LumberJocks

Teach your wood to spell.

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Project by LittleBlackDuck posted 04-13-2021 06:56 AM 573 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Boys and Girls,

Much to the chagrin of all the box makers, bowl turners and cutting board tragics, I am flying the flag for all the sadomasochistic puzzle makers… hmmm, well me and the other one out there.

Forever on the prowl to befuddle selected humans, that cohabit my earth, I came across this project by newbie BaritoneWoods.

What the cagey bugger didn’t tell the LJ world that it was not a puzzle made for kids, as first impressions (at least mine) implied.
He hinted emphatically about the time consumption in swapping out 26 irons is bit of a chore that I won’t be doing often and thinking I was a better Soprano than a Barintow I jumped at the thought of laser engraved time saver.

Thinking I could just engrave the 6 sides in one long length, I laid down my cask of vino and realised I had to cut the blocks to engrave on the ends… Not to be intimidated by menial tasks, I still opted to undertake the challenge.

Bypassing SketchUp, I headed straight for CorelDraw and started to setup the alphabet “matrix” (as per BWs picture)… found it near impossible, so I tried a table setup in Microsoft Word

after entering the full matrix manually (156 letter) and correcting numerous typos… I quickly (sorry, bloody slowly) realised that the letters were shuffled 1 character downwards with wrap around and all I needed to do after 1 alphabet is to cut and paste the other 6… talk about the adage of forest for the trees… (DOH!).

Came up with this Corel Draw design,

(more on the ”0” and ”X” later).

Won’t bore you with details, but then sent to the laser, 1 side at a time,

Then it came time to separate the letters…

  • Tried the mitre saw…

    dangerous… too lazy to wait for the blade to stop and raising it created missiles… holding the small piece down was a logistics nightmare.
  • Tried the cross cut sled,

    Unfortunately the work piece was hidden by the tall fence and my generous gut prevented me bending over the top to get a duck’s eye view.

    Even put on a new fence skin to ensure ZCI,
  • Resorted to my Incra mitre gauge,

    Now stop blocks are good but just the slightest deviation would exacerbate any oopsies down the chain.
    Decided to engrave cutting marks on the rod so I could visually confirm line up, and manually adjust if needed.


To get to the on/off switch of the TS, I loaded the power with a remote controlled power point that was controlled under my nose,

These cutting marks could have been used as laser guides on my Kapex,

however, I might still have to crawl around picking up pieces.
While writing this article and taking some follow up pictures, I did a test run,

and quickly realised this would be the best option… if I ever got drunk enough to decide making more of these puzzles… of course, cutting between drinks…

During lasering I did forget to spin the rod (only once),

align parallel to the laser bed

and copious other oopsies lining the bottom of my rubbish bin.

My first run of 4 was out of treated pine, hence the greenish tint,

I chose to see the effect of wood filler on one of them,


After testing some wood-filler on end-grain,

Filler dust gets into the pores of the end-grain so I masked the pieces before engraving and subsequent wood filling,

and sanding. Too much effort and only bothered with one set,

though after tung oiling,

it did pop

(though the picture doesn’t do justice).

Next run of 8 was out of structural pine.

In a way this was stupid as I thought that making out of 19mm pine was too small, so this idiot looked for timber that he could make 20mm cubes out of… Though in my defence the 20mm was based on my laser bed… any greater and I’d have to extend out of 2 separate strips.

The “sticks” were eventually cut into blocks using my Incra mitre gauge,

didn’t trust my fingers on the last few cuts,


and collated into sets,

to have the letters engraved on the end-grain. The end-grain was masked to minimise laser blowout.

The sharp and scraggy edges

were eased with 180 grit sandpaper,


eventually slapped together into sets.

I have wasted enough drinking time on these freebie give-ways, so any further subsequent finishing is left to the recipient.

As previously mentioned, this puzzle is quite deceptive as each side bears the full alphabet. If you use the required letter from a different side, naturally the letter on the correct side will be missing out of the solution and you’ll finish up with at least one missing and one duplicate… or more than just one.
Now if the solver notices, if they stick to end grain their selection is limited to 2 sets making it easier, however, if they stick to long grain sides, the options are quadrupled.
As I rotated anti-clockwise while engraving, I found that the best way to “cheat” (in long grain) is to follow the letters rotating clockwise

and the highest letter is it (B, C, D, E, ignore the A and Z)... the winner is E.

One set, I engraved the same letter on both end-grain sides making it more kiddie friendly as all they had to do is use the alphabet and avoid the puzzle feature,

One of the treated pine sets had ”O” and ”X” on their alternative end-grain sides, so that set could be used for some sort of naughts and crosses or maybe Connect 3 alternative games.

The cubes could also be used as a Boggle word game
Because of the self-gratifying word great, modesty prevented me from publishing this picture here,

Consequently, as the temperature in the workshop was 14°C, I decided to replace it with this,

Interesting feature of this puzzle is that when tipped out (retaining formation), the reverse side is in alphabetical order,

though disjointed… as is all side views.

For those that are not into puzzle solving, it can be distributed with 26 blank squares,

and the user can sharpie the letters on them… if they can spell!

Finally, the base tray has 3mm access holes so that the blocks can be pushed out with a tooth pick in case of humidity driven wood expansion. Oddly it is not required for contraction… go figure.

Keep safe, jocks... and your jocks, safe!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD





13 comments so far

View Dutchy's profile

Dutchy

4093 posts in 3250 days


#1 posted 04-13-2021 07:11 AM

What a giant work, but I think worth it. Very nice Alex!

-- https://dutchypatterns.com/

View crowie's profile

crowie

4576 posts in 3032 days


#2 posted 04-13-2021 07:25 AM

Alex, You are surely becoming the Puzzle Master

-- Lifes good, Enjoy each new day...... Cheers from "On Top DownUnder" Crowie

View Ivan's profile

Ivan

16788 posts in 3949 days


#3 posted 04-13-2021 04:03 PM

No like for this alphabet….!! Where is č, ć š, dž đ, lj, nj ??!!!

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

5122 posts in 2304 days


#4 posted 04-13-2021 06:13 PM

Sorry, you might be able to teach your wood to spell, but “puzel”????

Aside from that, you are truly a machine, no water fowl could be so plucky.

Amazed at how you torture yourself over the details, my guess is 50% of these will either be used as a weapon or as shims for really wobbly tables. The other 50% will otherwise productively occupy the brains of people who really should get a job!

The whole concept is a masterpiece, cubes with storage and not a choking hazard 8^)

View mafe's profile

mafe

13188 posts in 4170 days


#5 posted 04-13-2021 09:57 PM

Whoooo I thought I were fighting with my backgammon and pucket pieces, I can see you made your own Odysse here!
Really fun and inspiring to see all the methods.
Your sure put a spell on that wood!
Was really released to see it happen at the end.
Best thoughts,
Mads

-- MAD F, the fanatical rhykenologist and vintage architect.

View Eric's profile

Eric

1362 posts in 954 days


#6 posted 04-13-2021 11:26 PM

Nice little brain teaser for a few select folks. Great job. And they would be great for the kids, teaching them spelling.

-- Eric, building the dream

View mel52's profile

mel52

2061 posts in 1346 days


#7 posted 04-14-2021 03:29 AM

Sharp looking project. I have no experience with lasers, but after seeing this I may have to look into them one of these days. Excellent job and the photo setup really shows how hard a project like this really is. Excellent job !!! Mel

-- MEL, Kansas

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7076 posts in 1902 days


#8 posted 04-14-2021 11:08 AM

Thanks all… I would like to say it was an enjoyable project, but mum made me promise not to lie… even little taradiddles!
It was a project that I’m not too keen in repeating in the absence of a generous shekel remuneration!
One or two would have been somewhat sane, however, 12 (in two sittings) tested even my mental instability.


..... Where is č, ć š, dž đ, lj, nj !!!
- Ivan

They’re the letters I use when I can’t solve the FčćdžđnjG puzzle!

..... but “puzel”??
- splintergroup

I would never dare to use my religion as an excuse, however, being down under, we Aussies have a different perspective on spellin.

..... Amazed at how you torture yourself over the details, my guess is 50% of these will either be used as a weapon…..
- splintergroup

I remember the days when stoning was still an open to all event at the Olympics… bloody PCers.

Whoooo I thought I were fighting with my backgammon and pucket pieces, I can see you made your own Odysse here!
- mafe

Thanks Mads, however after using some of maj’s Croatian cusses after the repetition, I wanted to pucket!

Nice little brain teaser for a few select folks....
- Eric

Unfortunately splinter slivered the chip... all of the few select folks discovered their missile properties.

Sharp looking project. I have no experience with lasers, but after seeing this I may have to look into them one of these days.
- mel52

Thanks…. but, danger mel 52... do not look into lasers without protective glasses.
Shekels permitting, they provide a subtle service you can’t get from a CNC…. hurts like shit, but give a great tattoo on appendages only.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

26193 posts in 4187 days


#9 posted 04-14-2021 11:26 AM

That pretty cool, Alex. It is similar to a game I used to ply with the dis called Boggle..we’ll still paly it if they come over.

Nice work and ALL of them!!!!!!!!!!

Cheers, Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7076 posts in 1902 days


#10 posted 04-14-2021 01:01 PM



That pretty cool, Alex. It is similar to a game I used to ply with the dis called Boggle..we ll still paly it if they come over.

Nice work and ALL of them!!!!!!!!!!

Cheers, Jim

- Jim Jakosh


Thanks JJ... What seems to be a simple alphabet block, if you ignore the end grain, each character appears 4 times (6 including end-grain which is too obvious). If you pick the wrong character block (out of the 4) one of the other characters will then be missing… so basically you’ll finish up with 3 missing sequential pieces.. at least that’s the theory…
Because it can take a long time to solve, and a lot of patience, I realised it could substitute as a Boggle vehicle for the impatient (and a group). I suppose that’s why I persevered with completing the “project”.

With the way the world is heading, I’m getting a kick out of making people that receive my gizmos a rare commodity called THINK!

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View ellgee's profile

ellgee

71 posts in 3008 days


#11 posted 04-18-2021 05:48 AM

Well y’know ..
I took 1 look at the chart of letters-on-blocks and thought:
this would be too easy, with mostly adjacent letters on each block.
Obviously your experiences disprove that, but ..
it would be even more wicked if, instead of using adjacent letters, skip across by 3 or 4 or 10
or whatever, to make them seem random.
Maybe you’d want to play with such a chart in Excel (should be easy)
.. if you hadn’t already made a dozen or more sets.
Cheers
LG

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7076 posts in 1902 days


#12 posted 04-18-2021 06:35 AM



Well y know ..
I took 1 look at the chart of letters-on-blocks and thought:
this would be too easy, with mostly adjacent letters on each block.
Obviously your experiences disprove that, but ..
it would be even more wicked if, instead of using adjacent letters, skip across by 3 or 4 or 10
or whatever, to make them seem random.
Maybe you d want to play with such a chart in Excel (should be easy)
.. if you hadn t already made a dozen or more sets.
Cheers
LG

- ellgee


Thanks for your consideration and input LG.

As always (sometimes… seldom… never) no disrespect meant, but a comment deserves a response.

The “puzzle” is easily solved using “maths”... or just basic logic, however, the recipient is usually avoid of knowledge the pattern used, or most of my recipients, not sober enough… and just face a pile of blocks with apparently scrambled letters… that is the beauty of this conundrum.

I am a vindictive person (according to many)... I have scrambled the order to make it a tad more difficult in one of the combinations. However, I wanted to keep it in the realm of inhabitants of this planet (progressively sadly depleting grey matter… just kidding… I think… occasioally)...
Nevertheless, it could open opportunities to others to befuddle the remaining inhabitants of my planet.

There are many combinations/computations that could be addressed, however, unless I chose to sell it (though no one would buy it), not worth the effort for a give-away-freebie.

PS. Post reading my response…., I’m too proud (vino-infected) to retract my crappola, however, it is my “smart rrs” retort and not a direct go at your comment. Any offence will be inflicted by SWMBO on me (no need 4U2 duck) if she reads my comments.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

View LittleBlackDuck's profile

LittleBlackDuck

7076 posts in 1902 days


#13 posted 04-18-2021 06:40 AM

BTW… the above BS was meant as a sincere Thank you, elgee, in duck speak.

-- If your first cut is too short... Take the second cut from the longer end... LBD

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