WITH home amusements gaining in popularity, the ever-fascinating jigsaw puzzle is again winning favor. Such puzzles do not take much material, are fun to make, and entertaining to young and old. Furthermore, they can be put together by single puzzlers or by groups, for amusement only or in competition for prizes.
Modern jigsaw puzzles with a military motif make up-to-date, distinctive gifts.
Pictorial subjects may include maps, magazine covers, photographs, calendar prints, and the like. By cutting some of the pieces in the shape of simple silhouettes of guns, airplanes, tanks, ships, and so forth, you give the puzzle greater interest and educational value. Children will enjoy identifying the pieces fully as much as putting together the puzzle.
By following the simple procedure to be described, even the beginner can turn out a good grade of jigsaw puzzle with a minimum
Military scenes, such as that of the warplanes above, make excellent subjects for jigsaw puzzles, and interest is added when simple silhouettes of kindred matter are used for some pieces-designs such as those on the preceding page. It is also good practice to interlock at least the border pieces.
When the picture is in place and the paste dry, trim off the edges of the panel with a sharp plane, working from the corners toward the center. Use a file on excess paper of tools, labor, and expense, and without using hard-to-get materials. Very fine blades are not necessary to produce an interesting puzzle. Plenty of heavier blades are to be had and with these the craftsman can use ordinary 1/4" plywood, . which is more generally available than the bass plywoods once preferred.
The heavier material and coarser blade make for wider curves and larger interlocks than were formerly considered the mark of a good puzzle, thus simplifying the work for the beginner. That clean, sharp puzzles can be cut with comparatively coarse blades is evidenced by the one shown in the photograph. It was made with a blade having 13 teeth to the inch.
Select a clear piece of plywood slightly larger than the picture to allow for trimming and smoothing the edges. Prepare a size by soaking a small amount of flake carpenter's glue overnight in cold water. Pour off surplus water and bring the glue to a boil over a slow heat, taking care not to burn it. The flakes will liquefy. While the size is still warm, spread it evenly over the top surface of the plywood panel and allow it to dry. This size soaks into the wood and provides a good base for the paste.
Obtain a small quantity of cold-water paste powder such as is sold at hardware stores, paint stores, and paper-hanging supply houses. Mix in cold water to a creamy consistency; then add about 10 percent liquid glue and mix thoroughly.
Prepare the picture by moistening it with a sponge or cloth on both back and front so that the paper will expand to its limit before the paste is applied. This also eliminates wrinkles and bubbles. If not thus moistened, the paper will have a tendency to curl and pull away from the panel at the edges as it dries.
Next, using a large brush, apply paste generously to the sized side of the panel. Brush it in vigorously, first across the grain, then with the grain. Apply plenty of paste, for any surplus will squeeze out at the edges as the picture is rolled down.
Apply a thin, even coat of paste to the back of the picture. Lay the picture carefully upon the paste-coated panel. Keep a wet cloth handy- to clean up surplus paste.
Cover the panel with a clean sheet of wrapping paper and on top place a few layers of newspaper. Roll carefully, first from the center to the edges, then in all directions, with an old photographic print roller. If none is available, use a rolling pin or even a bottle. This rolling should squeeze out all air and surplus paste from between the paper and the panel and press them into perfect contact.
Be careful never to place newspaper directly against the damp face of the picture, as the print will transfer and be hard to remove.
After rolling, clean all traces of paste from the picture face and the edges of the panel. Examine the surface for bubbles, wrinkles, and other poor contact, especially at the edges. If, in spite of all precautions, wrinkles do appear, pull the picture off and start over again.
When satisfied that all excess paste has been removed, lay the panel face up on a solid, flat, smooth surface. Cover with a layer of thin waxed paper such as that used for wrapping sandwiches. Pad this with a thick layer of flattened newspapers. Place another plywood panel on top and weight all with magazines, books, or other heavy articles. A lot of weight will prevent warping. Leave under weight for 24 hours. If insufficient weight is applied or too little time is allowed for drying, the picture will, as it shrinks, pull the panel into a curve. It will then not lie flat upon the saw table, and the result will be a generally unsatisfactory job.
After drying, the panel edges may be trimmed. Hold the panel on a bench or table top with a little extending over the edge. Trim the edges smooth with a razor-sharp plane, working from the corners toward the center to avoid splintering. A few strokes across the edge from the face toward the back with a coarse, sharp file will shear any remaining paper edge cleanly away. A piece of fine sandpaper folded around a wood block will finish the edges nicely.
Trace the figure patterns on thin paper ruled off into squares by following the outlines from point to point on the smaller squares in the drawing. Coat the back of the paper with rubber cement, and also the surface of the picture where the designs are to be placed. When the cement has dried, apply the designs and smooth them down. After sawing, the paper will peel off easily and the remaining cement can be rubbed off with a finger tip or a soft eraser. If the