As always for me, pics first:
Pull up a chair and grab yer popcorn, folks, it’s story time!
When I first moved to Georgia, I knew no one. Since I work from home (even before the pandemic!) I also didn’t meet anyone except the spousal unit’s work friends. So I used Instagram to find local artists and craftspeople. Took a bit for me to uncover (importance of location tags, people!) but I eventually met a few, and made a point to also meet them in person. That is how I came across Brandon Hunnicutt, a wood cutter who specializes in rescuing storm-downed urban trees from all those stormy blow ups we get down in the South.
Cutting to the chase, and wanting to support fellow artisans, I came up with the idea to use his woods to create an intensely local puzzle! The wood grew and fell in Georgia, was milled and prepped 20 minutes away, and eventually came to be given new life as a Georgia puzzle with agricultural whimsies. This one with the gorgeous coloring happens to be made from a Juniperus virginiana, aka Eastern Juniper, aka Eastern Red Cedar. And yes, that cedar smell is amazing mixed with the smoky laser smell.
Cutting details: I try to get away with not using masking whenever possible, so this is cut and scored unmasked (6 minutes). First I sand it super smooth, hit it with some well-burnished in Odie’s Wood Butter, and then cut it. I use a microfiber cloth and water to get off the worst of the resin smoke residue, tape one side together with masking, and hit it with the orbital sander until the rest of the residue is gone. I also sand it while it is within the cutout piece so pieces don’t go flying. After doing both sides, I look over each piece and use a fat brush to dust off the edges from sanding residue, and pack it into an 8oz. tin. It is ~6x6" and 43 pieces
I’m thinking these are going to go like hot cakes down here, if I can get them into the public eye a bit more
***Edited to add, if you like this kind of wooden puzzle, I just updated the Fall Leaf Halloween Puzzle *Update* in the Free Laser Designs section, so you can also make your own wooden puzzle!