Handcrafting the world's finest wooden jigsaw puzzles since 1974

The Chief Tormentor

The Deliciously Devilish Blog of Puzzling News From Staveland

Stormy Seas

Piece of Mind?!

The name of this newsletter is a little deceiving for me this week because I’ve had no peace of mind since I began cutting Steve’s new Trick puzzle, Atlantis. I’ve felt like my ship has been sinking for days now. SOS!

Come bail me out!

Atlantis is based on the theory that in 9000 B.C. , the city of Atlantis disappeared in a horrendous storm.

The Journey

Atlantis has been in the works since January. Yep, eight long months. Steve has literally been consumed with it for practically every minute of every day. Just ask Martha! She was trying to get Steve’s involvement in planning a special 50th wedding anniversary celebration and she had a very hard time tearing him away from the puzzle. He’s lucky she’s agreed to keep him for another 50 years.

The puzzle takes you through the workings of Professor Samuel K. Robinson’s research and ultimately reveals where he found Atlantis to be located. That is if you can solve the puzzle! New designs go through many prototype stages but Atlantis has beaten our record. Steve spent hours locked in his home office, working and reworking the puzzle on paper and then he’d come to the shop and cut it in wood. Some things worked, some things didn’t! I can honestly say that all the time he spent on it was worth it. It’s an amazing puzzle. Now let’s talk about the puzzle cutting.

Lost at Sea

When the design was finally ready to go, Steve went through an arduous training session with Elizabeth. It wasa painstaking process because the steps you have to work through in its cutting are intense. The puzzle consists of seven circles, each larger than the next and it’s safe to say, they’re loaded with puzzlement. The difficulty levels range from a not so hard one sword to a hair pulling four swords. I rate the cutting experience a ten plus swords.

Why am I complaining? Because Elizabeth left for vacation and Steve and Martha were finally going to take some time to get their lives back after eight months of living with Atlantis day in and day out. That left little old me holding the bag. Thank goodness I roped Ginny in to help me. I knew I needed a second pair of eyes and ears when Steve went through the puzzle with me. There’s so much to remember!!

The training session went well. I remember thinking, “This isn’t so hard! What’s the big deal?!” Steve and Elizabeth had documented the cutting steps well and Steve incorporated several things into the design to guide us in the cutting. Then he left town and all hell broke loose!

Things started out smoothly, cutting up the puzzles we had worked on with Steve. But then we had to begin anew. Ok, step one isn’t so bad. Nicely done. Step two? Got that! Step three is when the water got choppy. Who would think that one little quarter inch difference in placement of a trick cut could mess something up so horribly? The nature of this design is such that one little mistake messes up the entire puzzle. There’s no saving it. The entire puzzle goes in the trash and you start again. So I did.

Step one, good. Step two, nice. Step three, I learned my lesson there, it worked great. Step four, man overboard! The angle on that baby has to be just perfect or else you get an oval instead of a circle. That’s all I can say about that. Back to the drawing board. Step one, good. Step two, good. Step three, made it. Step four, still afloat. Step five, tidal wave! How did that happen?! At this point I’m cursing Steve and wishing he had been on the island of Atlantis when it went down. Needless to say, it was a learning experience but Ginny and I weathered the storm and came out alive.

The puzzle is AMAZING and I think our puzzlers will love it. This may just be the trick puzzle that I have to own. You all know I’m a loyal Traditional puzzle fan but this design is so cool and clever that I want it for myself. I think it might be a while before I work up the muster to cut it for myself, though.

May your seas be calm- Jennifer

Latest and Greatest

On the Horizon
Spring is a time for fresh, new things like lambs, daffodils, and mud, if you’re living in Vermont. It’s also a time for new puzzle designs. In addition to a few new designs from your favorite Stave artists like Molly Delaney, Susan Greenleaf and Cheryl Johnson, we’ve got some great new things cooking up with STEVE! As you probably know, Steve and Martha head South every April to get away from the neverending snow here in Vermont. There must be something about all that sun providing a boost of Vitamin D because we can always count on Steve to come back with loads of new puzzle ideas. Who knew Vitamin D was beneficial for puzzle designing?! We’ve received several emails with a first look into what he’s cooking up and I’m loving it!

First and foremost, Steve’s been working on our new Limited Edition puzzle, Atlantis. We’ve been brain-storming on this off and on for a while now and he’s finally got a handle on where this puzzle is going. Get ready for a hand – painted, multilayer puzzle that will knock your socks off !

We’ve been lamenting the need for more 4-sword Teasers and guess what. Steve’s cooked up a new concept to give you just that! We’ll begin cutting a prototype in the next week or so and get it out to test so we can make sure it holds up to all you Ace Teaser puzzlers.

Steve’s also working on a new 2-way Trick puzzle design. It sounds like it will be a 3 or 4 bolt difficulty level, not as tough as Fred & Ginger or Olivia but tougher than what most of you are probably used to. The theme of the puzzle will probably be tied in to the Mayan theory that the world will end in 2012. Let’s hope we can get it to final art before then!

We’re getting close to the finish line on the new cat themed 2-way Trick puzzle that’s kind of a cousin to the doggie themed, Bark in the Park. I’ve got one more test cut to do and if it passes muster Stave artist, Molly Delaney, will go to paint! It’s darn cute and sure to please all you cat loving Trick puzzlers. Molly is also working on a new beach themed Teaser which will be ready just in time for vacation puzzling this summer.

We have another new Teaser design by Molly debuting this week. Do you remember about a year ago when we showed a couple of cute donkey sketches on PuzzleNuts and asked for help in choosing the theme and title based on the cute little guys? Here it is! PuzzleNuts Kristen and Jennifer had a combined effort in suggesting a barn dancing theme with a title of Donkey Tonk.

A short while ago we showed you a new Teaser puzzle called Your High-ness by Stave crafter and artist, Samara Cary. She’s done it again! You’re getting the first look at A Giant Dilemma. It got great reviews by our Testers and I think you’re going to love it, too.

Cheryl Johnson, Stave artist living in Maine, is finishing up the first puzzle in the new United States series. Can you guess what state we did first? You’ll get a peek at it in my next newsletter.

More Good Things Coming Your Way
Just arrived in my mailbox… I just received Mouse Pad from Stave artist, Susan Greenleaf. I guess we’ll just have to give you a peek at that one in my next newsletter, too. You guys have a lot to look forward to!!!

Guess this Rebus!
Thanks to all those who sent answers to the rebus game in the last newsletter. You guys are good!! Puzzler C.M. of N.Y. was the first to get the correct answers: Market Share, Harvest Time and Come Sail Away.

Here’s another one for you.

The first person to email me with the correct answer to this rebus will win a prize! Email your guesses to me at jennifer@stave.com

 

Stormy Seas

Piece of Mind?!

The name of this newsletter is a little deceiving for me this week because I’ve had no peace of mind since I began cutting Steve’s new Trick puzzle, Atlantis. I’ve felt like my ship has been sinking for days now. SOS!

Come bail me out!

Atlantis is based on the theory that in 9000 B.C. , the city of Atlantis disappeared in a horrendous storm.

The Journey

Atlantis has been in the works since January. Yep, eight long months. Steve has literally been consumed with it for practically every minute of every day. Just ask Martha! She was trying to get Steve’s involvement in planning a special 50th wedding anniversary celebration and she had a very hard time tearing him away from the puzzle. He’s lucky she’s agreed to keep him for another 50 years.

The puzzle takes you through the workings of Professor Samuel K. Robinson’s research and ultimately reveals where he found Atlantis to be located. That is if you can solve the puzzle! New designs go through many prototype stages but Atlantis has beaten our record. Steve spent hours locked in his home office, working and reworking the puzzle on paper and then he’d come to the shop and cut it in wood. Some things worked, some things didn’t! I can honestly say that all the time he spent on it was worth it. It’s an amazing puzzle. Now let’s talk about the puzzle cutting.

Lost at Sea

When the design was finally ready to go, Steve went through an arduous training session with Elizabeth. It wasa painstaking process because the steps you have to work through in its cutting are intense. The puzzle consists of seven circles, each larger than the next and it’s safe to say, they’re loaded with puzzlement. The difficulty levels range from a not so hard one sword to a hair pulling four swords. I rate the cutting experience a ten plus swords.

Why am I complaining? Because Elizabeth left for vacation and Steve and Martha were finally going to take some time to get their lives back after eight months of living with Atlantis day in and day out. That left little old me holding the bag. Thank goodness I roped Ginny in to help me. I knew I needed a second pair of eyes and ears when Steve went through the puzzle with me. There’s so much to remember!!

The training session went well. I remember thinking, “This isn’t so hard! What’s the big deal?!” Steve and Elizabeth had documented the cutting steps well and Steve incorporated several things into the design to guide us in the cutting. Then he left town and all hell broke loose!

Things started out smoothly, cutting up the puzzles we had worked on with Steve. But then we had to begin anew. Ok, step one isn’t so bad. Nicely done. Step two? Got that! Step three is when the water got choppy. Who would think that one little quarter inch difference in placement of a trick cut could mess something up so horribly? The nature of this design is such that one little mistake messes up the entire puzzle. There’s no saving it. The entire puzzle goes in the trash and you start again. So I did.

Step one, good. Step two, nice. Step three, I learned my lesson there, it worked great. Step four, man overboard! The angle on that baby has to be just perfect or else you get an oval instead of a circle. That’s all I can say about that. Back to the drawing board. Step one, good. Step two, good. Step three, made it. Step four, still afloat. Step five, tidal wave! How did that happen?! At this point I’m cursing Steve and wishing he had been on the island of Atlantis when it went down. Needless to say, it was a learning experience but Ginny and I weathered the storm and came out alive.

The puzzle is AMAZING and I think our puzzlers will love it. This may just be the trick puzzle that I have to own. You all know I’m a loyal Traditional puzzle fan but this design is so cool and clever that I want it for myself. I think it might be a while before I work up the muster to cut it for myself, though.

May your seas be calm- Jennifer

Latest and Greatest

On the Horizon
Spring is a time for fresh, new things like lambs, daffodils, and mud, if you’re living in Vermont. It’s also a time for new puzzle designs. In addition to a few new designs from your favorite Stave artists like Molly Delaney, Susan Greenleaf and Cheryl Johnson, we’ve got some great new things cooking up with STEVE! As you probably know, Steve and Martha head South every April to get away from the neverending snow here in Vermont. There must be something about all that sun providing a boost of Vitamin D because we can always count on Steve to come back with loads of new puzzle ideas. Who knew Vitamin D was beneficial for puzzle designing?! We’ve received several emails with a first look into what he’s cooking up and I’m loving it!

First and foremost, Steve’s been working on our new Limited Edition puzzle, Atlantis. We’ve been brain-storming on this off and on for a while now and he’s finally got a handle on where this puzzle is going. Get ready for a hand – painted, multilayer puzzle that will knock your socks off !

We’ve been lamenting the need for more 4-sword Teasers and guess what. Steve’s cooked up a new concept to give you just that! We’ll begin cutting a prototype in the next week or so and get it out to test so we can make sure it holds up to all you Ace Teaser puzzlers.

Steve’s also working on a new 2-way Trick puzzle design. It sounds like it will be a 3 or 4 bolt difficulty level, not as tough as Fred & Ginger or Olivia but tougher than what most of you are probably used to. The theme of the puzzle will probably be tied in to the Mayan theory that the world will end in 2012. Let’s hope we can get it to final art before then!

We’re getting close to the finish line on the new cat themed 2-way Trick puzzle that’s kind of a cousin to the doggie themed, Bark in the Park. I’ve got one more test cut to do and if it passes muster Stave artist, Molly Delaney, will go to paint! It’s darn cute and sure to please all you cat loving Trick puzzlers. Molly is also working on a new beach themed Teaser which will be ready just in time for vacation puzzling this summer.

We have another new Teaser design by Molly debuting this week. Do you remember about a year ago when we showed a couple of cute donkey sketches on PuzzleNuts and asked for help in choosing the theme and title based on the cute little guys? Here it is! PuzzleNuts Kristen and Jennifer had a combined effort in suggesting a barn dancing theme with a title of Donkey Tonk.

A short while ago we showed you a new Teaser puzzle called Your High-ness by Stave crafter and artist, Samara Cary. She’s done it again! You’re getting the first look at A Giant Dilemma. It got great reviews by our Testers and I think you’re going to love it, too.

Cheryl Johnson, Stave artist living in Maine, is finishing up the first puzzle in the new United States series. Can you guess what state we did first? You’ll get a peek at it in my next newsletter.

More Good Things Coming Your Way
Just arrived in my mailbox… I just received Mouse Pad from Stave artist, Susan Greenleaf. I guess we’ll just have to give you a peek at that one in my next newsletter, too. You guys have a lot to look forward to!!!

Guess this Rebus!
Thanks to all those who sent answers to the rebus game in the last newsletter. You guys are good!! Puzzler C.M. of N.Y. was the first to get the correct answers: Market Share, Harvest Time and Come Sail Away.

Here’s another one for you.

The first person to email me with the correct answer to this rebus will win a prize! Email your guesses to me at jennifer@stave.com