Introduction: Wood Dowel Puzzle – Advanced Version

Picture of Wood Dowel Puzzle – Advanced Version

Last week I posted a dowel puzzle that contained 8 segments. To my surprise, it turned out to very challenging for my coworkers because there was only a 25% completion/success rate. The typical time before someone asked for a hammer to make the pieces fit was about 5 minutes.

This week, I’ve upped the challenge with a larger, 16 segment version. As you will see, symmetry doesn’t help out this time.

Step 1: ​Tools/Materials


  • Saw (table, miter, band or hand)
  • Sander
  • Wood Clamps


  • Wood - 6.5” x 4” x .5” thick
  • Wood - 1.5” x 24" x .5” thick
  • Dowel – 1” diameter x 48” Long
  • Glue

Step 2: Build

Picture of Build

You will build your puzzle to this drawing.

Step 3: Box

Picture of Box

You will build the box to this drawing.

Step 4: Base

Picture of Base

Cut 1/2" thick wood to 4" x 6.5". Since the dowels are 1" in diameter, you might want to add a small amount to the 4" dimension.

Step 5: Sides

Picture of Sides

Cut the sides as shown. If you grew the base, grow the 4" dimension on the side as well.

Step 6: Assemble Base

Picture of Assemble Base

Use glue to attach the sides to the base. Use wood clamps to apply pressure. I filled in a few small gaps with glue & saw dust at this point.

Step 7: Segments

Picture of Segments

The first 8 segments are cut with a 60 degree angle. Make two for each piece that has a (x2) note. I used a combination of a miter saw and band saw. For safety reasons, I used the band saw for the smaller pieces.

Step 8: Segments

Picture of Segments

The straight pieces are simple to cut. The green piece with angles on both sides took a little time since you will need to make the cuts parallel. Take your time and this shouldn't be an issue.

Step 9: Ready to Put Together

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Step 10: Fit Issues

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OK, it's hard to cut all of these pieces to the exact size. Use a sander to fine tune the fit.

Step 11: Everything Fits!

Picture of Everything Fits!

Step 12: Stain or Paint

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I didn't have that many colors so I took the easy route and stained the puzzle with a cabernet colored stain from Varathane.

Step 13: Solution

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Place the segments in the box as shown.

Step 14: Solution Steps

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If you plan to build this for someone, you might want to print solution instructions to go with the puzzle.

Hope you enjoyed the project!

Step 15: Smaller Version

Picture of Smaller Version

Click Here for smaller version.


jakeers (author)2016-04-23

Man I freaking love this!

mtairymd (author)jakeers 2016-04-23


About This Instructable




Bio: I like to design and build random things.
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