The Impossible #1: Escher Vibe

  • Advertise with us
Blog entry by BritBoxmaker posted 06-10-2010 08:00 PM 14607 reads 39 times favorited 37 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of The Impossible series Part 2: Mission Impossible »

Following on from yesterday’s ‘Trip to the Wood Shop’ let me show you where the Escher vibe has taken me.
Well to this

A beautifully simple, yet impossible pattern. Look at it long enough and you’ll see why the three dimensional world it represents is impossible. Even if you accept that its possible as a pattern in two dimensions ( you have to you’re looking at it) then the long slim rods and the triangles are possible to make in wood but the cubes that the rods go into would be a nightmare to cut out, even with a scroll saw.

What we need to do is reduce the pattern into repeatable, manageable pieces. You’ll have to trust me on the first stage (have I ever lied to you?)

OK thats gone over to the right of the screen but you can see what I’ve done. Simply by extending the lines at the ends of the long rods the pattern is now reduced to only rhomboids and triangles. Both possible to cut in wood. All I have to do to maintain the illusion of the sides of the cubes being a single entity is to keep the grain direction consistant and minimise the visibility of the joins by accurate cutting. The thin red rectangle is the area of the pattern I intend to make in wood.

These are the pieces the pattern is reduced to

Materials will be Ebony, Sycamore and Purpleheart. I don’t know if you can get your head around this at this stage. I apologise in advance if you can’t. I know some of my patterns screw with other LJ’s minds. Suffice it to say that Escher’s screw with mine. I think that with 82 of the top shapes and 27 triangles (or parts thereof) I will acheive this.

It should become more apparent what is happening :

1. Later when I have cut the wood shapes.
2. If the medication doesn’t wear off.

I’ll continue to post the pictures of what I’m doing, as I do it and even if you can’t get it at the time I’m sure that when (or should I say IF) the pattern starts emerging you’ll be able to look back and see where my train of thought was going. All I can say is ‘Good Luck’, we are both going to need it and trust me. I believe the impossible is possible and I hope to show it to you. If I don’t suceed at least I will have had a bloody good try and you can all have a good laugh on me. I suspect that some of you are already thinking ‘He’s really lost the plot this time’. We shall see…...........

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

37 comments so far

View jm82435's profile


1286 posts in 5204 days

#1 posted 06-10-2010 08:03 PM

yikes. I had to cut one out to believe it would work. It does…

-- A thing of beauty is a joy forever...

View spaids's profile


699 posts in 5155 days

#2 posted 06-10-2010 08:04 PM

Wow I can’t wait to see a real one.

Get to work!

-- Wipe the blood stains from your blade before coming in.--

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9239 posts in 4382 days

#3 posted 06-10-2010 08:09 PM

What a great project this will be! I often thought of doing the Eschler flying geese in some sort of scroll saw pattern, as it is much easier to cut curves than precision straight lines on the scroll saw. I can’t wait to see this progress!

Keep up the medication!!!!


PS – How thick is the wood going to be? What are you going to cut it on?

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View a1Jim's profile


118321 posts in 5039 days

#4 posted 06-10-2010 08:09 PM

Hey Martyn
I thought the last board you did was complicated. Looking forward to seeing this one.
Thanks for this and the other blogs you’ve done.


View Mary Anne's profile

Mary Anne

1058 posts in 4670 days

#5 posted 06-10-2010 08:11 PM

And I thought I was on strong medication!! I can see it, but it still looks impossible to me.
Good luck, Martyn.

View majeagle1's profile


1429 posts in 4958 days

#6 posted 06-10-2010 08:17 PM

O.K. Martyn….......... now youv’e gone and lost your marbles!!! completely gone bannanas!!! LOL

I love Escher’s work and wish you all the luck in the world. If anyone can do this, you can!
This is a great design….....

Looking forward to seeing the process and the final piece.

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 4498 days

#7 posted 06-10-2010 08:25 PM

Shiela, its going to be a box top pattern approx. 200×130 x 8mm in size. As with the ‘Little Bess Challenge’ blog I’m using a standard 10” table saw and a disc sander. In addition this time I’ll be using my drum sander to precision thickness components.

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View littlecope's profile


3152 posts in 4964 days

#8 posted 06-10-2010 08:27 PM

If you say so, Martyn… I am complete with faith in you… 8-)

-- Mike in Concord, NH---Unpleasant tasks are simply worthy challenges to improve skills.

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5344 days

#9 posted 06-10-2010 08:39 PM

Hey Martyn, I found your marbles! They are way over here. Just in case you are looking for them.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 4498 days

#10 posted 06-10-2010 08:40 PM

I’ll have what he’s having! WOW!

-- If you don't work, you don't eat!.....Garland, TX

View pommy's profile


1697 posts in 5153 days

#11 posted 06-10-2010 08:48 PM

this needs a complete how to martyn cant wait to see this one

-- cut it saw it scrap it SKPE: ANDREW.CARTER69

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 4570 days

#12 posted 06-10-2010 09:18 PM

Now I understand the “impossible.” An optical illusion that demonstrates a structure that can’t exist into a structure that does.

I think I need a case of those XXXX beers of Larry’s….

Looking forward to this one.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View GaryD's profile


623 posts in 4831 days

#13 posted 06-10-2010 09:19 PM

WHOA!!!!!!!!!! Cant wait to see this one

-- Gary, Little River,SC I've Learned that the Lord didn't do it all in one day and neither can I

View Woodcanuck's profile


128 posts in 4462 days

#14 posted 06-10-2010 09:23 PM

wow….a few pints from now that will probably look do-able….right now it looks scary. :-)

-- Ian - Life's a game, if you don't play, you can't win.

View Porosky's profile


619 posts in 4826 days

#15 posted 06-10-2010 09:23 PM

From The Matrix
Martyn: Do not try and bend the spoon. That’s impossible. Instead… only try to realize the truth.
Neo: What truth?
Martyn: There is no spoon.
Neo: There is no spoon?
Martyn: Then you’ll see, that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.

-- There's many a slip betwixt a cup and a lip.--Scott

showing 1 through 15 of 37 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics