This Jigsaw Puzzle Dinner Table is a Woodworking Masterpiece

YouTuber Simone Giertz is known for making all kinds of weird and cool stuff. Some of her creations are actually practical, others… not so much. But they’re always brilliant, perhaps none more so than this incredible table. If you love jigsaw puzzles, you’re going to go nuts for this project.

The problem with big puzzles is how much space they take up. If you don’t dedicate yourself to solving the puzzle as quickly as possible, it can engulf your entire dining table for months at a time. Simone’s solution makes space for both the puzzle and a functional tabletop using a mechanical top that rolls out of the way when you want to play.

As Simone explains in the video, you use a hand crank to roll back the surface and then lift up the lower tabletop to access the puzzle. Her YouTube video goes into detail of exactly how she built it. She also demonstrates a few early prototypes to show how the idea developed. 

Even if this project is too advanced for you to pull off anytime soon, it’s an awesome source of inspiration to push you to learn more and grow your skills.

Weekend Project: Make an Eastern White Pine Bat House

Looking for a fun project to test your handy skills or keep the kids busy on a summer weekend? Here’s a great kit that will make the work easy and rewarding. Made of Eastern White Pine, the Wakefield Premium Bat House DIY Kit features an echo-location slot and space for up to twelve bats inside. Why host bats, you ask? While some people may find them the stuff of horror movies, these tiny flying mammals are great to have around your yard. A single bat can eat up to 1,200 mosquito-sized insects every hour, and usually ends up devouring 8,000 of them in just one evening!

“Wakefield premium bat houses are hand-crafted in the USA and made of only the finest, sustainably-grown Eastern White Pine Wood. Eastern White Pine is an ideal material for bat houses because it provides superior insulation during the summer and winter months while remaining light in weight and easy to hang. The Wakefield Bat House DIY Kit is easy to build and perfect for educational purposes. Bats are one of the most important ecological health contributors to the planet; many plants are dependent upon them for pollination.”

“And despite popular belief, bats are generally quite harmless to people; they do not attack humans and are far less prone to rabies than even household dogs or cats. The Wakefield Bat House features an extended landing pad and an interior covered with screening to provide bats with a maximum foothold. It is also specially designed to include an echolocation slot, making it easy for the bats to locate the cavity.”

“Your bat house should be located in a sunny location, 10 to 15 feet above the ground, and preferably on the side of a building where there isn’t any shade. It is common for bats to wait up to 18 months before occupying a new bat house. Fall or winter is a good time to put up a bat house in hopes of occupants the following Spring. Each Wakefield Bat House is built to last and includes a brochure that describes the species, placement and maintenance of the bat house.”

When you’re done putting this kit together, mount it on a pole, on the side of a building or on the trunk of a tree with little shade, and position it facing south to southeast, so it warms up during the day. Make sure you’re a quarter mile or less from a water source for healthy bats. This kit costs $45.99 at Monroe, where you’ll also find a great selection of other rEastern White Pine projects, like birdhouses and squirrel nesting boxes.

Kinetic Wood: Sculptor Carves Custom Rube Goldberg Machines

Larry marley 2

Who doesn’t love a good Rube Goldberg machine? Named for the American cartoonist whose illustrations often depicted complex devices linked together to produce a domino effect, these comedic contraptions remain fascinating even in a world of digital distractions. People make incredible Rube Goldberg machines out of everything from kid’s toys and everyday household objects to industrial components most often seen in factories. But a sculptor named Larry Marley elevates the concept to a whole new level using almost nothing but wood.

The woodworking artist has produced a range of mechanical wonders, hand-carving all of the parts himself. That’s a heck of a feat, especially considering the precision required to make all those moving parts glide together smoothly to produce the end result! Even the gears are hand-made.

26685250_1622787141093765_7868919023855315571_o

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlY5K77n9na/?taken-by=marleyturned

https://www.instagram.com/p/BlKBXJnlXxj/?taken-by=marleyturned

Marley typically starts with a series of sketches to produce his designs before completing a full-scale mechanical drawing. He even created a software application to determine all the dimensions of each piece before he cuts, assembles, turns, carves and finishes them.

Larry Marley 3

Larry Marley 4

While they’re beautiful to behold even while stationary, you’ve got to see these creations in action to really appreciate them. Check out more of Marley’s work on Instagram and Facebook.

Watch an Expert Woodworker Carve Perfect Fibonacci Spirals with a Hand Chisel

fibonacci spiral image

Woodworking is a prime example of how math is used in real-life scenarios, proving that these skills are useful long beyond test-taking in school. Woodworkers often have to learn all sorts of formulas and calculations to get the proportions of their creations just right – but the Fibonacci sequence – a series of numbers in which each one is the sum of the two numbers before it – isn’t seen quite as often as others. When you make a square with these widths (0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 and so on…) you get a beautiful spiral.

fibonacci sequence

In this short but immensely satisfying video, expert woodworker Paul Sellers shows us what it takes to create perfect Fibonacci spirals with a razor-sharp hand chisel.

Though Fibonacci developed his numerical sequence to provide a formula that’s used throughout many mathematical considerations, and mathematicians may enjoy its reality in their work, it also occurs naturally in elements of nature too. The nautilus shell is an example and so too the natural numbering system appears in the arrangement of plant leaves, pinecones, pineapple cones, rose petal arrangements and so much more. The scroll in the violin range of instruments relies on the same system. Though technically not a Fibonacci sequence, I thought you would enjoy what we put together here where we combine the art of woodworking with the art of video craft. Enjoy and share!

fibonacci spiral image 2

Can Paper Cut Wood? Find Out in This Crazy Viral Video

Paper is thin, flimsy, and all too easy to damage and destroy. But anyone who’s ever gotten a particularly nasty paper cut knows its edge can be dangerous when wielded in just the right way. So what happens when you cut it into a circle and fit it into a circular saw as a replacement for a metal blade? The world’s most painful paper cut, if you’re not careful! Watch in this viral video, viewed over 12 million times, as John Heisz of ‘I Build It’ gives his paper saw a series of materials to tackle.

“This redefines ‘paper cut,’ I guess,” he says. “And while this really doesn’t have any practical applications, it was interesting to do. Even more so, since the paper I used was nothing out of the ordinary – just regular printer paper with no special treatment. Add to that the time of year (it was hot and humid, making the paper fairly limp with moisture), it’s amazing that it worked at all.”

Anyone want to volunteer testing this out with some card stock?

Solve a Puzzle to Turn Each Page in This Amazing Wooden Book

wooden puzzle book

Skyscrapers can be made of wood, gadgets can be made of wood, wood can be made as transparent as glass – seriously, what can’t wood do? The latest cool and unexpected wooden design is so intriguing, it has already raised over five times its goal on Kickstarter with twenty days remaining on its fundraising campaign. ‘Codex Silenda’ is a five-page book made of wood, each page featuring an intricate puzzle. To turn the page, you have to figure out how to unlock the corresponding bolts.

wooden puzzle book 2

“As the puzzler moves through the book, a story begins to unfold, depicting the story of an apprentice in Da Vinci’s Workshop who encounters the same Codex. However in the story the Codex acts as a trap set by Da Vinci to capture any would be spies/snoopy apprentices in order to protect his work. The only way to escape is to solve each of the puzzles before the master returns from his trip.”

puzzle puzzle 2

The puzzles look pretty incredible, full of rotating parts and wheel mechanisms, and every single piece is made of laser-cut, hand-assembled wood. Laser cutting technology is what allows these complex parts to be made quickly, precisely and consistently enough to be produced on a large scale. So what inspired the Codex?

“The problem with puzzles today is they are either simple and cheap or handcrafted and supremely expensive,” say the creators, Brady Whitney and Hanna Humphrey, on the Kickstarter page. “Yet once you’ve solved either type of puzzle, you know the solution and have no desire to ever play with the puzzle again. The Codex addresses this issue of deployability by offering five puzzles in one, an intriguing story that ties everything together and a hidden storage compartment. On top of that, the beautiful design makes it perfect for putting on display in your home!”

puzzle 3 wooden puzzle book 3

The fact that this puzzle book is made of wood is what truly makes it a collector’s item. It’s beautiful, durable, and there are no high-tech parts to fizzle out or go obsolete all too quickly. The pre-sales offered to Kickstarter backers have sold out, but perhaps this imaginative project will inspire more people to create such cool wooden curiosities. Learn more about how the puzzles work here.