Watch How Jigsaw Puzzles are Made

iStock // ThomasVogel
iStock // ThomasVogel

Traditionally, jigsaw puzzles have been made by using, wait for it, a jigsaw—though it's also called a scroll saw. If you've never seen one, a scroll saw has a fine, straight blade that's usually mounted vertically a little bit like the needle in a sewing machine. By running the blade up and down (hooray, power tools) and moving wood through it, you can cut fine patterns into wood. Note that the term "jigsaw" can also refer to a coping saw, which is a handheld power tool with a straight blade sticking out—great for cutting holes in walls, but perhaps not puzzles.

So that's great. But how do people make jigsaw puzzles today?

The short answer is: It's complicated. There are still high-end handmade puzzles on the market today, but commercial makers have typically moved on to other methods. Below, let's examine a few of the most popular methods.

1. METAL TEMPLATE GRIDS

Mass-produced commercial jigsaw puzzles are made of cardboard. Nobody hand-cuts cardboard with a jigsaw. So the game is all about making a cutting die (a sharp metal outline) that emulates that jigsaw cut. Once you have a cutting die, it can be used to stamp out countless cardboard puzzles.

In this video, starting at about 1:30, Ravensburger artisans show how they create their jigsaw puzzles using a "ribbon cut" grid system and a series of jigsaw-style edges. The metal template allows safety-gloved employees to snap in the edges of each piece, allowing for a unique pattern for each puzzle design.

2. SCROLL SAWS

For woodworkers, the only game in town is a real jigsaw. In this video, George Vondriska makes an elk jigsaw puzzle using some plywood, a computer print-out, and a scroll saw.

(Note: If you want to get into this, watch this 100-minute class.)

3. PSYCHOLOGICAL TORMENT

Steve Richardson says "they pay me to drive them crazy," describing the way he designs incredibly challenging jigsaw puzzles using an X-ACTO knife (which are then actually cut by hand). Calling himself Tormenter-in-Chief, Richardson has some famous clients, including the Gates family, the Bush family, and the royal family of Great Britain, among others.

Richardson's company only sells about 3,600 puzzles per year, all handmade. Every puzzle contains a single "clown" piece, the company's logo—though sometimes he doesn't actually fit in.

4. LASERS

In this video, a laser cutter uses the Force on a Star Wars poster. It's fascinating to watch how it accomplishes the cuts, doing all the vertical cuts first (with little oscillations to get the wiggles in), then the horizontal cuts. Watch as, during the horizontal cutting stage, the pieces pop out!

5. RANDOM CUTS

In this video, Allegra Vernon walks us through all the steps that happen before the actual cutting. She discusses how images are selected, photographed/scanned, edited, and generally optimized to become good images for a jigsaw puzzle. Then she gets into the "random cut" process starting around 2:20. Both sections are fascinating. Vernon also explains the "ribbon cut" method employed above by Ravensburger.

Amazing Timelapse Shows Florida Sky Turning Purple Following Hurricane Dorian

Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

Photographs taken of Hurricane Dorian's massive eye and the damage it caused in the Bahamas paint a picture of what it was like to live through the historic storm. But some of the most stunning images to come out of the event were captured after the hurricane had passed. As KENS5 reports, the time-lapse video below shows the sky over Florida turning a unique shade of purple in the wake of Hurricane Dorian.

Dorian skimmed the east side of Florida earlier this week, causing power outages and some flooding. The worst of the storm was over by Wednesday night, but the ominous purple clouds it left behind may have sparked concern among some Florida residents.

A purple sky following a hurricane is the result of a perfectly natural occurrence called scattering. The sky was super-saturated after Dorian arrived, and the moisture in the atmosphere refracted the light of the setting sun. Normally, only the longest wavelengths of light on the color spectrum are visible through the clouds—that's why sunsets often appear gold, pink, and orange.

Violet is the shortest wavelength on the spectrum, which means it's almost never visible in the sky. But the air's high dew point Wednesday night, combined with the dense low-hanging clouds, created the perfect conditions for a rare purple sky.

Locals who've lived through a few hurricanes may have recognized the phenomenon; the same thing happened after Hurricane Michael hit Florida last year.

[h/t KENS5]

YouTube Decade Shows You the Most Popular Videos From 10 Years Ago

fizkes/iStock via Getty Images
fizkes/iStock via Getty Images

If you’re the type of person who lives for Facebook’s "On This Day" notifications and religiously checks Timehop to see what you were tweeting about seven years ago, YouTube Decade might be your next nostalgia-related obsession.

According to Lifehacker, the site compiles the most popular videos uploaded to YouTube on that day exactly 10 years ago. Since it shows you the top video in each of eight different categories—music, comedy, film and animation, entertainment, news and politics, pets and animals, sports, and gaming—the site offers an intriguing snapshot of what was going on in the world at the time. For instance, on September 4, 2009, Mumford and Sons released the video for “Little Lion Man,” which helped catapult the band into the mainstream music scene, and actor Jon Voight appeared on national news to share his opinions on federal politics.

YouTube Decade also reminds us that some things never change. The top video in the “pets and animals” category on this day in 2009 is footage of a yellow Labrador retriever playing with a baby; 10 years later, we still can’t get enough quality pet-and-baby content. The top comedy video is a clip from a 1991 episode of Mr. Bean during which Mr. Bean makes a unique sandwich. The trend of rediscovering our favorite childhood shows lives on, though younger audiences now take to social media to reminisce about more recent programs like Nickelodeon’s Drake & Josh and Disney Channel’s Lizzie McGuire.

YouTube users know that it’s all too easy to accidentally spend an entire afternoon watching viral video after viral video, and YouTube Decade is no different: You can work your way backward through the calendar, exploring the top videos from each day prior. Though you can’t move forward in time—the site includes a countdown clock to let you know how many hours, minutes, and seconds you’ll have to wait to see tomorrow’s collection of videos.

To keep you busy while the countdown clock ticks away, find out which viral video is most popular in your state here.

[h/t Lifehacker]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER