As a toy maker, you do not need to limit your creations to a young audience. The games and puzzles featured in this chapter will captivate adults and children alike— without causing you much expense. Most games and puzzles can be fashioned from wood scraps left over from other projects.
As shown beginning on page 98, a chessboard can be glued up from strips of contrasting wood, such as ash and walnut, cut from two boards. The 32 chessmen needed for the game can be turned on a lathe from small blanks. The crib – bage board illustrated on page 105 was produced from a piece of pur – pleheart left over from another project. And the layered jigsaw puzzle featured in the photo on page 108
was assembled from small bits of different-colored hardwoods, including bubinga, walnut, and wenge.
The making of wooden games and puzzles has a long history. In 1760, English craftsman John Spillsbury created what he called “dissected maps for the teaching of geography" by
gluing maps to thin sheets of mahogany and cutting out the features for his lessons. As show-n starting on page 108, you can apply Spillsbury s techniques to produce jigsaw puzzles out of paper and wood. In fact, you can produce a puzzle illustrating virtually any image that can be rendered on paper, from postcards and road maps to place mats and color photocopies. Just glue the paper onto a wood base and cut the puzzle on a band saw or scroll saw.
The projects described on the following pages can be as simple or as challenging as your woodworking skills allow. The chessmen illustrated on page 102, for example, are fairly easy to turn on the lathe, but you can make them as elaborate as you like. Similarly, a basic cribbage board can be embellished by adding contrasting veneer inlay to the base wood before drilling the peg holes. And as you become more proficient at cutting out jigsaw puzzles, you can tackle projects that feature smaller pieces, creating more elaborate results.
The all-wood chessboard shown at left was assembled from alternating strips of ash and walnut, and mounted in a walnut frame. The piece shown, a 6-inch-high king, was turned by woodworker Michael Mode of New Haven, Vermont.