Sailboat Puzzle

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Sailboat Puzzle

Freestanding puzzle captures the essence of the sea

By Will Richards

A swift wind ripples over the water. Spray surges up from the hull. The sun beams down, warming the water. All of these sensations can be captured in this sailboat puzzle. 

A sure hit at craft shows or a wonderful gift for a boating enthusiast, this sailboat will also hone your scrolling skills. Beginners can cut the puzzle from a single piece of light wood and stain or dye the pieces. More advanced scrollers can make the piece from different hardwoods, intarsia style. Because of the changes in grain direction, plan the joints for the tabs and use dowels or small pin nails to reinforce the tabs.

Making the Puzzle

Attach the pattern to the blank with spray adhesive and cover the pattern with clear packaging tape. Cut the pieces, reassembling the puzzle as you go. After cutting, remove the patterns and tape, and sand each piece, rounding the sharp edges and smoothing the surfaces. Remove all of the dust.

For a finish, I dip the individual pieces into a dish of Danish oil. Allow the pieces to dry for 30 minutes, dip again, and wait another 30 minutes. Wipe off any excess oil with a clean rag. Dispose of the rag carefully; oil-soaked rags can spontaneously combust. Allow the puzzle to dry for at least 24 hours before assembling it.




• Hardwood, 3/4″ (19mm) thick:
8″ x 8″ (203mm x 203mm)

• Spray adhesive: temporary bond

• Packaging tape

• Sandpaper

• Wood glue (optional)

• Danish oil

• Rags


• Scroll saw blades: #5 reverse-tooth

• Clamps (optional)

• Sander

About the Author

Will Richards has been scrolling since his grandfather gave him his first scroll saw. When Will is not working wood, he enjoys chess, percussion, and speech team. 


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