Zag zaw puzzle cut styles

Hello, Im new here. (my newbie question will probably confirm that…haha). I just acquired a Tucks puzzle (more of story in profile), which is missing pieces. Information from this site tells me: -snip- “Puzzles have a different cuts so that the same image will come in several versions which means that missing pieces can not be taken from other puzzles with the same image. The puzzle labels are often hand written and come with minor variations in titles and details.” -snip-

Does that mean ‘never’? Puzzle cut patterns are completely random?.. and no two puzzles will ever have the same cut pattern?

I ask because I would like to find a complete version of the ‘How Scrooge Kept Christmas’ Tucks puzzle but having looked at the puzzle photos in this site (many missing pieces), im learning that my odds of finding a complete Scrooge puzzle might be slim.

So, the puzzle cut patterns… lets disect the term ‘several versions’ (above). So suppose in the next ten years i buy 16 or 37 or 101 tucks scrooge puzzles (assuming there will always be one piece missing) what are my odds of finding 2 puzzles with the same cut pattern so that i could take a piece from one puzzle and place it into a different puzzle missing the same piece?

Is the snipped information above absolute? Are my odds zero?

My reasoning…One would think that there must have been ‘some’ method to the madness at Tucks mfg factory when determining a cut pattern for a puzzle. Today, with the magic of computers i imagine it would be fairly easy to click the ‘random’ button and create unique cut puzzles. I suppose it is possible (or probable) that one hundred years ago the puzzle sawing machine operator just cut arbitrary puzzle pattern shapes. One would think that true interlocking puzzle pieces had to have been sawn using a pattern though.


Steve O.

Hi. Thanks for the question. I used to buy puzzles with missing pieces thinking that I could simply put them into my other puzzles with missing pieces and make one complete. Not so! It was part of their selling platform that every puzzle was unique and that no two were alike.
Your chances of finding another one with the same cut are nill.-but I wish you luck if you want to try. I have over 1,000.00 tuck puzzles and have learned that it is best to pay someone to make good quality replacements-there are companies and craftsmen out there that do so. Even if you were able to complete the one puzzle, what would you do with the other 100 incomplete ones that you bought? I have enclosed an advert but not the one I was looking for. but don’t have much time now

. Good Luck, Alison

I have attached a copy of my puzzle complete and one of a calendar board image

Hello Alison, thank you for your information. Very interesting. To think that a cut and sanded puzzle represented a full fays work for one of the craftsmen back in those days really brings things into perspective.

Yes, buying multiple incomplete puzzles of the same design was of course only for the sake of discussion. If after 1 or 2 (or 3) incomplete puzzle purchases i still have not learned a lesson, then the problem is not with the puzzles but rather with ‘me’. Haha.

The puzzle i have now was sold without a photo, but with an errant ‘counted’ and ‘complete’ description, so i was able to get a refund. I hope that this will suffice as my one lesson. :slight_smile:

Now that ive got my feet wet a little bit… i ‘would’ consider buying a puzzle missing a piece and having a replacement piece made. Im sure you hard core collectors know of people who can do this. I imagine a google search would provide results.

Steve O.

Hello amilling8, Thank you for the puzzle and calendar images.

Interesting how the colors of the calendar image are so much more vibrant. I wonder if the puzzle started out more like the calendar then faded over the years?

I would find it interesting to know more about the sawing process. As i look at zag-zaw photos, and even the (incomplete) puzzle i own… i do not see any ‘dwell’ spots. A dwell spot (in the machining buisness) is where the cutting tool (saw blade or end mill) keeps spinning, but the forward motion of the part being cut momentarily pauses. This causes a small irregularity in the shape and/or surface finish of the cut.

To illustrate what a dwell would look like while cutting wood with a scroll saw Ive sketched a puzzle piece shape with the saw path running as parallel as i could do it free hand. The arrow shows a wide spot where the saw operator momentarily paused and the saw blade cut a little bit wider for a split second. Why?..maybe he needed to adjust his hand position, or blow sawdust away from the part, or the neck strap of his apron got tight, or sneeze, or anything.

Huh… i thought i could attach an image. :confused: Dont see the paper clip. Oh well.

Steve O.

@SteveO to upload an image click here the button below, or copy and paste in the area where your typing a reply.

Ahh here we go. Thanks. Anyways… i kind of lost my head of steam on what i was saying. But here is an example of a ‘dwell’ (arrow) that would occur using a scroll saw. One would think that in the sawing process, done by hand, there would be more of these. That you dont see many of these speaks to the skill and patience of the puzzle saw people. Yesterday i was reading at Bob Armstrongs puzzle website and saw (read…haha) quite a bit of sawing and pattern information. Very interesting. One tidbit was that in the early days of jig saw puzzle creation… most of the saw operators were women.