This project took only a few hours to make, would be great to build with kids or first-timers in the shop, and was a great custom gift for the holidays.
Step 1: Dimension Wood on Table Saw
Using a table saw, we cut the 4 x 4 down to approximately 3" by 3". You can choose whatever size you'd like as this method is totally scalable - just make sure that the length, width and depth of the blocks are the same so you end up with perfect cubes.
Step 2: Cut Cubes on Chop Saw
We set a simple maple stop block in place on the saw so that every cut would be exactly the same.
Our photo puzzle was made from (9) 3" x 3" x 3" blocks to form a single 9" x 9" surface when assembled.
Step 3: Clamp and Sand
Place a board on top of the assembled puzzle and level any blocks that misaligned in the clamping process with a dead blow or rubber mallet.
Next, sand the top surface of the blocks to eliminate any small imperfections. 120 grit paper is sufficient, as the wood will be getting a covering later on and won't be a finished surface.