TOOLS,TIPS AND TECHNIQUE (How i started).
Back Here in this page i will try to place and explain gradually all these things that i learned while practicing and reading on puzzlemaking.I will not start from the very beginning since you can find a lot of information on the books of Stewart coffin in The Puzzling World of Polyhedral Dissections.in johnrausch puzzle world site. But... what i will do is to add a brick to this enormous and endless build thats called PUZZLE!  
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  when i started making puzzles my first one was the Vega of stewart coffin.I made it with no circular saw but with a hand accurate mitre saw. It was very tiring and in the end the result was very satisfactory. The thing is that the Vega is made out of 18 same puzzle block pieces so it was easy to make with the mitre saw.Now the second puzzle i .....made was the augmented 4 corners which is a hard puzzle to make.Of coarse i didn't have any success because fine adjustments were required to cut the pieces nice. So i made three of those and none was any good.I sat down and said to my self that i had to do it right.Two years have passed now and during this time i changed a lot of jigs.I work in the Hellenic aerospace industry and i am familiar with tolerance on builtin so i am still practicing on my jigs to have the less mistake source possible.  
  One of the most important things is the saw blade.i have spend a lot of money in saw blades and i have found these are the "hot" point things: 1)carbide teeth 2) as many teeth as possible in the diameter the saw takes. 3)the teeth that have this order one "trapezoid- one straight or arched" the pic shows is the ultimate for having a nice and clean surface,after the cut. 4)the thicker the blade the better because its straight and strong. 5)the big and fat teeth take more times sharpening and avoids burning the wood.  
  Now take a look at both pics and see the difference in the teeth on the two blades.The top pic has thicker teeth than the bottom.I prefer the top one cause the wood "breaths" while cutting,plus it takes more times sharpening.  
  another important tools.A dial caliper ,a square, a "V" cradle.These tools promise accuracy on my work,and a steady quality.  
  an angle reader shows mistakes on angles,and according to what it says you correct it.  
  This is the way i make straight sticks from wood.i have made an "H" square ( similar to a "T" square but more steady)and an aluminum square stick parallel to it.This aluminum stick slides of the "H"square with the help of the two gold sliders {top and bottom of the pic}  
  On the left of the stick you can see the "wood holders".I have 4 of them. The two are in front of the blade and the other two are in the back. These little things press the wood stick on the aluminum.I also have one that press down the stick. 
  For example i have the stick 25mmm and i want to make a 24mm square stick.That means i want to shave down 1 mm. I name the sides A ,B , C ,D , so i know what side i am shaving.In the pic i start with the side "A".Now i place a mechanical filler between the aluminum stick and the "H" square.I put filler of 0.3mm,up and down the aluminum i screw the aluminum sliders and push the stick all the way.  
  After i shaved the "A" side I continue with the "B" side,and i stop.Now i have A and B Sides shaved ,I also have 90 degrees between them.The stick now is 24,7 but not yet square. 
  Now i unscrew the slider screws and take out the 0.3 filler.I place now a 0.6 mm,rescrew,and start the C side......  
  ......continuing with the D side.Now we have shaved all 4 sides and we have total 3 angles of 90 degrees.The stick now is 24.4 and square.At this point we change the filer 0,6 with a 1 mm so the last shave is 0,4mm and.... .....  
  ......we start shaving the A side again.Exactly now we have all angles 90 degrees.We continue with the B side and stop.The stick is now 24 mm and square.You can continue with the rest sides C and D to be sure but it want do anything.The blade will touch the wood and have a very very fine shave. Nothing else (thats if everything else is correct!).  
  A simple check that you have a square stick is matching two sticks and testing all sides between them on a flat surface (glass).there should not be a gap between the two sticks.  
  I always rip of my sticks short, about 35-40cm (12"-15") to minimize the bow error.its easy to correct a stick when its short.Of coarse you sacrifice wood but its worth in the end.  
to be continued...    
   
   
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