Puzzle 930 - Tricky Circles

By Custom Puzzle Craft

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Puzzle #930 - Tricky Circles
Image designed by John Stokes

Puzzlemaster documentary trailer with this puzzle included!

Puzzle #930 - Tricky Circles, just prior to sanding
With drop-out scrap pieces in place to make sanding easier

As it happened (from my Journal archives)

June 22, 2016

Wednesday 10:11 PM - In about 3 hours of work I designed the layout for the Tricky Circles puzzle, puzzle #930. I did some initial design work for this puzzle on December 4, 2014 and had not looked at that design work for at least a year! I used that work as the basis of the current design, the current design being far more complex! I no longer have my 24" wide printer, so printing a guide for some of the curved cuts is vastly more complex, 25 pages of overlapping prints on 8.5x11 paper with grid guidance to help with the alignment.

Puzzle work is schedule to start Friday morning with the presence of a videographer and a script writer! As the initial cut of this large puzzle is going to be one of the most difficult ever, I plan to do some practice work tomorrow.

I've narrowed the projected range of pieces from 500-650 to 500-575. Also I changed the status of the board as being not prepared, the previous board is a bit too small.

June 25, 2016

Saturday 9:19 AM - Yesterday I started cutting puzzle #930, Tricky Circles, my first official puzzle cutting since April 4, 2015! The fairly harrowing initial cut went well. I then subdivided the larger of the two sections, so I now have three large sections to work with.

Because the image of the puzzle is to be a surprise for the customer, I won't be posting pictures of the full image until after the customer has assembled the puzzle.

Todd Mattox (the husband of my sister in-law), and Frank Maggi are digitally filming parts of my making this puzzle for a possible documentary about the world of wooden jigsaw puzzles. They were at the shop yesterday with quite a bit of equipment including three video cameras.

I plan to subdivide the sections into smaller chunks today. Tomorrow morning, cutting resumes with the film crew present!

Setting things up for the film shoot for puzzle 930 Tricky Circles
Frank Maggi shown here. I lifted this panoramic picture taken by Todd Mattox from Todd's FB page, cropped it considerably and reduced its size for this journal

June 26, 2016

Sunday 10:33 AM - Did some cutting yesterday, subdividing 3 sections into 6. Will do quite a bit more cutting today with video crew present.

A subdivision cut for Puzzle #930 Tricky Circles

June 27, 2016

Monday 4:29 PM - Today I completed the interior and exterior edge work for puzzle #930, Tricky Circles. The design is quite elaborate and impressive looking. After I finished the cutting I allocated piece counts to the 23 sections. I've updated the estimated pieces from 500-575 to around 510. I had hoped to complete this puzzle by the end of June, but the way things are going, looks like sometime in the first week of July. I'm leaving for New Orleans on July 6, my goal is to get the puzzle done and shipped before I leave. Detail cutting starts tomorrow.

Due to time constrains with the rapidly approaching Puzzle Parley and call of duty around the house, and also due to the non-monochromatic image of puzzle #931, Golden Dragon #2 (was named Golden Dragon #3, but I'm now using that name for the one I've never seen), I'm changing the cutting style from Creative to Long Round with Creative. I've upped the projected piece count from 500 to 700, this number is still very preliminary as I haven't settled on the size of the puzzle!

Monday 12:15 PM - Yesterday I did the exterior and interior edge cutting of 4 of the 6 sections I created yesterday. Took about 4 hours. Video crew was present for about 1/2 hour shooting some footage of my work while doing the first of the 6 sections. They are now done with this puzzle, except they will be back when I cut the final pieces and do the sanding, tung oil and inspection. The puzzle already looks very very cool! Leaving for the shop shortly to do the final two sections and some prep work for the next phase.

June 29, 2016

Wednesday 6:21 PM - Yesterday I cut about 65 pieces, and today about 100. I've update the projected piece count back to around ~575 as the pieces are coming in a bit smaller than expected. Puzzle is going very well! Film crew was back in today for some detail shots. They are done now with this puzzle except to come back when I get to the end of the puzzle plus for some post cutting work. While I still hope to get the puzzle done and shipped before leaving for New Orleans, this is looking doubtful. Probably more like around July 15. After that I'll immediately begin work on my last puzzle as an official company, Golden Dragon #2.

Puzzle #930 - Tricky Circles - portion as of June 29, 2016
This picture was not posted on the web until the customer had completed the puzzle!

June 30, 2016

Thursday 10:56 PM - Was at the shop for about five hours today and cut another 100 or so pieces, cutting going extremely well, some of my best Creative style cutting ever. Haven't lost my touch at all. Now about half done the puzzle

July 2, 2016

Saturday 7:15 PM - Yesterday and today I was at the shop for about 1.5 hours each day and cut 35 and 36 more pieces respectively in puzzle #930, Tricky Circles. Cutting is still going very well. The estimated piece count is around 356 and the estimated total the puzzle will have is 571. I won't complete the puzzle prior to leaving for New Orleans this coming week. I'm now expecting to ship the puzzle around mid July. I will then immediately being work on Golden Dragon #2.

July 5, 2016

Tuesday 8:19 AM - Just a little cutting on Sunday (about 30 pieces) and nothing yesterday. Due to an illness in the family the New Orleans trip has been cancelled. I expect to get some work in on the puzzle this week.

July 7, 2016

Thursday 6:15 PM - Yesterday, again just a little cutting (about 20 pieces) of puzzle #930, Tricky Circles, and today in about 2 1/2 hours of cutting cut about 54 more. The projected piece count remains in the 570-575 range, with about 460 done. Cutting continues to be excellent, as good as any Creative style puzzle I've cut! Eventually, after the puzzle is shipped and assembled, I'll have plenty of pictures here and will create a dedicated web page for it.

July 8, 2016

Friday 9:41 PM - Did about 2 1/2 hours of cutting today, cutting about 52 pieces of puzzle #930, Tricky Circles. Have about 512 pieces done with about 60 to go. I'll cut all but a few pieces this weekend and then cut the final pieces on Monday with video crew present. Cutting continues to go extremely well. I'll also do sanding, inspection, cleanup and counting early next week with a goal of shipping the puzzle around midweek. I will then immediately focus on Golden Dragon #2.

July 10, 2016

Sunday 8:19 PM - In another 2 1/2 hour cutting stint yesterday I cut another 52-54 pieces of puzzle #930, Tricky Circles, and have just 7 or so pieces to go! I didn't cut the rest as the final pieces will be cut tomorrow, Monday, with video crew present. Tricky Circles is an excellent work and the reaction from those who have seen the work has been super positive. I will also do sanding and apply the first layer of tung oil to one side.

Today at Mixed Media we had a massive cleanup, with a second cleanup to take place in two weeks.

July 13, 2016

Wednesday 9:32 AM - I completed the cutting of puzzle #930, Tricky Circles on Monday, with video crew present. Also documented was some sanding and vacuuming and an application of tung oil. The puzzle looks great. Yesterday I applied a second coating of tung oil to both side, and this morning, moved the puzzle to my home. After taking pictures, I will take the puzzle apart, inspect, count pieces, box and ship. This process may be delayed if the video crew wants to document any of this.

This puzzle is historic for several reasons:
- Last custom puzzle cut at my studio at Mixed Media. I joined Mixed Media in December 1999!
- By far the most irregular shaped puzzle I've ever made
- Puzzle cutting video'd for a short film possibly to be used for getting funding for a feature length documentary about the word of jigsaw puzzles.

July 16, 2016

Saturday 6:22 PM - Puzzle #930, Tricky Circles final piece count: 574 pieces.

Saturday 5:22 PM - I just discovered last Wednesday's entry did not update, sigh. Should show up now. Meanwhile today I was interviewed giving background of my childhood fascination with puzzles, and a general history of Custom Puzzle Craft. I will start taking apart the Tricky Circles puzzle and still expect to ship it on Monday.

July 18, 2016

Monday 9:24 PM - Puzzle #930, Tricky Circles shipped.

Soon I'll take photographs of my K. Chin Golden Dragon #2 painting and have a print made from the best photo. I need to have the puzzle finished in time to launch an auction which will end during the time puzzle sales are being conducted at the 2016 Puzzle Parley in Salem MA.

July 23, 2016

Saturday 6:16 PM - Progress picture from the owner of Tricky Circles after 5.5 hours of assembly:

Tricky Circles is tricky!
Which side is the front? Only way to tell is knowing that my signature is on the back

Meanwhile I have taken several photos of the K. Chin painting I named Golden Dragon #2. I will be dropping it off for printing on Monday. The puzzle will be cut in straight Long Round without embedded Creative style pieces. The puzzle will be traditionally cut with straight edges and I will aim for the puzzle to have just over 1000 pieces with a figural set typical of my previous dragon puzzles. The puzzle will be about 25" high by 14 1/2" wide.

July 27, 2016

Wednesday 1:04 PM - On July 24, the owner of puzzle #931, Tricky Circles completed the puzzle after about 19 hours of assembly. Pretty fast!

Wednesday 1:31 PM - After some further tweaking of the image of Golden Dragon #2 for puzzle #931, I dropped off the digital file for printing last Monday. Yesterday morning I picked it up, looks great! It was printed on a Lightjet printer, with really excellent results. Later in the day I prepared a board and this morning with camera rolling, mounted it. First time, I'm pretty sure, I mounted a print at my shop instead of home. Later today I'll print the figural template set for the puzzle and tomorrow I'll check and see how the mount came out. I expect to start cutting the puzzle on Friday.

Meanwhile my 16 1/2 year run at Mixed Media is drawing to a close, as I'll be moving out after the Puzzle Parley. I've already begun the culling process of old artifact and mementos, keeping some, taking pictures of others and disposing of them, mostly from the "wall of horrors".

Tricky Circles
John Stokes
Date Completed
July 11, 2016
About 25 1/4" in diamager
Cutting Style
# Pieces
Special Cutting
Hhighly irregular shape with dropouts

© John S. Stokes III - Puzzle Crafter & Webmaster

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