WD14 puzzle joint

�I've rec'd my plans in the mail and having read the instruction book in feel pretty confident given my woodworking experience.. except for the puzzle joint. How do you cut it? Template and router, handsaw, jigsaw?? Any tips would be appreciated. Cheers

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RE: WD14 puzzle joint

I thought that plans builders typically used scarf joints, puzzle joints being left for the CNC-cut kits. Does it say anything about that in the instruction manual or on the plans?

Note that the part dimensions for scarfing are different than for puzzle joints, so make sure you understand which is being specified in the plans. While both types of joints yield the same final length, scarf joints have to an overlapping section that must be allowed for. Puzzle joints have no overlap, just an interlock.

Have fun,


RE: WD14 puzzle joint

You don't. Puzzle joints are cut by CNC machines like the ones CLC uses in its kits. Humans can't cut accurately enough to use them. I believe CLC always uses a fresh bit when it cuts puzzle joints to make sure they come out correctly. When building from plans, use a scarf joint to join the two sheets of plywood together, then lay down the plans on the joined sheets and mark off the pieces as if it was one 16-foot piece of plywood.

RE: WD14 puzzle joint

In my Passagemaker manual, there are chapters specifically for plans builders, separate from the chapters for kit builders, then they merge later in the build process.  In one of the plans chapters, it talks only about scarf joints.  If you peek into the kit chapter, it shows them gluing up the puzzle joint.

With that being said, I've given some serious thought about how to make my own puzzle joints.  One of the methods that I haven't tested yet is to get a half blind/through tails dovetail template from Rockler.  Since the fingers and the gaps are the same size, if you routed out two pieces, I'm thinking they would click together and align like a puzzle joint, just not have the locking aspect due to the interference.

My mind has also gone over the order of operations on when/how to cut this out since the Passagemaker is only a few inches shorter than 1-1/2 sheets of plywood.  In the end, following the directions worked just fine, so my boat is scarfed together.

RE: WD14 puzzle joint

Hey Skully! I’ve actually seen this done before, can’t remember what forum I was reading. I still scarf but this is an interesting idea. Keep us posted if you give it a shot.

George K   

RE: WD14 puzzle joint

That part about using a new cutter for puzzle joints is a good idea even when using a dovetail template and a straight-sided router bit. No reason it won’t work as long as bit’s pilot bearing and cutter diameter match template slots/pins with enough precision.

Otherwise each pin/slot will have a +/- variation that may - or may not - glue up properly with thickened epoxy.

Measure once, twice, maybe thrice? beFORE cutting. 

RE: WD14 puzzle joint

as an alternative....you can also do it with a butt joint.

the Arctic Haw kit, as an example, has butt joints. 

the hull pieces on the inside are first glassed with 4 oz glass.  then they are assembled (butted up against one another and) and 4 pieces of 9 oz 3inch tape slight offset on the inside join the panels covered by a final piece of 4 oz glass.  the outside, when assembled is glassed with 4 or 6 oz.  solid as a rock....easy and a clean nice brite finish was my result.

if interested, i can detail out the technique.


RE: WD14 puzzle joint

The old "butt vs. scarf joint" dilemma.

RE: WD14 puzzle joint

���Thanks Gents.. lesson one... read the whole construction book. Cheers

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