Puzzle 831 - Creative Art with Five Tricky Eggs

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Puzzle 831 - Creative Art with Five Tricky Eggs
466 pieces, Creative cutting style

So far, I consider this puzzle to be one of my very best Creative style puzzles - on the order of the recent puzzle #829 First Harvest of the Wilderness. I cruised through this puzzle, constantly coming up with neat cutting - see detail pictures, below in the Auction section.

As it happened (from my Journal archives)

November 16, 2009

Monday 7:04 pm - Yesterday I went to the shop to select a potential sheet of Appleply plywood from which to make a board for #831 Creative Art with Five Tricky Eggs. The Appleply sheets generally have one side which look really nice, while the other side usually has various veins and other color variances. For puzzles with prints, there is no problem, I mount the print so the nice side is visible for the puzzle's back side. As the Tricky Eggs puzzle will be all wood, both sides have to be really nice. This is less of a challenge when using Finland Birch.

The challenge was to find a 5' by 5' sheet which had very nice looking surfaces on both sides for a 25" by 16" puzzle. Yesterday, after inspecting about 10 sheets I found one. Today I cut and prepared the board. Looks nice on both sides. Tomorrow I'll decide where the five "Tricky Eggs" will be placed and begin cutting. I expect to put in at least four hours of cutting tomorrow. Cutting will continue through the work week and I'll see where things stand before deciding how much time I'll put in this coming weekend.

Tonight I'm going to take the first of six classes to learn an Argentine Tango choreography, not sure what I'm getting into!

November 17, 2009

Tuesday 4:28 pm - Cutting of puzzle #831, Creative Art with Five Tricky Eggs is in progress. Today I established the locations and "adornments" for the five tricky eggs. I did the initial cut on my 22" Hegner, a saw I'm increasingly disliking. Once I had smaller sections, I then did some more initial cutting on my 18" Hegner, my favorite saw by far. For some reason or other the 22" saw just doesn't flow well when making turns in the board and some of it shows in the work. Overall, the initial cutting is excellent. I'm "in the groove" now and I expect this puzzle will be as nice as the previous three Tricky Egg puzzles (one, four and six Tricky Eggs). No single pieces were cut today.

When I designed the five Tricky Egg pieces, I sketched their location and their embellishments in pencil right on the front side of the board. Here are pictures of three sketches. The actual cutting will be close to these guidelines. Note: pictures not to scale, the five eggs will be very similar in size.

I put in about three hours of work today. I expect to put in more than that tomorrow.

November 18, 2009

Wednesday 5:06 pm - Cutting of puzzle #831, Creative Art with Five Tricky Eggs continued today. I was at the shop for about six hours and cut for about 4.5 hours. As usual for this kind of puzzle, cutting is going slowly, as my elaborate Creative style is quite time consuming. I cut a bunch of my "usual" fancy pieces; there is one variation (in the upper left of the picture, below) which I think is new. Overall cutting is going quite well. I peaked at the back just before I left and the Appleply wood is working out well, no signs of any chipouts. I cut about 76 pieces or about 19% of the projected 400. I hope to make similar progress tomorrow.

Puzzle #831, as of the end of today
I cut one of the five tricky eggs, it is just off the lower left of the picture.

November 19, 2009

Thursday 6:19 pm - I worked about six hours today with about 4 1/2 hours at the saw. Cutting went a bit slower today, I did a lot of fancy stuff. Tomorrow I have a high school class coming to my shop. I probably won't do any production cutting during "demo" time, to avoid accidents due to loss of concentration. I cut about 70 pieces and am now a bit more than 1/3 done, cutting continues to go very well. Two of the five Tricky Eggs are now cut.

Puzzle #831, as of the end of today
The dark area bottom center is a shadow caused by extending my arms over the work to take the picture

Detail of some of today's work

November 20, 2009

Friday 5:03 pm - Another six hours at the shop with about 3 1/2 hours at the saw. Now about half done.

Puzzle #831, upper left portion, as of the end of today
No new eggs cut today.

Detail of some of today's work

November 21, 2009

Saturday 5:12 pm - Just a little cutting today with many weekend chores vying for attention. I subdivided the second half, then subdivided one of the quarter sections into three sections, in the process cutting about 10 pieces including the third of five Tricky Eggs. I'm now expecting to complete the puzzle on Tuesday or Wednesday and launch the auction on Friday. Cutting continues tomorrow.

Puzzle #831 as of the end of today's work
Puzzle now upside down from initial orientation

November 22, 2009

Sunday 4:09 pm - I spent another six hours or so at the shop today, virtually all of the time devoted to cutting #831, Creative Art with Five Tricky Eggs, the 95th puzzle of the 100 Puzzles Project. I cut close to 100 pieces today and have about that many more to go. Cutting continues to go very well. Fortunately I have not hit any voids in the wood, I hope my luck continues for the remainder of the puzzle. I have now cut four of the five Tricky Eggs. I've now been at the shop seven days in a row working on the puzzle. I have two more to go, as I'll spread out the remaining work. I continue to expect to start the auction on Friday.

I've decided that after the auction is launched, I'm going to go right into starting the December puzzle, Tiles 11. This puzzle will take just two days to cut, following a day of prep (print, board, mount). I will then take the whole month of December off from puzzle cutting - my first December not pushed by the Christmas / Holiday rush after nine years in a row of doing it.

Puzzle #831 as of the end of today's work
Orientation right side up

Third Tricky Egg
And a variety of spirals

Fourth Tricky Egg
I may sand the edges of some of the eggs, to tweak their shape
I did this for most of the Tricky Eggs cut in the three previous Tricky Egg puzzles

November 23, 2009

Monday 2:02 pm - I was at the shop for about 3 1/2 hours today, cutting all the time, have to focus on dance stuff now. Did a few more than 50 pieces, have about 40 to go. The final Tricky Egg is done. Cutting continues to go very well, no voids, won't inspect the back until the cutting is done. I plan to finish the puzzle tomorrow morning and apply coats of tung oil. I may move up the auction to Wednesday and conduct the auction as a five day auction, I'd like to complete the auction in November, for reasons having to do with eBay.

Puzzle #831 as of the end of today's work
Orientation upside down - dark area in center is my shadow

General area of today's work
Sometimes after being around my work so intently and for so long I wonder if this stuff is really any good. Seriously.

November 24, 2009

Tuesday 2:50 pm - Puzzle #831, Creative Art with Five Tricky Eggs and the 95th puzzle of the 100 Puzzles Project is completed. I've completed the sanding and applied two coats of tung oil on both sides. The puzzle is currently at the shop, drying. I encountered no voids and there is not even a single slight chipout on the back! There is one "but": Today as I was nearing completion with just 20 or so pieces to go, I made a "wrong turn" and ended up with a rather small piece. Yes it is a cutter's mistake, this piece will be just another feature of the puzzle, I'm not planning to mention it in the auction. [Edit: I ended up in fact mentioning it in the auction]. The puzzle IS an excellent work!

11/25/09 edit: pictures deleted, better pictures will be posted later

I also prepared the board for the next puzzle. The image for the next puzzle is going to take a bit of work, as I want to smooth out the diagonal lines. I need to think about how I'm going to do this.

November 25, 2009

Wednesday 12:52 pm - I've deleted the three pictures I posted yesterday. They take up space and I'll be posting better ones soon. The auction will start this afternoon local time.

Wednesday 3:12 pm - Final piece count 466. Going to take a short nap and then launch the auction.

Wednesday 5:20 pm - Auction launched! This is a FIVE day auction. I'll update this website with pictures soon.

Wednesday 5:51 pm - I very curious to see what kind of bidding unfolds for this puzzle! Traditionalists, I'm sure, would prefer that there be a picture on the puzzle and not plain wood! The remaining five puzzles in the Project will have pictures.

Puzzle #831, upper right showing the work I did yesterday (the board flipped to the "proper" orientation)

Close up of my work - towards the lower left
Lots of Flow Cutting here!

November 26, 2009

Thursday 7:31 am - A note about Puzzle #831, Creative Art with Five Tricky Eggs. I figure my total time on the puzzle was about 50 hours spread over 9 consecutive days, with about 30 hours of time at the saw over the first eight. This works out to a little over 15 Creative style puzzle pieces per hour, in line with previous figures for my Creative cutting style.

November 27, 2009

Friday 7:25 pm - Reminder: The current Auction is a FIVE day auction and ends this coming Monday afternoon.

November 30, 2009

Monday 4:45 pm - Auction ends in about 25 minutes, two bidders are tied for first place at $1,500! The first bidder will win if there are no more bids.

Monday 10:20 pm - Back from dance class. The auction is over. I watched the final moments of auction and again was super pleased, stunned etc., with the bidding. Thank you all. As the now famous (at least in some circles) 100 Puzzles Project heads for its conclusion, interest continues to build. On on a price per piece basis Creative Art with Five Tricky Eggs even beat First Harvest in the Wilderness setting a new record. This is particularly impressive for a "plain wood" puzzle. The Five Tricky Eggs puzzle was won by the owner of the Six Tricky Eggs puzzle. The owner of the first Tricky Egg puzzle (the puzzle has one Tricky Egg) also placed a nice bid. High up on the list (#3) was an owner of three of my Compulsories. The runner-up was a new bidder, identity unknown to me.

I have decided that the Tricky Egg puzzles will be unique in that I will not accept orders for any Tricky Egg puzzles with the same Egg count. So puzzles with 1, 4, 5 and 6 Tricky Eggs are sold. Puzzles with 2 and 3 Tricky Eggs will be available for ordering when I re-open for orders next year. A puzzle with 7 or more would be larger than what I can make with my current equipment. Year 2016 note: Tricky Eggs puzzles with 2 and 3 Tricky Eggs were evenutally made and sold in the series of Annual Auctions puzzles after the 100 Puzzles Project ended.

From the auction description:

This puzzle, Creative Art with Five Tricky Eggs, features for the 1st and only time within the 100 Puzzles Project, a member of my "Tricky Egg" series. This is the first only "plain wood" puzzle being offered within in the project, excluding three "Compulsory" Art Objects which all had less than 10 pieces (two of the Compulsories were painted and all of them had stands).

This puzzle was cut in my Creative cutting style with 466 pieces, there are no figurals. There is no color line cutting. I think all of the edges are directly interlocking. My "Tricky Egg" series of puzzles do not include my standard signature pieces, rather I select a nice looking piece and sign the back of it the usual way and for the Project select a second piece and mark the back indicating the puzzle belongs to the 100 Puzzles Project. For this puzzle I used 5-ply Appleply. The Appleply cut extremely well, there are no chipouts on the back. There is one piece which is quite small, about midway between the upper right Egg and the right edge of the puzzle, due to a lapse of attention, this does not affect the appearance of the puzzle.

Today while counting and inspecting all of the pieces, I gained satisfaction while handling the pieces, and when this happens I know that I've cut a particularly excellent Creative style puzzle. There are many very cool pieces in the work. Some of the "in between" pieces by themselves do not look like works of art, but when assembled, contribute to the overall "look" of my Creative style.

The following four detail pictures (upper left, upper right, lower right and lower left) cover the whole puzzle with some overlap, I did not get them all at the same scale.

Upper left - detail

Upper right - detail

Lower right - detail

Lower left - detail

A more detailed look at part of the lower left

Some of the any fancy spirals

Puzzle 831 in a box (will be shipped with foam liner and tissue)
The signed pieces will be signed on the back - these will be the only way to tell which is side is up (unless you look at the pictures)

History of my Tricky Egg puzzles (price added after the auction):

The first three were commissioned at the rate of $3.00 per puzzle piece. Final piece counts varied.

Puzzle #
Pc / Sq"
Name / Link
July 3, 2007
12.5" x 12.5"
Tung Oiled
Creative Art with Tricky Egg
June 9, 2008
31.5" x 16.5"
Tung Oiled
Creative Art with Six Tricky Eggs
Oct 15, 2008
18" x 15"
Tung Oiled
Creative Art with Four Tricky Eggs
Nov 24, 2009
25.25" x 16.25"
Tung Oiled
Creative Art with Five Tricky Eggs

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 for the Tricky Egg complexes. My puzzles cover fantasy, landscapes, my geometric patterns, famous paintings, mythology - a diverse spectrum of the human condition and more.

Special Notice: I am now in "deeper retirement" as far as making puzzles is concerned. I will continue the 100 Puzzle Project until it is completed. After the 100 Puzzles project, I will accept orders using a rationing method I've discussed in my journal on my website.

Creative Art with Five Tricky Eggs
John S. Stokes III
Date Completed
November 24, 2009
25 1/4" x 16 1/4"
Cutting Style
# Pieces
Color Line Cutting

© John S. Stokes III - Puzzle Crafter & Webmaster

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