Impossible II

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Blog entry by BritBoxmaker posted 08-03-2010 06:39 PM 12310 reads 49 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi everyone. Here is the method for making the Impossible II. Before we start I didn’t take any photos during the build for this one. I needed to concentrate full time on it and taking pics can be distracting. The CAD drawings provided here should do the job . I’ve seen Steve (spalm) use this sort of thing to great effect. I’m not giving exact sizes, you can scale things off of the pics. This will give you the angles too, mostly 60°.

First the complete pattern

You need to find the minimum repeatable unit, which in this case is a hexagon

This is made up of six triangles

Each of these triangles is made up of five pieces

The four woods I used were Pau Amarello, Padauk, Purpleheart and Ebony

So for the whole hexagon you need six of the large shapes (of each of the first three woods), two of the mid sized shapes (of each of the first three woods) and six small Ebony triangles.

To make an end grain pattern you make up sticks with the above outlines, long enough to cut into slices, when the hexagon is finished, to make up your overall pattern.

I first glued up the pieces for each of the six triangles using PVA and masking tape to bind them, cleaned them up on the drum sander and then stuck them together (in the correct order) again with PVA and tape.
When this assembly was dry I removed the tape and sliced the hexagonal stick into slices, arranged and glued them to a backboard and trimmed it with Ebony.

Thats it in a nutshell. Have fun.

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

24 comments so far

View Cozmo35's profile


2200 posts in 3397 days

#1 posted 08-03-2010 07:05 PM

Martyn, This is an amazing piece, but you make it sound easy with your description. I am in awe of your talent! THANK YOU FOR POSTING IT!!

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

View kevinw's profile


199 posts in 4100 days

#2 posted 08-03-2010 07:19 PM

How did you cut the pieces in an accurate and repeatable enough fashion?

-- Kevin, Blue Springs, MO

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 4367 days

#3 posted 08-03-2010 07:24 PM

Very cool. Looks like one of those magic eye pictures.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View lumberdustjohn's profile


1263 posts in 3528 days

#4 posted 08-03-2010 07:32 PM

Thanks for the posting.
This is not on my to do list yet.
I will relax and enjoy yours.

-- Safety first because someone needs you.

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3397 days

#5 posted 08-03-2010 08:06 PM

Kevin, I cut them on a tablesaw with the blade set to 60°. Oh and a fence to cut against. Distances set using the micro-adjuster I posted recently. Plus I cut all of one size in one go without a break and no adjustment of the fence between cuts.

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

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 3283 days

#6 posted 08-03-2010 09:29 PM

Martyn, you are so precise in doing all the pieces in systematic way. The smallest ones to do is the ebony and the other which I think was done gluing the component board then ripped it to a prismatic triangle, crosscut to thickness. The trapezoid component of the triangle is ripped then crosscut. Hard to guess, and much harder to do it. Thanks for posting.

-- Bert

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3476 days

#7 posted 08-03-2010 10:34 PM

thank´s for posting
one more question
I know you played around with endgrain but cuoldn´t it have been made
the otherway and obtained the same feeling in the finished piece
and wuoldn´t it have been easyer to make the cuts and glue up


View moshel's profile


865 posts in 4045 days

#8 posted 08-03-2010 10:53 PM

that takes some precision cuts to get without noticeable gaps in the glueup….

as I am not as precise i would at least glue the inner pieces of wood and then rip them to triangles. would save me on ripping very small strips that i don’t really like. will also make the glueup easier (but add a stage). amazinf work and thanks for the blog!!!!

-- The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep...

View tyskkvinna's profile


1310 posts in 3347 days

#9 posted 08-03-2010 11:28 PM

Geometry and I are pretty good buddies, but this makes my head hurt just watching …

-- Lis - Michigan - -

View SPalm's profile


5332 posts in 4243 days

#10 posted 08-04-2010 12:03 AM

Martyn, This is an amazing design. It really came out well. I would not have thought that such a complicated pattern would look so fantastic.

It also seems like doing it in endgrain was the way to go. That would have been a lot of small pieces if done with one glue-up in face grain.

Good job Sir,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View Chris Cunanan's profile

Chris Cunanan

339 posts in 3841 days

#11 posted 08-04-2010 03:11 AM

i would think it would be easier to make a couple glue-ups of longer stock, then just crosscut the triangles off ‘n piece together individually…i’m just thinking out loud, but please someone correct me if there would be an easier way? i’d love to try this, i could imagine it so tricky looking ‘n pleasing to the eyes if done right in the end.

View Mary Anne's profile

Mary Anne

1058 posts in 3570 days

#12 posted 08-04-2010 04:20 AM

You have outdone even yourself on this one, Martyn.
It’s great the way you break these down to the simplest (?) common piece and turn it into something extraordinary.

View zlatanv's profile


691 posts in 3595 days

#13 posted 08-04-2010 07:19 PM

Mind numbing!

-- Z, Rockwall, TX

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3397 days

#14 posted 08-04-2010 11:10 PM

Steve, Experience tells me that reduction and endgrain in combination are the only way I’d go for something this complicated, these days.

Thanks all for your attention and interest. I need a rest.

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

View Steph78's profile


68 posts in 3206 days

#15 posted 08-16-2010 12:53 AM

Pure genius! That is just amazing! Thanks for posting it!

-- Steph, Phoenix

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