Puzzle 891 - My Backyard

By Custom Puzzle Craft

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Puzzle #691 - My Backyard
Print by Georgia O'Keeffe, provided by customer

This puzzle is interesting because the board was first cut into six intricate pieces using my "Compulsory Style". Each of the six pieces was then cut in a different cutting style.

As it happened (from my Journal archives)

November 26, 2012

Monday 4:36 PM - Made good progress today. I prepared the board for puzzle #891, My Backyard. Later I prepared a small board for a Compulsory style template for the puzzle. After lunch I gathered myself for the mental task of creating the template. An hour and a half later I was done, sailed right through it, and the results were quite good! The work features some of my mostly standard Creative elements with some new variations in the lower center. Also, I think this is the first time I've had two pieces along the bottom edge and four along the top edge. I later scanned the template board into Photoshop and enhanced the kerf (cutting lines) for the picture shown here.

Tomorrow I'll edit the scanned template and print it in full #891 size. There are some areas that need editing, particularly the "curvy zig-zag lines" towards the lower left center. I'll also mount the print tomorrow. I expect to start cutting on Wednesday - first I'll use the template to create the large sections, then I will decide which section will be cut in one of the six planned cutting styles (Long Round, Swirl Curl, Knob, Creative, Angular and Earlet). Some of the more intricate areas of the template may result in larger pieces - all decisions will be made on the fly after the template cutting is done. In any case, I'll have at least 625 pieces in the puzzle.

Puzzle #891 - Initial cutting template
Compulsory format - I like the design!
I used an old piece of 4-ply Finland Birch - hit a void and had two chip-outs on the front
Also my latest batch of blades are breaking like crazy - broke three doing this work!

November 27, 2012

Tuesday 8:31 PM - Decided to take the puzzle board out of the press (photo of the board didn't come out), then trimmed and taped down the template onto the puzzle board, and then completed the tweaks. Now ready for cutting!

Puzzle #891 ready for cutting
The notches around the edge of the template are used to align the template with the puzzle's image

Tuesday 4:49 PM - Today in several periods of work at home, I mounted the print for puzzle #891, My Backyard and worked on the template. I mounted the print about five hours ago and just now took a peek, looks great. I've put it back in the press and will leave there overnight for extra measure. I also printed a full scale version of the Compulsory template to be used for the initial cutting and marked up a bunch of tweaks. Didn't need to do much, the cutting yesterday was quite good. I also assigned the six cutting styles to the sections.

Puzzle #891 back in the press for overnight safe keeping

November 28, 2012

Wednesday 5:06 PM - Cutting of puzzle #891, My Backyard, is finally underway! Today I was at the shop for about 4 1/2 hours and did the "Compulsory initial cuts" and the border. While not as difficult as the larger and thicker board used for GR6, cutting the large Compulsory pattern via the template was still a challenge, particularly the initial cut which alone took almost a full hour. After I trimmed the edges I decided to call it a day. Cutting went well, no paper problems or voids.

Tomorrow I will resume cutting and I hope to get two or three of the sections done. First I need to come up with the appropriate piece sizes for each of the six sections with their assigned cutting styles so as to come somewhere close to 625 pieces when the puzzle is done, going to be an interesting exercise!

I like the design of the Compulsory template and may use a Golden Ratio variation of it as a "design available" within a possible future large GR Compulsory art line. As for GR6, I will be keeping it, and have discussed this with the customer who has the damaged GR5 and is patiently waiting for a better one. I plan to use GR6 for experimenting with a framing solution. I've decided that if I'm going to market these larger works (about 30" x 18.54" in size) I need to provide a framing option, just as I provide a stand option for the small Compulsories. I want to come up with something elegant and practical for hanging the work on a wall. The framing project will be something I do after the Puzzle Queue is done and after I've seen family on the East Coast. After I have a framing solution, I plan to cut a GR7 for the GR5 customer, and after that is done, at long last, finally I will have completed everything committed to customers!

A portion of the initial cut using a template for guidance

Puzzle 891 - second cut

Puzzle 891 - Current status, November 28, 2012
Each of the six sections will be cut in a different cutting style with a total of about 625 pieces
Also there will be three figurals and my Signature piece.

November 29, 2012

Thursday 5:24 PM - Cutting of puzzle #891, My Backyard continues. I was at the shop for about five hours. First, I determined the areas of the sections by weighing them and then prorating the total area by total weight. I then assigned the cutting styles and planned cutting densities and was curious to see how close my first pass allocation would come to 625. I would have been happy if I was within 50, the adjustment process would not be too difficult. Amazingly the total came to exactly 625 and I didn't have to do anything! Spooky or providential or something! Prior to the exercise I swapped the Long Round and Earlet sections. The allocation came to 72 Creative, 146 Long Round, 114 Swirl Curl, 97 Earlet, 83 Angular and 113 Knob.

I then started cutting, completing the Long Round section with very close to 146 pieces and about 77 of the Swirl Curl. Cutting is going well. Of course I'm in new territory with the shapes of the sections. Some areas of the sections require rather small knobs to cut the pieces and have them interlock.

Tomorrow I expect to get in another 4 to 5 hours of work.

Puzzle 891 - Current status, November 29, 2012
The section to the left was cut in Long Round, the section to the right, in progress, in Swirl Curl

Puzzle 891 - Portion of the Long Round section
Colors oversaturated in this picture

November 30, 2012

Friday 7:54 PM - Today I was at the shop for over six hours. The first hour was spent cleaning up the grounds, taking down a weather ruined tent over the garden which I was getting tired of looking at. Then in several long cutting sessions I completed the Swirl Curl cutting style section then the complete Knob and Angular style sections. I've cut very little knob (excluding grid style) and this puzzle may have the most knob style in any puzzle I've cut. Looks good. I've cut just one Angular style puzzle, Proverbidioms, way back in 2004! The Angular piece sizes in this puzzle are quite a bit smaller. In the recent Heart Kids puzzle both the Knob and Angular styles made an appearance. The total piece count is at least 457. I still have Earlet and Creative to do..... if I get a good night's sleep I may get these done tomorrow. The paper produced some lifts when I did Swirl Curl and a few more with Angular, all were invisibly fixed with a touches of glue without incident. The Creative style will produce more stress, so I'll have to carefully monitor while I cutting. Overall, cutting continues to go well.

Friday 8:59 PM - I added GR7 - 6 Piece Golden Ratio Compulsory #7, the remake of #5 (damaged during shipment) and #6 (paint wrinkling problems) to the puzzle queue. I also added #8, as I plan to make one for myself. While I think I have solved the paint wrinkling problems, I have decided that I will be offering a frame and there are frame design details which need to be worked out and tested. I have schedule #7 for January, but ideally I'd like to get it done in December. As for the final puzzle in the Puzzle Queue, #892, this is not confirmed, I expect to have final status shortly. Meanwhile, #891, My Backyard, is still one track for shipment on Monday. I continue to not accept new orders. What I'll be doing next year remains to be seen.

December 1, 2012

Saturday 3:38 PM - Yesterday's long day left me very tired and today I decided to do just one more section of puzzle #891, My Backyard. In about two hours of cutting I did the Earlet cutting style section with around 100 pieces, came out quite nice! Someday Mark Cappitella, the undisputed world master of the Earlet cutting style (he calls this style the "Traditional Earlet Cutting Style") should have a look! Today's cellphone photos did not come out well. I'll have better pictures of the puzzle, front and back, after it is completed.

Tomorrow I plan to do the final section. It will be cut in my Creative style with 70-75 pieces and I expect it will take at least four hours to cut. After it is done, I'll sand and vacuum the puzzle and bring it home. If there is still some good light I'll take the official pictures, otherwise the pictures will be taken Monday morning. On Monday I'll take the puzzle apart, inspect all the pieces for whiskers and paper lifts, count, box, pack, ship.

The final puzzle for this go-round, puzzle #892, currently untitled, has now been confirmed as an expected order. I'll receive the photo and specifications in about a week. So after My Backyard is done, I'm going to focus on GR7, as today I have moved it up as the next item in the Puzzle Queue. In parallel, I'll be working on a framing solution for the large GR Compulsory series. However, if I receive the specifications and image for #892 while GR7 is in progress, GR7 will be set aside until after #892 has been completed and shipped. Sometime in January I'm make another large Golden Ratio Compulsory (GR8) for myself, so I can have something to market to local galleries and beyond.

Puzzle 891 - Earlet cutting style section

Puzzle 891 - Current status, December 1, 2012

December 2, 2012

Sunday 6:38 PM - Been napping. Will post more details tomorrow after the puzzle has shipped. Meanwhile here are two pictures, will have formal pictures tomorrow.

Puzzle #891 - Creative style section
Colors off in this picture - sky has more magenta, less cyan

Puzzle #891 - reverse side in late afternoon sun, before sanding
Picture has been flipped horizontally, so the cutting lines appear as if taken from the front
Was too dark for pictures after sanding and I got home

Sunday 4:58 PM - I wrote a really nice write-up of today's activities then closed a wrong window and lost everything! Sigh.

The puzzle is done, will re-write the update shortly.

December 3, 2012

Monday 10:50 PM - I'm finally getting a chance to get caught up as I spent a lot of time completing puzzle #891 on Sunday and today about six hours going through a very long inspection process ending in shipment of the puzzle. Besides that I attended a "Christmas Showcase" ballroom party on Saturday evening, a Tango Milonga last night and a class today!

On Saturday, I did the final section of the puzzle, cut in Creative style, taking about four hours of cutting, the most mentally demanding of the sections. The paper, which held up extremely well in the Long Round and Knob sections, and quite will in the Earlet and Angular sections, and just OK in the Swirl Curl section gave me many problems in the Creative section - it seem every small tip suffered some intra-layer delamination and had to be fixed with a micro dab of glue. As I now have years of experience in this area, I was able to do the repairs without affecting the appearance of the puzzle, but I still I was slowed down. Today I did a very thorough inspection of all the puzzle pieces, removing whiskers from the back side, and inspecting for paper lifts and fixed quite a few more in the problem sections. The result is an excellent puzzle! I made shipment with just a half an hour to spare.

The final piece count came to 650 pieces, with 148 Long Round, 115 Swirl Curl , 89 Angular, 115 Knob, 102 Earlet and 81 Creative pieces including three figurals and the Signature Piece in their host sections.

Although the cutting lines don't jump out in appearance as in some of my puzzles with extensive dark or monochromatic areas, the puzzle is still impressive looking in some lights.

Signature piece and three figurals
Turtle, The Observer, Solar Star

Puzzle #891, reverse side

Puzzle #891, reverse side - enhanced in Photoshop

Meanwhile, today I received some images from the customer for puzzle #892. In the next day or two, the image and cutting specifications will be finalized. As thing are now rapidly progressing for this puzzle, the last puzzle of the Puzzle Queue, I moved it back up to being the next item. Tomorrow I'll focus on finalizing the details - image cropping and scaling, maybe some Photoshop image editing, and figural design. Currently looking to be cut in Long Round style with 275-300 pieces.

My Backyard
Georgia O'Keeffe
Date Completed
December 1, 2012
21 5/8" x 12"
Cutting Style
148 pieces Long Round, including Observer, 115 pieces Swirl Curl, 89 pieces Angular including Turtle, 115 pieces Knob, 102 pieces Earlet including Signature Piece, 81 pieces Creative including Solar Sun.
# Pieces
Color Line Cutting
Observer, Turtle

© John S. Stokes III - Puzzle Crafter & Webmaster

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