorrow.

After fours days of cutting, the first panel is done! My best guess is that it has 1105-1107 Swirl Curl pieces, a substantial puzzle in of itself. Looks great. I held off sanding the back as two pieces required void repairs and these two pieces are currently under some weights to aid the gluing process. The void was uncovered when I divided the panel into sections, fortunately the void did not extend to other pieces today when I cut the affected area into individual pieces. Tomorrow, I'll go to the shop for a short while to trim the edges of these two pieces and then sand and vacuum the back of the left panel and then takes some pictures. I'm taking extraordinary care while cutting this puzzle to maximize the "retention of information", this is a topic I'll discuss briefly at the puzzle parley. I also explored "Galaxy Curls" yet another cutting variant of Swirl Curl, will discuss that here with graphics when I have time.

I did some preparation of the left half of the center panel for cutting when I resume - placing the figurals, trimming the edges and a little more subdividing. The left and right halves of the center panel will each have around 1250 Long Round pieces, or 2500 in total. Cutting will begin on Saturday, after tomorrow's break.

I'm having some increasingly very unpleasant after effects from my recent sinus surgery, today I called in and was able to get an appointment scheduled for tomorrow morning.

Today's snippet is the fourth and last snippet from the center panel, the remaining three snippets will be from the right panel.

Snippet #7

July 2, 2010

Friday 10:38 pm - Puzzle cutting marathon continuing.

Very long day today: sinus doctor's appointment (improving but not out of the woods), void repairs, sanding, cutting, private dance lesson, dance class. The void repairs affecting two pieces was difficult, there is still a little more work to do. I was in a puzzle cutting mood and decided to not take the day off and ended up cutting about 328 pieces of the left half of the center panel. Long Round is going faster than Swirl Curl and is going very well.

Tomorrow is "weekly maintenance day", I may get some cutting in during the afternoon. On Sunday the marathon goes back to full bore and will continue for all of next week going into Friday.

Puzzle 836 - left panel (about 1/4 the area of the total puzzle), back side before sanding - note the hinge cut at the interior edge of the panel
This puzzle is so absolutely massive, the hinges cut will allow for separation of the puzzle into parts for transportation

Snippet #8

July 3, 2010

Saturday 7:44 pm - Puzzle cutting marathon continuing.

Intense, long, huge marathon at the shop today, cutting about 488 Long Round pieces, bringing up the total for the left half of the center panel to around 816. Cutting is going extremely well, no problems at all. I can't add. I've said the left panel has around 1100 Swirl Curl pieces, the center panel projected to have around 2500 Long Round pieces, and the right panel around 600 Creative style pieces. This totals to around 4200 pieces not the 4100 I've been mentioning!

I'm getting my "puzzle arms" back again - six days of constant light tensioning of the arms adds bulk! This used to happen before the end of the year-end holidays (Christmas) then atrophy away in January.

I've been staring at the puzzle's art work through the magnifying lamp I use to view the work as I cut for six days now. I suppose I will have looked at every square inch of this painting more than just about anyone on the planet, by the time I'm done! A totally fascinating work, particularly as the painting is thought to be over 500 years old!

I have around 434 pieces to go to finish the left half of the center panel. I'm going to take it easy tomorrow - the July 4th holiday - and do less than 300. On Monday I'll complete the left panel, sand and vacuum it and may do some preliminary work on the right half of the center panel. On Monday, I'll announce the title of the painting and post pictures as promised!

Snippet #9

July 4, 2010

Sunday 6:42 pm - Puzzle cutting marathon continuing.

I changed my plans and decided to put in yet another major day of cutting today, cutting about 439 pieces, completing the left half of the center panel with about 1255 pieces! Looks excellent, and no voids were encountered. I'll post pictures tomorrow afternoon or early evening. Of note - this puzzle with about 2360 pieces done so far, already handily sets a new record for Custom Puzzle Craft, breaking Logosphere's record 2035 pieces. It is extremely unlikely I'll ever make a puzzle which will break 100PP #100's eventual total of around 4200.

I am going to slow down a little now. I did the left panel (Swirl Curl) in four days, and the left half of the center panel in three days, faster due to the Long Round cutting style versus Swirl Curl in the left panel. I plan to cut the right half of the center panel in four days starting tomorrow, a slower pace than the left half of the center panel. I haven't sanded the back of the left half of the center panel and will hold off until the entire center panel is done. Sanding will take place Friday, but no cutting. There will be no puzzle cutting at all Friday through Sunday as months ago I signed up for a tango workshop this coming weekend, and I will go ahead with it. I'll begin the right panel the following Monday - this panel, because will be cut in Creative style, will take at least five days to cut even though it will have just 600 pieces or so.

I plan to display the puzzle at the upcoming puzzle parley in August. This means that even though the auction will be held in late July, I will keep possession of the puzzle until the puzzle parley is over, then ship it. This will be clearly announced within the auction.

Time for a nap, then go out for July 4th festivities.

Here is the last snippet, the third from the hellish right panel. At least six people have correctly guessed the name of the work.

Snippet #10

Year 2016 note: July 5, 2010 was the day I announced the puzzle. Many of the picture's in this days post also appeared in the auction. I have decided to keep the pictures in both places for the sake of history!

July 5, 2010

Monday 6:57 pm - Puzzle cutting marathon continuing.

I pretty much stuck to the schedule posted yesterday - a lengthy day at the shop and about 344 pieces cut in the right half of the central panel, bringing the puzzle's total to around 2704. Cutting continues to go well. The fit between the pieces belonging to the left side of the center panel with those on the right side of the center panel along the double-cut boundary is excellent.

Cutting will continue each day until the center panel is done, then I'll take a three day cutting break before starting the last panel - in Creative style.

And now the big reveal! The painting is Hieronymus Bosch's famous The Garden of Earthly Delights. There are tons of incredible things going on in this painting. At this time I'm posting some current status pictures. Discussions about how I created the print - image sourcing and merging, how it was mounted, how I did the initial cuts and double cuts to merge four boards into one will come later. As for the image itself, suggested reading:


• http://www.ehow.com/facts_5479077_relationship-king-philip-ii-spain.html (Year 2016 edit: this link no longer works)

Keep in mind that this painting was done over 500 years ago in the Netherlands while in Spain the Inquisition was in full progress and almost all major paintings were either of a religious nature commissioned by the ruling institutions or of royalty.

Puzzle 836 - The Garden of Earthly Delights - current status
Note the yardstick along the bottom
The part jutting out to the right is the section I cut today, belonging to the third board
Bowing of the image at the top was caused by camera optics.

Swirl Curl to the left, Long Round to the right, Hinge Cut along the boundary

Remainder of third board to be cut - I expect to complete this in three more days

The right panel (board #4) will be cut next week in Creative style
The white around the edging will be trimmed off
The white extensions, top and bottom, were used for double cutting alignment and fastening
The image is 30" high

The following two images were obtained from Flickr, showing how the painting is currently hung at Prado in Spain. The wings are not kept flat as there is a painting on the back side of the wings - more details later.

The triptych, oil on wood, is 7 1/4 feet high by 12 3/4 feet wide, fully extended

Monday 7:17 pm - I've changed my mind about the schedule I posted earlier. I need a break now! I'm going to take tomorrow off, then work three days to complete the center panel, then take two days off before starting the right panel.

July 6, 2010

Tuesday 6:28 pm - Took a break today. I feel rested, ready to resume the marathon tomorrow.

July 7, 2010

Wednesday 6:41 pm - Puzzle cutting marathon resumed.

I cut about 349 pieces today, cutting continues to go well. Hit a minor void, was easily repairable w/ no surface impact. The total number of pieces cut is now around 3053! With around 557 pieces to go to finish the center panel, I easily expect to complete this panel by Friday afternoon including sanding and vacuuming it.

Work on the right panel will begin on Monday.

Puzzle status towards the end of today's workday.
After this photo I cut another 50 or so pieces but the picture was too blurred.

What does the World Cup and this puzzle have in common? The final going to be played on Saturday between the Netherlands and Spain. The Garden of Earthly Delights was painted in the Netherlands and now resides in a museum in Spain.

July 8, 2010

Thursday 5:32 pm - Puzzle cutting marathon continuing.

Today I was at the shop for about 8 1/2 hours. In mid afternoon a dancer friend come over for the first time, the visit was close to an hour. She was quite impressed with the work, I did no cutting during this time except for a demo cut. Cutting continues to go well. I did hit second void in the third board, the third void overall. Like the others, the void was in the fourth ply, w/ no surface impact. Three affected pieces have been repaired except for trimming.

Yesterday's piece count was short by ten, the daily piece count should have been around 359 and the total around 3063. I left today's counting log at the shop, I think I did about 370 thus bringing the total to around 3433. I'll complete the center panel tomorrow (less than 200 pieces to go), trim the three void pieces, build a larger sanding surface then sand and vacuum the center panel. There's one piece in the first panel which still needs a little void repair, I may get to that too. No work Saturday or Sunday, then I'll start the right panel on Monday. I have to cast my fate to the winds regarding hitting a void in the right panel while cutting a fancy delicate Creative piece.

Latest puzzle status
The frame appears brower at the bottom - this is due to reflection from the orangish fiberglass wall of the shop, above, out of the picture
For the auction, I'll have detailed pictures

July 9, 2010

Friday 5:46 pm - Freezing in San Diego. Yesterday's high was just 64 degrees, "matching the record for the lowest maximum temperature in the month of July in the city's history". The past few weeks have been gloomy along the coast and I think below 70 all this past week. I recall how hot Santa Ana conditions here frequently precede cold waves and storms on the East Coast. Now this past week, the East Coast had record heat while yesterday I had to turn on the heater in my shop for the third day in a row - usually I'm baking in my shop in the summertime! Today was just a little warmer inland.

As for the puzzle, the center panel is cutting is done, back sanded, looks super! Center panel void repairs done. I had to build a special carrier for this section to do the sanding. Cutting now goes on hold due to a weekend tango workshop I committed to sometime ago (starts this evening), cutting resumes Monday and should continue each day until the puzzle is completed. Will have more later including more pictures, I need a rest now.

Puzzle 836, The Garden of Earthly Delights - center panel
Has about 2505 Long Round pieces, the puzzle's total is up to around 3610

Vast sea of Long Round, prior to sanding
Where the two boards are knit together is hard to find in this picture!

July 11, 2010

Sunday 5:09 pm - Here are a couple pictures of the sanding surface I made for the center panel. I used a sheet of apply-ply for the surface and sanded it with a

fine 320 grit sand paper. I glued a lip around two sides of the surface to secure the puzzle and make flipping such a large puzzle a relatively simple task. I would never attempt to pick up such a large puzzle by itself as the puzzle's considerable weight would create stress on the pieces taking on the full weight puzzle.

Cutting resumes tomorrow with the right panel.

Giant sanding board - will it ever be used again?

Sanding board w/ center panel face down and sanding paraphernalia to the right
The blue paper is 320. I wrap it around the hand sander which has 220 on it for the first pass. I do not use a mechanical sander for my puzzles.

July 12, 2010

Monday 9:47 pm - My cell phone's touch screen is not working. Contact may be made via my land line or via email.

Monday 6:58 pm - Puzzle cutting marathon resumed.

Today I was at the shop for over nine hours, yet I cut just 57 pieces! How can this possibly be? A lot of time was spend subdividing the right panel from four sections into nine sections with a bunch of lengthy Creative style cuts which are exceedingly time consuming. Then I trimmed the edges and then did the figurals. This process produced 11 pieces and took most of the time. In the remaining time I piece-cut one of the smallest sections resulting 46 pieces. While cutting this section, I went ahead and cut one of the most difficult fancy Creative style pieces in my repertoire a "same direction whirly gear". No voids today.

Piece production will pick up tomorrow.

For the right panel, I'm projecting a total of 600 pieces, and with about 543 to go, I expect to complete the right panel before the weekend is over. I have zero dance classes this week, so I'll have few distractions. My goal is to launch the auction on Monday, July 19th. I won't have the exact piece count for the auction as I won't know the count until after I take the puzzle apart (after the Puzzle Parley). I've mentioned that I'll be taking the puzzle to the parley for display. As the piece counting and piece inspection / clean-up process will take days, I'm now planning to bring the puzzle back to San Diego, do these things, and then ship it disassembled in the following week. Then I'm free! One of the first things I'll do is some travelling to see relatives in New Orleans and Philadelphia.

Puzzle #836, right panel - section cut so far (excluding a few scattered other pieces)
Same Direction Whirly Gear - located just inside the interior gold frame lines corner
Dalek (Dr. Who fans know about this) at bottom

July 13, 2010

Tuesday 6:21 pm - Puzzle cutting marathon continuing.

Another nine hour shop day, with 7 to 7.5 hours of cutting. To get the puzzle done by Friday afternoon, I'd need a pace of about 135 pieces a day. Today I did about 127, close. Now looking like the puzzle will be done on Saturday. Creative style cutting, as usual, going slowly - also hampered by working with a dark image with shadowy figures, trying not to "lose information" in the picture while maintaining a semblance of elegance in the cutting. Overall I'd say cutting is going well. No voids today.

Finally feeling like summer. The "June Gloom" is gone at last, was in the 70's along the coast and just over 90 in my shop - not too bad because the humidity was low.

I plan to continue cutting each day until the puzzle is done. On Friday I have a sinus surgery follow-up, this will cost me a couple hours of cutting. I still have some signs of an infection and I'll be discussing this.

Puzzle #836, The Garden of Earthly Delights - right panel - latest status (picture taken with flash)
The rest of the panel has a lot of lighter shades and colors, the cutting will not stand out as clearly
Note: this is a panel depicting hell - some of the subsequent pictures will be ghoulish

My cell phone is working again.

July 14, 2010

Wednesday 6:15 pm - Puzzle cutting marathon continuing.

Persistence is paying off, the end is increasingly in sight! For some reason or other I was a bit more productive today, was at the shop for about 8 hours and despite some interruptions, cut about 134 Creative style pieces, bringing the right panel up to around 318 pieces and the puzzle's total up to a stunning 3928 pieces (approximate). I have around 290 pieces to go. Saturday is still looking very good for the day I finally, at last, complete the cutting! Cutting is going well. There was a ton of detailed imagery that I needed to carefully navigate today. Under the magnifying glass it's so interesting to look at the clothing (particularly the hats) and yes, weaponry and armor that was in fashion over 500 years ago. I plan to discuss this later.

Again, no voids today. Maybe, just maybe I'll get through this panel with no voids!

Puzzle #836, The Garden of Earthly Delights - right panel - latest status
Slightly over 1/2 done
Yeah, the guy on the pink pad lower right is holding a golden chalice in his left hand and is getting munched by a bunch of wild animals

Summer heat is in full blast now, got the fan out today, temperature soared to 97 in the shop, felt that hot outside too.

July 15, 2010

Thursday 8:14 pm - Puzzle cutting marathon continuing.

Although I was at the shop for at least eight hours, productivity dropped off for several reasons - one was the intense heat early on which peaked at 101 degrees in the shop.

Thunderstorms developed well east of here, and while there was no rain, cooling breezes arrived dropping the shop temperature to the mid 80's by the time I left. Another was a visit by some friends who wanted to see the puzzle, lost an hour there. Today I cut about 106 pieces, bringing the Hell panel's total to around 424, with about 190 to go. The puzzle's total crossed the 4000 mark, to around 4034! Are there any wooden jigsaw puzzles in the world with this many pieces? I had a good day of cutting, the panel's Creative style cut is looking quite good. And again.... no voids.

I continue to expect to complete the puzzle on Saturday. On my Auction page I say I expect to launch the auction on Monday, July 19th. I may take my time regarding the auction, there is no need to rush it - I may decide to wait until the following weekend, perhaps Saturday July 25th. I'll make a decision soon. After I complete cutting and sanding the puzzle, I need to deal with the logistics of moving such a massive puzzle around for photography - in fact how to do the photography. Next week will be devoted to preparing for the 100 Puzzles Presentation for the Puzzle Parley. I really want to do a nice write up for the auction too - this is why I think I'll delay the auction to the next weekend.

Puzzle #836, The Garden of Earthly Delights - right panel - latest status
Slightly over 2/3 done
Eventually I'll have detailed photos of all the panels, plus the whole puzzle!

July 16, 2010

Friday 5:57 pm - Puzzle cutting marathon continuing.

Intensely hot all day, with the outdoor shade temperature at my shop reaching 100 by 11am and staying around there well into the afternoon. Interior shop temperature peaked at 103. Plenty of fluids and a couple fans helped. Remained much cooler along the coast.

I made good progress even though I started late due to a post sinus surgery follow-up appointment (still have some infection) and a visit from Bob Archer (of Puzzle Tree fame) and his grandson who at 16 years old is now as tall as I am! Today I cut about 105 pieces maybe a few more, bringing right panel total to about 529, with about 80 to go and the puzzle's total to around 4139. Again I had to take care to navigate through faces (I take effort not to cut through eyes or mouths), and with the nudity in the painting, other body parts.

My no-void luck ran out...... turns out that when I subdivided the right panel way back on June 26 in preparation for double cutting to join the right panel with the right half of the center panel I hit a void without consequence - I never noticed it until today when I went to work on the second to last section (the void straddles the second to last section and the very last uncut section) of the right panel. The void was in the middle layer of the 5-ply wood - unusual - I had to repair one piece cut from the second to last section, very routine with 100% success, nothing noticeable front or back. The remaining section, which I plan to cut into around 80 pieces tomorrow, has the continuation of the void - the extent is unknown, but as I know it is there I can deal with it and am not overly concerned about it from what I can see of it.

Mark Cappitella of MGC puzzles was corresponding with me on my usually dormant facebook page..... says he cut a puzzle larger than mine with over 5000 pieces, so while my puzzle is spectacular, there have been others larger - I'm trying to obtain a photo of Mark's.

Puzzle #836, The Garden of Earthly Delights - right panel - latest status
Just 80 or so pieces to go!

There are a lot of small lizards around Mixed Media, always one or two somewhere. Today one came into my shop and perched on a section of scrap wood from the full mock up double cutting test I did in preparation for the production version of The Garden of Earthly Delights. I then shooed it out, less it decide to take up residence.

King of the hill

July 17, 2010

Saturday 6:32 pm - Cutting of the 100th puzzle of the 100 Puzzles Project is done!!! A huge milestone in the history of Custom Puzzle Craft!

The fantastic puzzle is done! Things went well today. I first addressed the void discovered yesterday in the final section. It was fairly extensive eventually affecting four more pieces. All is repaired with nothing noticeable front or back. Had I hit the void as a surprise while cutting a super fancy Creative style piece there could have been huge problems. Cutting went well with some suspense as I worked the final pieces, keeping my cool, making no mistakes! I did some very nice cutting! I cut around 80 pieces, maybe a few more, with the right panel's total around 610 pieces and the puzzle's total around 4220. I also completed repairs of that one void affected piece in the left hand panel.

The day started hot, but cooling breezes turned the high 90's into the high 80's.

Puzzle #836, The Garden of Earthly Delights - right panel
After a trip to "hell", I'm now in heaven!
No chip-outs on the back

Puzzle #836, The Garden of Earthly Delights - preliminary picture

I will return to the shop tomorrow to take many pictures - I may go there quite early to try to get some good outdoor lighting.

I have decided to push back the auction launch to Saturday July 24th. This gives me plenty of time to get photos and do a good write-up.

Lizards like to perch on upwardly sloping surfaces. Yesterday I rearranged some scrap wood outdoors to attract a lizard. When I arrived this morning, it was occupied!

The daily Mixed Media lizard

July 18, 2010

Sunday 8:23 pm - Marathon continuing!

This morning I took a bunch of pictures of each panel and the whole puzzle. I took the pictures from a ladder. The morning was nice and cloudy, good for taking pictures outdoors. I'm not completely happy with the center panel. I sprayed each board separately before I joined them together - I took precautions via a "spray box" and very controlled application of the fixative and acrylic so that when the boards were joined the coating would be consistent. The left and right "hinge" joins look excellent, however, there was a noticeable difference between the left and right halves of the center panel in the outdoor lighting. Later I applied a very thin coat of acrylic to the whole work, looks better but not perfect - I plan no further activity in this regard as I'm out of my area of expertise. I had to spray before the extensive double cutting process as the computer inks would have smeared. The puzzle is now home and looks excellent in the interior lighting. I will post the pictures on a dedicated puzzle page, later, as I get ready to launch the auction.

Yes, the marathon involved with Puzzle #836, The Garden of Earthly Delights is not done. I've decide that I'm going to clean / inspect / count the pieces before the Puzzle Parley. This involves removing a small portion, taking it apart, counting the pieces, cleaning / inspecting and reassembling, then another section over and over again until done. Long and tedious process. Today I did the left panel. Final piece count 1121 - this is 16 more than the 1105 loosely tracked when I cut the left panel, pretty close.

My schedule now is to continue the inspection / counting process for the whole puzzle this week until done. I will then focus on the presentation for the Puzzle Parley and launching the auction. My goal is to have the presentation totally completed by the end of July. The first 10 days of August will be devoted to making puzzles to sell at the Parley plus one small puzzle which will be exchanged in a "Yankee Swap". I have not decide on the subject matter for the swap puzzle, maybe I'll look for a public domain image associated w/ Salem, MA, where the Parley will be.

July 19, 2010

Monday 5:13 pm - Puzzle cleanup marathon continuing.

I'm now working on the glorious center panel. Going is slower as although I'm working small chunks at a time, the chunks can be difficult to reassemble, slowing me down. I worked about seven hours and did 1012 of the estimated 2505 pieces in the center panel. I expect to finish the panel by Wednesday afternoon. The winner of the auction is going to find that the center panel will be a monster of a puzzle to assemble from scratch!

I'm falling behind my email. Please be patient, I'll respond to all emails by the end of this week. Due to my heavy workload before the Puzzle Parley, I've dropped all dance classes. Will resume in September.

Puzzle 836 - The Garden of Earthly Delights - Center panel cleanup status
The bottom part is done

July 20, 2010

Tuesday 10:56 pm - Puzzle cleanup marathon continuing.

In a very long day of work starting around 9:30 this morning and ending a just few minutes ago, with occasional breaks, I completed the cleanup and counting of the pieces of the center panel. Final piece count 2506 just one more than the 2505 I tracked while cutting! The cutting joining the two boards of the center panel was incredibly well done, at no time while assembling the sections straddling the boards did I become aware of where the board joining boundary was, nor was the slight spraying anomaly I mentioned Sunday at any time even faintly noticeable while assembling the center panel.

My eyes are tired. I'll begin cleanup / counting work on the last panel when I'm well rested.

Word of this work is spreading around my circle of dance friends, response has been extremely positive.

July 21, 2011

Wednesday 5:14 pm - Puzzle marathon nearing the end.

I've did the right panel today. Instead of taking it apart in sections, I felt the best way to deal with the Creative style pieces was to carefully take the panel completely apart, inspect / clean / count and then reassemble. The right panel piece count: 644, quite a few more than the planned 600. Many excellent pieces. I still need to reassemble it! So, the final piece count for the whole puzzle is...... 4,271 pieces! 1,121 Swirl Curl style pieces in the left panel, 2,506 Long Round style pieces in the center panel and the 644 Creative style pieces in the right panel.

Last night I created a shell webpage for this puzzle, Puzzle 836 - The Garden of Earthly Delights - see 836. I'll be updating that page before the auction starts and will post some pictures here tomorrow.

July 22, 2010

Thursday 6:00 pm - I assembled the "Hell" panel going into the wee hours of last night. A fantastic puzzle in of itself. So all post cutting work associated with making the puzzle is completed, except for auctioning it, displaying it at the Parley and eventually shipping it!

I have posted some large pictures of the The Garden of Earthly Delights at Puzzle 836. I'm having a difficult time with the pictures due to severely inadequate facilities for taking the kind of pictures I want, given the large size of the puzzle, without uneven lighting and glare. I'll have more pictures (some here) and a write-up tomorrow.

July 23, 2010

Friday 10:47 pm - I've been working a lot today preparing for the auction. More work remains to be done. I expect to launch the auction sometime late tomorrow afternoon or early evening, Pacific time. I have replaced some of the pictures at Puzzle 836 with better ones.

July 24, 2010

Saturday 7:57 pm - Auction #100 Launched!

Saturday 5:16 pm - I have made a massive update to the Puzzle 836 page. Refresh as needed. I need to eat (ravenous), then I'll develop the auction from that page. Should launch within three hours. I took a new set of photos of the panels and replaced the ones that were on that page. I had good sunlight in which to take them. The main picture is the same.

Saturday 2:59 pm - Very busy writing up the puzzle description at Puzzle 836 (will not update this page until the auction launch). Many many pictures to work up. I will use some of the material from 836 for the auction description. Still planning to get everything done by early evening. Out of food, lol, will have to take a break soon!

July 25, 2010

Sunday 9:20 am - I can finally come up for air, great to have that long write-up done and the auction in progress. I'm taking off today, then tomorrow I'll start the preparation for the 100 Puzzles Project presentation at the Puzzle Parley. In my auction notification email I mentioned that recipients will have to opt-in if they want continued notification for future events, if any. I'll acknowledge those who have responded, in batch, after the auction is completed.

I've reinstated "The Puzzle Queue", above, listing the four puzzles remaining to be cut for the Puzzle Parley. The first three will be small and I should be able to do these in a couple days. The Tricky Eggs puzzle will probably take two full days. These will be cut August. I already cut 6 Piece Golden Ratio Compulsory #3 for the Parley last May 16 and will use a stand I made for #1 some time ago.

July 26, 2010

Monday 10:16 pm - I started the initial work towards writing up the 100 Puzzle Project for the Puzzle Parley. Really quite a large task, need to think how to organize a 10 year project and prelude into a one hour presentation that won't put everyone to sleep. Speaking of sleep, I napped a bit today and yesterday, still recouping from pushing myself really hard for the last year in getting the Project done. Added Facebook and Twitter links, above - not used often. Added a "Yankee Exchange" puzzle to the Puzzle Queue, ahead of all the rest.

July 27, 2010

Tuesday 3:33 pm - Time just keeps rushing by! The Auction is already in its third day with a little more than four days to go. So far the bidding is going well, everything is nice and above board.

It's taking me a lot of mental effort to get going in the presentation write-up for the Parley. I've made some progress and I expect things to move along faster as the week progresses. I'm going through documents of my early childhood to put together an intro section. I'm realizing just how many things I've done and things that I haven't revisited for such a long time, in particular my pattern generator work which consumed years and years; but also my early artist expressions (which were effectively squashed by a rigid grade school) and to some extent my weather and photography interests and more. Some of these interests, and for example my stock market interest, came out as subject matter in my puzzles!

The huge effort I made since early last year to create mega puzzles such as The World (huge clc'd map of the world for a U.K. customer), the big write-up and photos for 100PP #87 6 Piece Golden Ratio Compulsory #2 with stand, all of the Milton Bradley Big Ben puzzle research that went into 100PP #88 Color Thin Cloud Sunset, the large 100PP #89 Space Shuttle Triptych, the major puzzle 100PP #90 Carina Nebula; the beautiful Swirl Curl cutting that went into 100PP #92 Beyond the Rainbow, the spectacular Creative cutting in the huge Creative style puzzle 100PP #93 First Harvest in the Wilderness, then another spectacular Creative style puzzle, 100PP #95 Creative Art with Five Tricky Eggs, then all of the failed starts finally leading to 100PP #97 the inventive Octastar puzzle, then the record setting price for 100PP #98 Carnival of Harlequin, which also saw a major disaster during its making requiring a total restart after almost a week of work, then the huge research and cutting efforts to make the multi-board 100PP #99 Logosphere, with the 100PP finally culminating with the epic #100 The Garden of Earthly Delights a two month effort - all of these consuming almost a year and a half for "just" 14 puzzles and 2 Compulsories - do I ever need a break!!! Yet I need to go on to completely wrap this up - get the presentation done and the several much, much less ambitious puzzles (with the exception of Creative Art with Two Tricky Eggs) for the Parley! Then serious freedom from my puzzle making trek. Yes, a huge puzzle making break is coming, as I have said, to last at least through the remainder of the year!

I didn't mention it in the auction, the Bosch puzzle is a limited edition of one.

Tuesday 11:06 pm - I made just a little more progress on the presentation - on the logistics side - I downed loaded an iPhone App which will allow me to control the playing of the Keynote presentation on my MacBook Pro laptop via my iPhone - I tested it out and it worked fine. I expect the writing of the presentation to speed up tomorrow, I only have two slides done!

I have decided on the images for the Puzzle Parley puzzles. The "Yankee Exchange Puzzle" will be a highly processed photo of a skyscape I took yesterday. There will be three "mini" Geometric Pattern Puzzles - the first one will be the first time Synthesized Serendipity will be offered as a mini. The second mini - Magnificent FlowScape Pattern - will be a repeat of a mini offered at the last Parley. The third mini will be a first time offering of an offbeat exploration of the V Pattern; this will be a black and white puzzle. Pictures of all them will be posted here in due time. Creative Art with Two Tricky Eggs will be a square puzzle, about 14" by 14" with close to 200 Creative style pieces and, of course, will include two "Tricky Eggs". The mini's will be priced to sell easily, the Tricky Eggs puzzle will be priced substantially higher. One puzzle per customer, excluding the "Yankee Exchange Puzzle" which will be a free puzzle donated to the Exchange thing.

July 29, 2010

Thursday 6:52 pm - Yesterday I still needed more rest, due to the aftermath of working months nearly non-stop to complete the 100 Puzzles Project. Did no work on the Parley presentation. Today I've put in quite a few hours on the presentation, I'm now focused on getting it done. Today was spent on the "numbers" side, making a bunch of graphs looking at the various artists and cutting styles related to price over time. Not going to "scoop" the presentation here. However, sometime after the presentation, I'll update the 100 Puzzles Project page, sending it into "past tense" and added various items to it, include a graphic for fast linking to individual 100PP puzzles.

Yesterday I was at Mixed Media for about an hour, cleaned up my shop. Also destroyed and trashed the mock up work for the 100PP #100 The Garden of Earthly Delights as well as some remnants from the Logosphere project.

The Auction continues the script of previous auctions, no bidding during the middle portion. Several people have said to me that I should have put in a much higher reserve price. My policy from day one was to set the starting price at $1.00 with no reserve, this policy was followed for every one of the 100 puzzles!

July 30, 2010

Friday 7:53 pm - I worked a lot today on the presentation, I now have about 20 slides done. Completed all of the slides leading up to the formation of Custom Puzzle Craft. My goal was to complete the presentation by July 31 (tomorrow). Looks like I'll be working on it through the weekend. I expect to complete it by Monday at the latest.

The Auction has just ticked into the final 24 hours. No new bids for more than three days now, this is the normal pattern. By my standard Custom Puzzle pricing plus image acquisition costs, the puzzle would priced at $7779.31, the current bid is well below that. Given the massive amount of additional work associated with image development and double cutting both mock up and production, the raw cost should be well north of $10K. I do expect more bids to come in, particularly given that the number of eBay views and eBay "watchers" are way beyond the levels I've seen for any previous auction in the 100PP.

July 31, 2010

Saturday 9:32 am - Final day for the auction! The Auction ends at 7:36:35 PM Pacific time (10:36:35 PM Eastern). Of course I'll be watching to see how it ends, I do expect more bids..... ! Meanwhile I'll be spending a lot of time today working on the presentation.

Saturday 8:41 pm - At last! 100 Puzzles Project project has ended, and in the most spectacular fashion, with a record price for the record puzzle. A high water mark that should stand for a more than a few days in puzzledom! Thank you all who bid on this one and in prior auctions. There will be celebrations here this weekend and at the Puzzle Parley!

I will slowly get around to adjusting this website to indicate the project is done; tonight the dance floor beckons. And thank you for your many congratulatory emails..... I'll respond to all "soon".

August 1, 2010

Sunday 7:29 pm - I have received many more congratulatory emails regarding the fantastic finish to the 100 Puzzles Project. I've responded to all of them and publicly thank you all again here!

I made a little more progress on the presentation. It's clear to me that I'm going to plod on all week to complete it, so I have decided that it will be best if I work on the Parley puzzles part of the day and then the presentation another part of the day rather than focusing all on one or the other. So..... I went to the shop and prepared the five boards for the Parley Puzzles. Even though I had a good night's sleep I became so tired when sitting at my work desk that I nodded off to sleep for a while! I'll be sure to get plenty of sleep tonight.

I've changed the title of the "Yankee Exchange Puzzle" from Skyscape - July 26, 2010 to Storm Panorama - July 22, 2007 - the puzzle will have a much nicer image and it will be about 15" wide by about 5" high and have around 200 Long Round pieces, down from the previously projected 300. Prior to cutting the boards, I also finalized the sizes for the three Mini Geometrics and the Creative Art with Two Tricky Eggs puzzle. Originally I was thinking the Eggs puzzle would be square at about 14"x14", I've change my mind, it will be more like 19" x 11", about the same area.

I'll be shipping The Garden of Earthly Delights tomorrow or Tuesday, probably Tuesday. The winner will then drive the puzzle over to the Puzzle Parley.

August 2, 2010

Monday 6:38 pm - First really long day of work cranking out slides for the Puzzle Parley presentation of the 100 Puzzles Project. Finished Slide #44 and I'm now just up to the start of the project! Yes, I'll probably cut some stuff out, maybe not - I've put together what I think is quite interesting documentation of the genesis of my cutting styles. I've been doing a lot of research into the early days of Custom Puzzle Craft and have unearthed a ton of interesting details that I had forgotten about, plus resolved some time sequencing issues.

Did no work on the five puzzles.

That's it for today. Tomorrow I'll resume work on the slides and I plan to print out all of the images for the five puzzles and mount them. I noticed I didn't finish updating the Puzzle Queue yesterday, did that now.

August 3, 2010

Tuesday 8:58 pm - Another really long day of work on the Puzzle Parley presentation. I'm finally into the "meat" of the presentation, discussing the 100 puzzles themselves (styles / discoveries), currently focusing on the Seewald puzzles, being one of five artist categories I've established. I'm way behind where I want to be. Figure, might as well keep pushing, I see that glorious life changing break coming up in less than two weeks!

This morning I printed four prints for the five puzzles I want to make (one will be plain wood).

Tomorrow I'm going to ship the massive The Garden of Earthly Delights puzzle. Obviously a $25K anything has to be very, very well packaged. I first have to go to the shop to make some backing boards, then go through all the steps to get it shipped. Then I'll mount the four prints. What time I have left tomorrow will be focused on the presentation again. I think I can get the presentation done by late Thursday. Then Friday and Saturday will be spent cutting 837, 838, 839 and 840 - pretty tall order, but then I've cancelled everything else. Sunday, I'm bankrolling a "100 Puzzles Project is Over" party for all Mixed Media members at Kim's new house. Then three days to get #841 done - I think it's doable.

August 4, 2010

Wednesday 5:06 pm - More progress today. This morning I mounted the four boards (#837, 838, 839 and 840). This afternoon I went to the shop, cut and fine sanded five large boards to secure #836, The Garden of Earthly Delights, then packaged and shipped it, completing the shipment just a few minutes ago.

From the auction description:

This is the 100th and last Custom Puzzle Craft wooden jigsaw puzzle to be offered in the 100 Puzzles Project!

The Garden of Earthly Delights
By Hieronymus Bosch
56 1/4" x 30"
Swirl Curl, Long Round and Creative
4,271 pieces including 18 figurals

It is with great pride and pleasure that I conclude the long running 100 Puzzles Project with, by far, the most spectacular puzzle I've ever made, and one of the truly great puzzles anyone has cut! The famous triptych, Hieronymus Bosch's The Garden of Earthly Delights, was cut in my three main cutting styles: the left or "Paradise" panel in Swirl Curl with 1121 pieces, measuring about 14" by 30", the center or "Paradise Imagined" panel in Long Round with 2506 pieces measuring about 28 1/2" by 30", and the right or "Hell" panel in Creative with 644 pieces. The puzzle was cut as a single interlocking puzzle created from four boards expertly double cut to create a highly interlocking puzzle that appears to have been cut from a single board.

In addition to the puzzle's epic size, great effort was made to obtain a really excellent rendition of the image for this puzzle. Through an agent I was able to obtain a high resolution transparency from the Prado in Madrid Spain along with permission to use it, and by meticulously combining the digital image created from a scan of this transparency with digital imagery obtained elsewhere (described below), I created what I think is one of the best shadow-free images of this painting in existence.

The puzzle took 21 days to cut, plus more than a month for planning and experimentation, dealing with issues associated with the imagery and post cutting cleanup and documentation.

This puzzle is obviously for the serious puzzle enthusiast. The incredible center panel contains 2506 densely cut Long Round pieces and will be a serious challenge to assemble!

This puzzle will be displayed August 14, 2010 at the 10th Puzzle Parley in Salem, MA at the Hawthorne Hotel. Therefore the puzzle will NOT be shipped prior to this date. If you are attending the Parley and you are the winner of this auction, you will be free to take possession of the puzzle there. It is my intention to ultimately package the puzzle in three boxes, one for each panel, due the puzzle's size.

This puzzle contains 18 figurals plus my usual Signature Piece signed, dated and numbered per my usual practice. One of the figurals is in the new design of a logo I created for the 100 Puzzles Project. This piece is marked on the back indicating that this puzzle is the 100th puzzle of the Project.

Indications are that there will be considerable interest in this puzzle. I reserve the right to cancel this auction and re-do it in some other form.

The 100th Puzzle of the 100 Puzzles Project and my 836th puzzle overall
Puzzle 836 - The Garden of Earthly Delights
by Hieronymus Bosch
56 1/4" x 30" (prior to cutting), with 4271 pieces
Refer to the individual panel pictures, below, for better cutting detail

In late 2009, I made the decision that The Garden of Earthly Delights, would be the 100th puzzle of the Project. I recalled the picture from many years ago as being truly strange and wonderful, full of bizarre things, and I knew that it would make a fantastic puzzle. It wasn't until I after I studied in the image in detail while preparing the image and making the puzzle that I saw and appreciated the truly amazing imagination of Bosch. Bosch painted The Garden of Earthly Delight over 500 years ago, back when the Spanish Inquisition was in full swing!

I had a couple posters of the painting in storage that customers had ordered and never used, and in looking at these I was disappointed in the colors and resolution. In March 2010 I decided that I wanted to acquire the best image possible and hired an agent to obtain a better image from the Prado Museum in Madrid Spain (Museo Nacional del Prado). Eventually a high resolution transparency was obtained along with permission to use it for making puzzles. The transparency was scanned to the film's grain level in NYC. Meanwhile I found out that Google had sent a team to the Museum in 2009 and created a very high resolution image of the painting for their Google Earth project. While the Museum claimed that their transparency had higher resolution, it was clear to my eye that the Google digital image had much higher resolution. However the Google image did not include the frame, something I felt was integral to the work, as the left and right panels of the triptych may be closed, revealing another image on the outside.

The Google image, which may be seen at Wikipedia in high resolution (see TGOED-G) unfortunately has shadows running along the top and bottom edges in addition to having the frame cropped out. As Wikipedia sited court cases indicating that any copy of a work whose copyright had expired is in the public domain, I decided to use both the Google image (using an even higher resolution copy) and the image obtained from the Museum. The Museum's image, which is also on Wikipedia (see TGOED-P) has shadows running along the left and right edges. I decided to use the Google image as the base image and with Photoshop patched the "Google shadows" with the corresponding sections from the Prado image, doing the best I good to adjust the colors to match. I also merged the Prado framing with the edited imagery. The Prado image was slightly distorted by the camera's lens, and there were some other complications, I did the best I could to make everything work out with very little adjustment to the total projection.

The Garden of Earthly Delights - lower right corner as obtained from Prado
Note the shadow along the interior right edge of the frame - most poster makers crop this part out

The Garden of Earthly Delights - lower right corner as obtained from Google Earth
Note the shadow along the bottom

The Garden of Earthly Delights - merged image by Custom Puzzle Craft (me!)

The Garden of Earthly Delights - from a poster published by New York Graphic Society Ltd. (© 1966)
Cropped along the bottom and the right sides and with questionable colors and spots - A totally inadequate copy!

I was extremely pleased with the final digital work. I added a copyright line under the frame's label, using text supplied by Prado "© Museo Nacional del Prado - Madrid - (Spain)". In the far lower left of the work, in very small text, I acknowledged both the Prado and Google image sources and indicated that it was I who merged the two images. The colors in the printed image are excellent.

I decided that for the 100th Puzzle of the Project, I wanted to make a truly epic sized puzzle! I eventually decided that the puzzle would be 56 1/4" wide by 30" high!

I had recently come up with the idea to do "double cutting" to join boards together, allowing me to make puzzles that were larger than could be made via a single board due to the throat restrictions of my scroll saws. I mapped out a strategy and eventually came up with a solution for this puzzle involving four boards. I did most of the digital design work and planning in May 2010 and in June printed a set of four "mock up" prints, mounted them on to four boards and over a several day period, tested a methodology to double cut the boards, so that a single image could be created. This exercise proved invaluable as I worked out a number of problems.

I printed the production images along with "control guides" for the alignment required for the double cutting in mid June.

The four prints used for Puzzle #836, , The Garden of Earthly Delights

I printed the imagery on Ilford Gallerie "Professional Inkjet Photo Range" Smooth Pearl Paper on a 24" wide Epson 7600 printer using archival Ultrachrome inks. The prints overlapped for the eventual double cutting to be done to join the images.

I normally do my own mounting of prints using a combination of white glue and wood glue. However given the vast size of this puzzle and the fact that I've had some problems with some of my larger self mounted puzzles, I decided to have the prints professionally dry mounted. The boards were prepared using 5-ply Appleply wood.

After the four boards were mounted, I then sprayed two passes of Krylon Fixativ and then two passes of Krylon Acrylic Clear on to each board to eliminate the chances of any ink smearing while subsequently handling the boards.

One of the boards resting in the "spray box" I used to keep breezes from blowing dust on to the work while spraying

Mounted and sprayed boards on shop floor


The next step was to start cutting!

Part 1 - Initial cuts

The first main task was to subdivide each of the four boards into smaller sections in preparation of the double cutting process.

Left Panel - primary initial cut
The white extensions are control guides which were used for aligning sections for the double cutting to take place later

Center Panel - left board - primary initial cut in progress

Center Panel - left board - primary initial cut

Center Panel - right board - primary initial cut in progress
The piece of tape marked where I could stop using the Excalibur scroll saw and switch to a Hegner with a smaller throat

Center Panel - primary initial cuts done

Center Panel - secondary initial cuts done
The two center strips (with white control guides) have the same image and were then double cut as described below

Right Panel - primary initial cut done
This board was further subdivided, not shown

Part 2 - Double cuts

After the primary and secondary initial cuts for all the boards were done, the next step was to do the double cuts so that the boards could be merged together as one magnificent work in progress! I had decided that the three panels would be joined using "hinge" cuts along the hinges of the triptych. During the mock-up I found that the hinge double cuts were far less problematic that the double cut required to join the left and right halves of the center panel, which was to be cut in my Long Round cutting style at a scale small enough enough to eventually produce small pieces! I decided to do the difficult center double cut first, because if that failed I would have to "only" replace the left and right halves of the center panel. If I did the hinge double cuts first and then the center double cut failed I'd have to replace all four boards.

As the puzzle was to be 30" high, I could not do each double cut along the full vertical length of the puzzle because my largest saw had a 30" throat which would be too short as the white control guides extended the height another inch at either end, plus it would be very hard to spin such a long shape around the end of such a tiny blade even if I could! Therefore I came up with the idea of doing the double cuts in halves. However by doing the double cuts in halves I could only nail the boards together at one end which would make the other end subject to some slight movement possibly compromising the precision required for a good cut. I then came up with a another idea, to have wide control strips which could be nailed together to reduce the rotation.

The following shows some of the stages of the double cutting process for the upper half of the center panel.

To the left - the top right section of the left hand board of the center panel
To the right - the top left section of the right hand board of the center panel

Mission - line up and secure the boards together, cut them and have the left hand side of the left strip fit nicely into the right hand side of the right strip with the image matching perfectly! Prior experimentation had shown that if I placed the left section on top of the right section I was more likely to get a good fit of the left side of the top section with the right side of the bottom section than if I placed the right section on top - I leave it up to scroll saw physicists to explain why this is true.

Lining up the boards, a meticulous process

Keep them from moving during nailing

After nailing
The grid lines at the top helped with the alignment exercise - even then sometimes I had to join them several times before accepting the alignment
Two nails at the green arrows helped prevent even slight rotation of the bottom ends - I could not nail through the top board here, that side is production!

In the above picture, you can see small pieces of tape with arrows drawn on them. These were reminders to change the blade. As a blade wears down, increased pressure is required to feed the wood into the saw, causing the blade to bend more and the chances of creating double cut sections which would not fit together. In such a massive project as this I aimed to keep the chances of failure as low as possible! I used five blades for each of the two center panel sections, plus another one as one broke.

The two halves after cutting - will the key sections fit?

Yes! Success on June 25, 2010
The scrap halves fit together too (not shown), I'm keeping those as souvenirs for now

After the harrowing center panel double cuts were done with success I then did the hinge double cuts. These went much faster and fit together nicely

Top and bottom sections to be double cut for the hinge cut connecting the left and center panels
I used templates for the hinge cuts, these had to be carefully aligned too

Hinge cut in progress for the bottom half of the left hand hinge.
The long strips of tape were naturally on the "scrap" side

After all the double cutting was done, I had the pleasure to piece all of the sections together and for the first time behold the unified work prior to the detailed cutting!

Successful join!

It took me four full days of work to do the initial and double cutting, June 23-26, 2010.

Part 3 - Piece cutting

After the harrowing initial and double cutting phases were done, I could now settle into the longer more "routine" cutting, although with a goal of 4200 pieces, I had a lot of cutting ahead of me.

First up was the Left Panel - sometimes referred to as Paradise or Eden. This panel took four long days of work starting on June 28 and ending on July 1, 2010. I hit what would turn out to be the worst void of the puzzle near the bottom. Repairs were not perfect but in looking at the image from the front, the area affected is extremely difficult to find and I'm not telling unless someone asks at the Puzzle Parley! [Edit: no-one did.] I was very pleased with the way the Swirl Curl cutting went for this panel.

There are MANY things I could discuss about this painting that I saw through hours and hours, no, days and days of looking at the high resolution imagery through a magnifying glass. That is for another time and place.

Status as of June 30, 2010

In the lower left of the panel, I placed some text documenting the merger of the Prado and Google images
Note the fine "sway curl" just above the word "Prado"

Puzzle 836 - Left Panel - Swirl Curl cutting style, 1121 pieces (panel pictures taken in sunlight)
In the sky, there is a Penta-Curl

Left Panel - figural set and Signature Piece
Frog, kitten, clover, howling wolf, Pellie the Pelican, Swirl Curl Butterfly

Next up was the Center Panel - sometimes referred to as Paradise Imagined. This panel took seven long days of work: three days for the left side starting on July 2 and ending on July 4, then four days for the right side starting July 5, break on July 6 and working July 7 through the 9th, 2010. Cutting went extremely well. I hit two voids, both were inconsequential.

Puzzle 836 - Center panel (left hand board) - July 3, 2010
Also shown - puzzle piece count tracking sheet, mask, and puzzle tasks time log

Left Panel in Swirl Curl, the right panel in Long Round - July 5, 2010

Center panel status - July 7, 2010

Center Panel - Long Round cutting style, 2506 pieces

Center Panel - figural set
The Observer (checking out a fantastic structure off in the distance), Scorpion, Diving Woman, Earlet Star, Fish
Dachshund (a.k.a. Wiener Dog), Magic Lamp
Turtle, Dragon, xXx

Portion of the back of the vast center panel prior to sanding

Next up was the Right Panel - usually referred to as Hell. Coincidentally I was reading Barron's today (July 24, 2010) and found this quote in an article about volatility in the "The Striking Price" section. The article ended "Bottom line: If 10-year volatility remains elevated, investors could spend the next decade feeling trapped in a Hieronymus Bosch painting of hell." Another coincidence about this work: The World Cup which recently ended had the Netherlands losing to Spain in the final. The painting was painted in the Netherlands and ended up in Spain!

The right panel took six days to cut, starting on July 12 and ending July 17, 2010. So the grand total was 21 days to cut this puzzle. Add weeks for the digital imagery phase, the full scale mock-up test of the double cutting, and add four long days to inspect and clean all the pieces. Then more days for photos and write-up, both in my puzzle journal and for the auction. Looks to be about a two month effort, maybe more! Anyway, during the cutting of the "hell" panel, we had a heat wave and it went up to a hellish 103 degrees in my shop at the peak!

I was quite concerned that I would hit a void while cutting something fancy, as this section was cut in my Creative style. Fortunately I discovered the only void before any damage could be done and repaired it without any problems.

Puzzle 836 - Right Panel - progress as of July 13, 2010
Some very nice Creative style cutting here

July 17, 2010 - just two pieces to go!
Puzzle task log in background (I used "sticks" made from the white areas trimmed from the edges of the panels).

Right Panel - Creative cutting style, 644 pieces

Right Panel - Figural set
Solar Star, Knife, Lightning Bolt
Flying Saucer, Dalek (look up Doctor Who)
100 Puzzles Project logo (signed on the back indicating the puzzle is the 100th puzzle of the 100 Puzzles Project)
The logo piece is exclusive to the 100th puzzle

Puzzle 836 - Right Panel being assembled

During the long inspection / cleaning process (four days), I took small sections apart, counted the pieces, cleaned and reassembled. However for the more delicate Creative style right panel, I disassembled the whole panel and later reassembled it - lot of fun, even though my strong familiarity with the picture helped me place many pieces!

Right Panel in another light

I thank everyone who over the years have bid on puzzles within this project! I've enjoyed corresponding with many of you and I hope to see some of you in the years to come! Thank you again. John.

100 Puzzles Project - Famous Artist Puzzles History
2000: none
2001: none
2002: none
2003: none
2004: #37 Van Gogh, The Church At Auvers
2005: #48 Caspar David Friedrich, Ploughed Fields
2006: none
2007: #65 William Bouguereau, Shepherdess
2008: none
2009: #93 Asher B. Durand, First Harvest in the Wilderness
2010: #98 Joan Miro, Carnival of Harlequin, #100 Hieronymus Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights

Note: I cut my jigsaw puzzles using a scroll saw, hand guiding the wood into the blade, this is not a laser or water jet cut puzzle. No templates was used for this puzzle, except to cut my signature piece and the "hinge" panel connectors. My puzzles cover fantasy, landscapes, my geometric patterns, famous paintings, mythology - a diverse spectrum of the human condition and more.

Special Notice: I am currently closed to orders - I will re-open on a limited basis in 2011.

Shipping cost within the U.S. via 3-Day FedEx is $14.00; via Priority Mail is $7.00. Contact me regarding international rates. I accept payment via PayPal only. California residents add 8.75% sales tax. I'll ship to anywhere in the world.

The Garden of Earthly Delights -Panels Closed

The Garden of Earthly Delights
Hieronymus Bosch
Date Completed
July 17, 2010
56 1/4" x 30" (prior to cutting)
Cutting Style
# Pieces
4271 (new record)
Color Line Cutting
First Panel: Frog, Kitten, Clover Leaf, Howling Wolf, Pellie the Pelican, Swirl Curl Butterfly

Second Panel: The Observer (checking out a fantastic structure off in the distance), Scorpion, Diving Woman, Earlet Star, Fish, Dachshund (a.k.a. Wiener Dog), Magic Lamp, Turtle, Dragon, xXx

Third Panel: Solar Star, Knife, Lightning Bolt, Flying Saucer, Dalek, 100 Puzzles Project logo

© John S. Stokes III - Puzzle Crafter & Webmaster

Home About Cutting Styles Journal Custom Puzzle Log Gallery Puzzle Log 100 Puzzles Project Annual Auctions
Puzzle 835 Puzzle 840