The Dale C. Maley Family Web Site

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Puzzle Chair

The July 1993 edition of Popular Woodworking Magazine ran an article on a gentleman who built puzzle rocking chairs for children:

The magazine article included a pull-out, full scale patterns for making the 6 piece children's rocker.

My father-in-law, Lloyd Wells, made one of these chairs for my daughter Stacy back in 1993. We still have the chair he made now, in October of 2016:

When Lloyd died back in 2004, I got the 1993 article and paper pattern from his workshop.

I scanned in the pattern, then used the JPG images to make the design in Google Sketchup.  For the biggest piece, I took a digital camera photo, and used that in Sketchup.  When I had all the pieces drawn, and tried to assemble them in Sketchup, they would not fit together properly???

I suspected it was the biggest piece that I took a digital photo of.   I then scanned in the biggest piece, which took multiple scans.  I used a free Microsoft program to stitch the pieces into one.  I compared the results in Sketchup below.  The scanned in version has the bird house parts shown on it, and the top of the chair side is much taller than the digital photo:


I have no idea why the digital camera photo had so much error in it, especially near the top??  I guess I learned a lesson to always scan in patterns versus using digital photos. I will have to ask one of my camera experts why this could happen.

I asked my photographer expert why the digital photo was so inaccurate...His response was......

It's very difficult to get the camera square and centered when your object is flat on a table especially if your light is above which is typical. You will get a shadow. I have only done this a few times but for what your doing I would suggest using a wall or refrigerator because most kitchens are well lit. And a Tripod then you can center the camera and be "square" to your subject. Holding your camera probably won't be good enough for what your trying to do.  There are some cheap tripods around as people quit using digital cameras and use cell phones instead.   Also use the timer on your camera and you can avoid movement of you pushing the button. 


The pattern calls for using 1/2" thick plywood, or 1/2" thick hard wood.

After I got the chair drawn in Sketchup, I noticed I forgot to include the handle cut-out in the back of the seat.  I fixed the drawing and added the handle..........

Stay tuned as I build another one of these chairs........







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