6 Piece Wooden Burr Puzzle

Introduction: 6 Piece Wooden Burr Puzzle

About: Hi! I'm a propmaking student learning how to create props and visual effects for theatre and film :) always keen to learn new things!!

Who doesn't love a puzzle?

They're those little things you find on someone's coffee table in an awkward social situation and pick up just to give yourself something to do. It's only after a good 10 seconds of turning it over in your hands and pressing random parts that you realise you have no clue what you're doing, and the host of the gathering has been judging you for that whole time.

Little do you know, they have no clue what to do with it either.

Step 1: Basic Blocks

Cut 6 identical blocks of timber (I used Kauri pine, but most softwoods are suitable :D) into blocks 40mm x 40mm x 120mm. I used a combination of a compound saw and table saw for this.

Label each piece so you can tell which one is which, (much like you would with twins. Or sextuplets.)

Use a pencil and steel rule to mark the sections you're going to remove. See the reference above for what each piece should look like. In this scale, each "pixel" is 40mm cubed, so you could block it out with a 40 x 40 grid if that helps.

Step 2: Mark and Slice

With the steel rule and a scribing tool, (a craft knife works too,) cut shallow marks around the previously determined outlines. This will provide a sharper edge when you start chiselling out chunks.

Step 3: Chunk Removal

Sharpen your chisels folks, this may take a while.

Start by sawing (I used a Japanese saw,) straight down into the block (only as deep as you need!) where you've marked. Cut some extra, parallel grooves to help in the chiselling process. The more the merrier.

Grab a wooden mallet and start chiselling away chunks of the wood. Be cautious not to split it among the grain (which I definitely did not do, *cough* but if I did, I would have filled it with PVA glue and clamped it together overnight. ahem.)

When most of the wood is removed, hold the chisel flat on the wood, diagonal to the grain, and shave.

It's not as easy as it looks but don't be discouraged, you've still got 4 more pieces to practice on!

Step 4: Filing

Chisel not cooperating? Just grab a file and smooth that sucker down!

Step 5: Test Fit

Try to fit your pieces together. Don't cry when they don't fit. Just keep filing and chiselling away at each surface.

Above is a video that shows how the pieces interlock. I have watched it so many times...

Step 6: Finishing

When it's all the right shape and fits together, sand each piece down lightly.

I had some rough edges so I rounded them with a belt sander. (Just incorporate your mistakes into a design element and try better next time, am I right?)

Choose your finish- I just dunked each piece in linseed oil for a minute then let them dry.

THEN YOU'RE DONE! It can sit happily on your bookshelf, and the best thing about no one being able to pull it apart is that no one will see the mistakes you made on the inside :D

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    2 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Nice job. Extra credit for using a chisel :).


    1 year ago

    Nice work! I love little puzzles like this. Well done : )