Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly, laugh uncontrollably and never regret anything that makes you smile. - Samuel Longhorne Clemens (Mark Twain)

Friday, December 2, 2022

Christmas Productions - Progress on the Roscoe Puzzle

There is a bit of history behind this picture of Roscoe, who passed away about six months after this Christmas picture. Its the last Christmas we celebrated in my Mom's condo in Boulder CO, just west of the Pearl Street Mall. Roscoe was my Dad's Portuguese Water Dog, when he passed (Oct 2015) away Roscoe and my Mom moved into the Boulder condo. Going from 5 1/2 acres of backyard was a little tough on Roscoe and my Mom just couldn't keep up with his energy. He did adapt pretty well to condo living though. So my sister took Roscoe to live with her in Seattle. She had a condo about 3 blocks from the Space Needle and he had a grand time living there. He had been ill just before Christmas and they were still doing tests, if you look closely you can see that his right leg has a shaved spot for an IV. He spent a very energetic Christmas with all the people he loved and he passed away about six months later.

It should be a pretty special picture for my sister, I don't think she even knows I took this photo at the time. It took about another hour or so to finish cutting this one up. I wanted to be sure to capture his eyes as a single piece otherwise they would be lost in all that black fur. I cut the nose and mouth as a single piece as well. The piece count on this one is a bit smaller than the last few I cut; 163 pieces down from about 180. My goal is to hit about 185 or so which is 2.3 pieces per square inch for an 8x10 puzzle, I figure anything over 160 is pretty good at this point. The number of pieces directly affects how difficult the puzzle is and you increase the difficulty by disguising corners and using a non-grid cutting technique (usually just referred to as random) but adding whimsies reduces the difficulty, a bit, because it gives the solver something pretty specific to build from.

There are a couple of things that I'm working on the most; cutting the whimsies (typically involving some pretty extreme changes in direction) and making sure that I'm cutting good interlocks so the puzzle doesn't completely fall apart while you are putting it together!

Here are the final steps finishing up the Roscoe Puzzle:

I had finished the edge previously and this is my second time around as I work to the inside. If you look close you can see that a couple of whimsies have already been cut out.

This is  probably my third or fourth pass, I think all the whimsies have been cut out at this point. 

Here is the part that still needs to be cut out after that last round of cutting.

Down to the last bit here.

The three important pieces I want to be sure to cut; eyes as a single piece, nose and mouth as a single piece and his dog tag as a single piece.
All cut out! Time to flip it over and sand the back down. This is why I have to of this little jigs with only two sides. Its easy to sandwich the puzzle between them and flip the whole thing over without creating a huge mess. For sanding I start with 180 grit followed by 220 and then 320. The both sides of the plywood (basswood in this case) were already sanded down to 320 before I started but all the cut out from the cutting has to be sanded down after I'm finished.

The  most fun a person can have, counting puzzle pieces. I do stacks of five and just line them up till there are no more to stack! 163 pieces for this one.

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