Welcome to Pelican Puzzles!
What's so great about hand-cut wooden jigsaw puzzles? A lot of things. They're art you can play with. They're much more interesting to put together than a die-cut cardboard puzzle because the pieces are irregularly shaped, and the puzzle cutter can use special features that make them more challenging. They last for many years, so they can be passed down from one puzzle fancier to the next. There's a very satisfying feel to a well-cut piece slipping into place that you don't get with a cardboard puzzle. It's hard to appreciate any of this until you get your hands on one.
My puzzles are cut by hand one piece at a time, and I try to make each piece into an attractive shape. I don't use a pattern, except for the figurals (see below). I use 1/4″ 5-ply hardwood plywood that has a fine art print glued to one side. The inks, paper, and glue are all archival quality, so the art won't fade for a long time. Still, I don't recommend leaving the puzzle sitting in the sun. I use a scroll saw with a blade that is only .008″ wide, so the pieces fit pretty snugly together. Each finished puzzle is sanded and finished with non-toxic oil on the back.
Puzzles cutting styles are as individual as the cutter, and I guess I'd call my style curly. Other than the places where I intend to cut a straight line, like the edge or a false internal edge, the cutting line never stops curving. Another aspect of my cutting style is that my pieces tend to be smaller than those of most other puzzle makers, so even a puzzle of relatively small dimensions can be a challenge to assemble. The final product is a tightly interlocking wooden jigsaw puzzle with an intricate pattern of pieces.
Nearly every puzzle I make has my signature pelican piece, which I initial and date on the back. Most of my puzzles have similar pieces, called whimsies or figurals, in the shape of animals, dancing ladies, or anything else that seems to fit the theme and size of the puzzle. People tend to enjoy having figurals in a puzzle, although it makes them easier to put together. Sometimes that feels like a blessing!
At present I am not making puzzles for sale, but feel free to visit my gallery. It contains pictures of some of the puzzles I've made in the past and illustrates a sample of my work.
Thanks for visiting my site, and happy puzzling!
© Copyright 2005. All Rights Reserved.
Blaire Finney, Puzzle Maker