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  • 3 Puzzling Projects

    Cube in a Cube Wiffle Ball Wooden Books

  • 2012 American Woodworker.com 2

    Curious Projects

    Cube in a Cube Wiffle Ball Wooden Books

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  • 2012 American Woodworker.com 3

    Curious Projects

    Cube in a Cube Kids play with it like a toy, but it drives adults nuts. They think its a puzzle. Theyre sure theres some way to get the little cube out of the big cube.

    You cant.by Jock Holmen

    Crosscut a 3" x 3" x 14" blank into four cubes. Solid wood is best, so it doesnt look like you put the little cube in the big cube by gluing parts together. Three inch table-leg stock works well, but you can make the cubes from 2-1/2" or smaller stock if you want.

    Mark centerlines on one face. Mark one corner of every face with a small X. Youll be drilling each hole more than one time. The Xs will help register the cube in the same orientation on the drill press.

    Set your drill press to run at its slowest speed. Arrange the belts so the smallest diameter drive pulley turns the idler pulley. Connect the idler to the largest diameter spindle pulley.

    Set up your drill press with a 2" Forstner bit. (Use a smaller bit with a smaller block.) Position a fence and stop block so the bit drills exactly in the cubes center. Drill one hole about 1/16" deep.

    Registration mark

    Fence

    Drive pulley

    Idler pulleySpindle pulley

    3

    42

    1

    Registration mark

    Stop block

    Cube in a Cube

  • 2012 American Woodworker.com 4

    Curious Projects

    Set the bits depth of cut. Draw a line from the point where a diagonal intersects the hole you made. Adjust the drill press so the bit stops about 1/16" above this line. This method works for any size cube and any size hole. (Ive drawn the inner cube so you can see how this works.)

    Drill holes in the end-grain sides first. Then drill the other four faces. Always place the Xs in the same corner relative to the fence and stop block.

    Drilling all six faces produces a cube in a cube. The inner cube is attached to the outer cube by a thin section of wood. The reason for drilling the end-grain faces first is to avoid breaking these weak attachment points. End-grain drilling requires more downward pressure than face-grain drilling.

    Set the drill bit 1/32" deeper and repeat drilling all the holes. Again, drill the end-grain faces first. Use light pressure to avoid breaking the attachment points. Depth of

    cut

    Inner cube

    Attachment point

    Inner cubeOuter

    cube

    5 8

    7

    6As you drill, check the thickness of the attachment points. Your goal is to make them as small as possible, to the point where the inner cube almost releases itself. This may require drilling some holes a tiny bit deeper. Draw check marks to show how many times youve drilled each hole.

    Release the inner cube by cutting the attachment points with a thin knife, going with the grain. After cutting all eight corners, the inner cube will drop free. But it wont come out!

    10

    9

    Cube in a Cube continued

  • 2012 American Woodworker.com 5

    Curious Projects

    Cube in a Cube continued

    Sand the corners of the inner cube. Raise the inner cube above the hole by pos itioning it at a diagonal. Prop up the cube with a wedge or your fingers.

    Sand burn marks or rough grain with a fine-grit drum-sanding attachment. Rub the drum with a crepe-rubber belt cleaner now and then to keep the drum working efficiently.

    Wedge

    11

    12

    Smoothing the faces of the inner cube is tough, because theyre hard to get to. I usually just leave them alone, but if you must do some clean-up work, use a file to start, then switch to sandpaper.

    Dip the cube in oil to finish it. Rub thoroughly with a rag to remove the excess oil, and youre ready to play!

    13

    14

    Im a carver. Ive always admired whittled curiosities like balls trapped inside a cage, but never

    wanted to spend the time to make them. I figured there must be some way to make a similar object with a drill press.

    Jock Holmen

  • 2012 American Woodworker.com 6

    Curious Projects

    Wiffle Ball

    Wiffle Ball People ask, How in the world did you make that weird wiffle thing? The truth is, its really quite simple: its just a hollow cube with the corners cut off.

    Can you figure it out?

    by Jock Holmen and Tom Caspar

    Precise cuts, safely done, are essential to making the wiffle ball. To begin, build a small crosscut sled with a fence wide enough to support a toggle clamp.

    Fasten two pieces of 1/4" tempered hardboard to the sleds bottom, centered over its slot. Butt the pieces together, then raise the blade and saw through the joint.

    Saw twelve squares from two 1/4" x 3-1/2" x 24" blanks. Six are test pieces; the other six make one wiffle ball. Put a screw in the hold-down block as a fingerhold, to help you position the block. Add a plastic shield to deflect sawdust

    Remove the sled and tilt the blade to 45. For the best results, use a 60-tooth crosscut blade for every cut on this project.

    Stop block

    Hold-down block

    Blank

    Shield

    4

    3

    2

    1

  • 2012 American Woodworker.com 7

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  • 2012 American Woodworker.com 8

    Curious Projects

    Wiffle Ball continued

    Remove both pieces of hardboard from the sled. Turn around the left piece and re-fasten it to the sled. Cut an angled slot all the way across it. Toss the waste piece.

    On many contractors saws, the blade moves out of square when its tilted. Hold a wiffle piece against the blade and fence. Tape a shim to the fence if theres a gap at one corner. Ideally, youd re-align your saw to make it cut square, but this quick fix works well for this project.

    Miter all four sides of a test piece. Start with an end-grain side, then turn it counterclockwise as you go. Just cut the squares edges; dont make it much smaller. Re-position the toggle clamp and plastic shield for these cuts.

    After the miter cuts, your piece must still be perfectly square. Adjust the shim if your piece isnt square, then cut four more test pieces.

    Check the angle of the miters by holding the four test pieces together. You may have to adjust the blades tilt to make these joints tight. Once youre set, miter all six real pieces.

    Drill a 2-1/8" dia. hole in the center of each piece using a Forstner bit. This jig locks in the piece on three sides to ensure that it doesnt shift. Toggles keep your fingers out of the way.

    Shim

    Stop block

    5

    10

    9

    8

    7

    6

  • 2012 American Woodworker.com 9

    Curious Projects

    Wiffle Ball continued

    Tape four pieces together. Butt them against a straightedge to align their edges. Add the remaining two pieces to make a T.

    Turn over the assembly and spread glue on all the joints.

    Fold the pieces into a cube. Put lots of short pieces of tape on the cube to hold the joints tight. Let the glue dry overnight, then remove the tape.

    Add the right-hand hardboard piece and two support