Welcome to the puzzle world of Antori Pancco
This is home to some of the finest and most unique hand cut wood or acrylic puzzles. All are custom one of a kind pieces. All the photos and artwork used in my puzzles are copyrighted and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Creating a good-looking puzzle that works takes more than the ability to cut a piece of wood or acrylic. Professional photography and photo rendering takes a creative eye trained by years of experience to identify the best images and layout for each project. I have a wealth of experience in both photography and puzzle creation
Puzzle content and composition is only hindered by imagination. If you can take the picture I can make the puzzle.
Take a moment and browse the photography section of my site. Choose from any one of my photographs for your own special one of a kind hand cut wood or acrylic puzzle. In the portfolio section you will also find many Limited Edition puzzles created from the artwork of various artists that work with me.
If it’s a custom photo puzzle you want then you have come to the right place. You can email me a digital file of the photo you want transformed into a spectacular puzzle and I will turn it into that special memory you will cherish forever. Or you can physically send me the original photo and I will scan it, clean it up in Photoshop and create your puzzle.
Check out the How Its Made where you will learn about all the different styles of puzzle cutting, puzzle figurals, photograph puzzles and custom puzzle cutting.
How I Make My Puzzles
There are many parts in the making of a custom hand cut wood or acrylic puzzle. There is the puzzle content or subject matter. There are the materials used, the picture mounting process or the hand painting of the puzzle itself. Then of course the cutting process, the style of cut, the size of the cuts and the shape of the cuts. And when it all done your special puzzle needs to be packaged in such a way as to preserve & protect your puzzle for generations to come.
It takes about 2 weeks to make a puzzle from start to finish. That is of course as long as all goes well during the different processes of making the puzzle. As an example, if there is an undetected flaw in the core of the plywood, a "chip out" can and usually will occur during the cutting phase. When this happens the project becomes kindling for the BBQ and I have to start all over again. But in general, 2 weeks start to finish is common.
Every puzzle starts with examining the photograph that is to be used for the puzzle. I examine the photo thoroughly in Photoshop. If necessary, I touch up any flaws and then maximize the resolution so that every detail becomes as clear as possible for the printing. Then, depending on the puzzle to be created, I print the photo on a 12-color printer at a minimum of 2400 DPI. This high-resolution printing provides the crispest detail and clearest print available. I use only the finest media for printing as well. I prefer Ilford's Galerie Smooth Pearl paper for most wood puzzles and Inkpress Metallic Paper for acrylic puzzles. For wood puzzles, the final printed photo is mounted onto 5-ply, ¼” plywood made from Birch, Maple, Mahogany or Cherry wood. To mount the photo or artwork to the plywood, I use a special thermoplastic bonding tissue between the back of the photo and the plywood. This plywood/tissue/photograph sandwich is then placed into a heat press for 3 minutes to 5 minutes. The heat liquefies the thermoplastic so that it absorbs equally into both the back of the photo paper and the plywood. The combination of heat & pressure makes for an incredibly strong air free bond between the photo and the plywood. Acrylic puzzles are face mounted in a 4 step laminating and polishing process. This process also requires heat & pressure to bond the photo to the acrylic. Although with acrylic the laminating process is required 4 times to make an acrylic sandwich with the photo in the center.
I now do a final trim job on the puzzle. If it's a square or a rectangular puzzle I run it through a table saw to cut off any excess plywood or acrylic that was there from the mounting stage. If it's a round or irregular shaped puzzle I cut the finished shape free hand with my scroll saw.
For wood puzzles I hand sand the back of the puzzle as well as the now cut final puzzle edge with a 220 grit sand paper and then repeat the sanding process with a 400 grit sand paper and then again with a 800 grit paper. The back is treated with an acrylic based urethane coat that seals the wood. In some cases I use a natural oil for the back finish as per customer request. I now set the prepared puzzle aside for a few days. I have learned over the years that letting it sit for a few days does something to the puzzle that makes for a much better finished product then if I tried cutting it right away. Maybe it cures or dries out or something, but whatever, I know it needs to sit for 3 or 4 days before starting to cut it up.
TIME TO START CUTTING!
First I pick the scroll saw that's appropriate for the puzzle being cut. I do 90% of my puzzles on a 20" Delta Scroll saw. I install a fresh .008 scroll saw blade on the saw at the start of every puzzle. This is the thinnest blade available. The hair thin blade makes for a clean cut and tight fitting puzzle pieces.
So now I start cutting. Usually I just dig in and start cutting wherever the mood strikes me. But sometimes I actually have to think about a starting point. If there are figurals involved in the puzzle I try to figure out their placement before I start cutting. Once I figure out my starting point I start cutting. After a while I take a break, then cut some more, then go for coffee and then cut some more. As I get closer to completion of the puzzle I cut fewer pieces per hour then when I started. This is because if I make a mistake near completion the puzzle is instantly reduced to scrap. There is no middle ground. For me, there is no fixing a bad cut or a chip out. I will never ship a puzzle to a customer with a repair. And for that reason a mistaken cut at the end or a chip out of wood near completion is disheartening to say the least.
Once cutting is complete I give each and every piece a thorough examination to make sure any defects did not get passed me during the cut. I also count all the pieces while checking the fit of each piece. After all this is done and I am satisfied, I date & number the puzzle. This information then gets registered in my puzzle log. Additionally, I take photos of the front, back & any figural pieces for my digital file. I then sign a Certificate of Authenticity, which includes the registration # of the puzzle and quantity of pieces and this get placed into the special puzzle box with all the puzzle pieces. Included with the puzzle will be a sealed envelope with a picture of the puzzle.
Custom Photo Puzzle Prices
Pricing for my puzzles are per puzzle piece. You can have a custom photo puzzle where you supply the photo or if you’re local, I will come and take the photo for you. You can also choose to have a puzzle made from any of my own exclusive photographs. Or feel free to pick an artistic work from our exclusive artist collection. Depending on many factors a puzzle will range anywhere from $1.00 per puzzle piece up to $2.50 per puzzle piece. Acrylic puzzles are far more expensive to create so they start at a minimum of $2.00 per puzzle piece.
Whatever you choose, the price includes the following:
- Puzzle size of your choice up to 17" X 22"
- Your choice as to the number of puzzle pieces
- Any photoshop touch up of your photo that might be required
- Photo mounted to 1/4" 5-ply plywood or Acrylic
- Finished wood mounted puzzles are protected with Krylon Gloss Photo UV Protection Spray
- Antori Pancco Gift Puzzle Box
- Up to 3 Figural puzzle pieces of your choice
- Free USPS Insured Priority Mail Shipping anywhere in the USA