Washer Puzzles

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Project by FaTToaD posted 02-02-2011 06:37 AM 7622 views 62 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Over the last couple months I’ve been saving all my small scraps in hopes of making a bunch of washer puzzles. Well, I finally got around to it this weekend thanks to the help of my brother.

We finished a total of twelve this weekend, but we still have ten or more to go, plus there’s a whole stack of scraps waiting for next round.

We used several different types of wood to make them: walnut, mahogany, maple (splalted & curly), paduk, cedar, hickory, cherry, and even some poplar. We just sorta mixed and matched until we found combinations we like then glued them up. The drill press table sure made drilling all the holes much easier.

We sanded each of puzzles to 220 grit, gave them a couple baths in BLO, and finished up with some wax. For those who are wondering, the string came from Joann’s Fabrics. They’ve got all sorts of different types for less than a buck a yard. I really like the red string with the paduk and copper washers. Speaking of copper washers, those things are expensive, about a $1.30 each at one of the local hardware stores, but they sure do look good.

My grandfather gave me one of these puzzles made out of a popsicle stick when I was little, but I had forgotten about it until I saw a few here on LJ’s. Thanks for those who reminded me of how much fun it is to watch people struggle with these things. And if people are interested, I’ll put a blog post on how solve them.

I plan on giving most of these away as gifts. Maybe I’ll save a few for stocking stuffers for next Christmas, but I’m sure I’ll make more by then.

Thanks for looking!


EDIT: I forgot to mention the object of the puzzle, which is to get both washer on the same “loop”. The washers do not fit through the center hole so it’s trickier than you think.

EDIT: I created a blog on how to solve the puzzle.

-- David

17 comments so far

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 4091 days

#1 posted 02-02-2011 07:11 AM

Those are very cool. You are supposed to get the washer off or something right? One vote for the blog.

View ShopTinker's profile


884 posts in 3818 days

#2 posted 02-02-2011 07:22 AM

Those look like they would be fun to make and a great gift to give.

-- Dan - Valparaiso, Indiana, "A smart man changes his mind, a fool never does."

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 5323 days

#3 posted 02-02-2011 07:35 AM

Nice looking for sure… Would like to see a blog on the solving of the puzzle.

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View bill merritt's profile

bill merritt

203 posts in 4339 days

#4 posted 02-02-2011 10:11 AM

Here is the second vote for the blog, look good and use up scrap,good combo. And I would like to see how the puzzle works.

-- Bill Merritt -Augusta Ga. woodworker

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


20601 posts in 4725 days

#5 posted 02-02-2011 10:22 AM

Great idea for scrap. You might be the only solution out on the weeb ;-)

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View Ken90712's profile


17984 posts in 4238 days

#6 posted 02-02-2011 11:19 AM

What a great idea, yes I need to know how to solve them. Not sure what the object is, but what a great idea for all the little stuff we all save.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

View christopheralan's profile


1126 posts in 4770 days

#7 posted 02-02-2011 12:56 PM

Very nice! The one’s I made a few years ago don’t look half that good! Great use of scraps and a great game. I used to make these for the Marines I worked with and I can honestly say that many productive hours went to waste because of these puzzles.

Well done! I think I will make some new ones now. BTW, how did you secure the ends of the string into the end-grain? It looks really nice that way.

-- christopheralan

View turnkey47's profile


315 posts in 3741 days

#8 posted 02-02-2011 01:08 PM

nice idea for gifts and scraps and i too would like to see a blog on how to solve it!!!

View Sailor's profile


544 posts in 4314 days

#9 posted 02-02-2011 02:15 PM

After a few minutes Googling I ran across the puzzle. The object is to get both washers either on the left or the right side of the hole and hanging on the same loop. If that makes any sense. I am sure the OP will be happy to give the solution, I wont spoil it.

-- Dothan, Alabama Check out my woodworking blog! Also my Youtube Channel's Facebook page

View drbyte's profile


847 posts in 5112 days

#10 posted 02-02-2011 04:03 PM

Great looking puzzles. I too love the laminated look. I use it for bowls, pens and guitar/uke necks. I too vote for the blog! Making and working!

-- Dennis, WV

View FaTToaD's profile


394 posts in 4191 days

#11 posted 02-02-2011 04:30 PM

Hopefully I can get a blog post up tonight on how to solve them. It only takes about five steps, but few people seem to figure it out on their own. Anyone that’s at my house and figures one out, they get to keep the puzzle.

Christopher – I drill ~1/8” hole in the sides/end grain, wrape a small piece of painters tape around the end of the strings, then just use CA glue to keep the string in the hole. I haven’t had any pull out or come apart yet, so I think the CA glue works pretty good.

-- David

View abie's profile


922 posts in 4820 days

#12 posted 02-02-2011 05:46 PM

I made six of these for disadvantaged kids.
fun to make, great use of scraps.
Easy to solve once you have done it once.
don’t give away the solution too quickly.

-- Bruce. a mind is like a book it is only useful when open.

View Colin's profile


246 posts in 4970 days

#13 posted 02-02-2011 06:40 PM

David, don’t listen to Bruce, please post the solution soon, I have tried many different ways to solve this.

help required

many thanks


-- Colin, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. "Every craftsman was once an amateur"

View MrsN's profile


988 posts in 4575 days

#14 posted 02-02-2011 08:44 PM

How important is the length of the cord?

View FaTToaD's profile


394 posts in 4191 days

#15 posted 02-02-2011 10:45 PM

MrsN – Not too important, but you still don’t want it to be too short. Most of these puzzles are four or five inches long and I use about 12” – 14” of string. I would leave at least 2” – 3” of space between the bottom of the puzzle and where the washer hangs.

-- David

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