This weekend I had the opportunity to create two puzzles with wood I haven’t used yet. The elm was quite challenging as stress was released as I cut the wood. The grain pattern tends to pinch the blade when making sticks or it wants to veer off away from the blade. I overcame this tendency by cutting shorter sticks. The standing cedar was even more stress ridden. I’ve had it drying in 1 1/4″ boards about 4 inches wide and about 1′ long for a year. When I first planed them they immediately bowed. Thankfully, the small pieces that I ended up using did not exhibit any twisting or bowing; a good portent for the fruit woods!
Notice the stark difference between sanded and finished puzzles. I always find it very rewarding to see!