How to Make a Wood Puzzle Cube

This 1-hour project is a puzzle cube that’s fun and simple to make. Solving it is the real challenge!

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Introduction

The best puzzle cube in history is clearly the Rubik’s Cube. But I don’t think it’s a stretch to say this is a close second. This puzzle takes about an hour to build, and it’s way easier to build than it is to solve! Construction might look complicated, but if you closely follow the hole diagram (Figure A) and Parts Order (Figure B), you won’t have any trouble.

Tools Required

  1. 3/8” Forstner bit
  2. Drill press
  3. Miter saw
  4. Table saw

Materials Required

  1. 1x2 mahogany (3’)
  2. Elastic cord

Project step-by-step (6)

Step 1

Cut parts to size

wood puzzle cube cut parts to sizeFamily Handyman

Fasten a 1x4 board to a piece of 1/4-in. plywood with glue and 1-in. screws. Attach the assembly to the miter saw fence with 3/4-in. screws. Cut a kerf in the fence. This creates a zero-clearance fence that allows perfect alignment and keeps your parts from being pulled into the blade and destroyed. Crosscut parts A - D to length. Rip the rest of the 1x2 mahogany to 3/4 in. and crosscut parts E to length.

For another project using this style of miter saw fence, try building this contemporary key hanger.

Step 2

Make a drilling jig

make a drilling jig wood puzzle cubeFamily Handyman

Cut a piece of plywood approximately the size of the drill press table. Using glue and brad nails, fasten two scrap pieces to the plywood, forming a 90-degree angle.

Step 3

Line up the jig

line up the drill jig wood puzzle cubeFamily Handyman

Set the height of the drill press table so that the bit is 3/16 in. above the surface of the jig. Mark the center of one end of Part E. Holding the marked part in the jig, align the point of the Forstner bit with the part’s center mark. Clamp the jig into place.

A set of Forstner bits comes in handy for lots of DIY jobs. If you don’t have one, check out this 14-Piece Irwin set on Amazon. Try this 14-Piece Irwin set from Amazon.

Step 4

Drill the holes

drill the holes wood puzzle cubeFamily Handyman

Follow Figure A to drill the necessary holes in the parts. Small Forstner bits get clogged easily, causing them to get hot and lose their temper, so keep the bit clear of shavings. Using 220-grit sandpaper, sand the sharp corners of the parts as well as the hole edges. Paint the parts if you want.

Step 5

String the parts and tie off

string the parts and tie off wood puzzle cubeFamily Handyman

Follow Figure B for the assembly order. Cut a 12-in. length of elastic cord and tie one end to a stationary item; we used a clamp attached to the workbench. String the parts onto the cord, pulling the cord tight as you go. Tweezers work well to reach into the larger parts. Once all the parts are on the elastic cord, remove the other end of the cord from the clamp and tie the ends together.

Step 6

Solve your wood puzzle cube!

wood puzzle cube solving the cubeFamily Handyman

wood puzzle cube featuredFamily Handyman