A couple years ago, David Picciuto made a Super Mario picture using 1″ square “pixels” cut out of three types of wood. That has stuck in my head as a fun idea and it ended up being the first project that I completed since April. (My shop has been used for storage during the siding and window project on our house.)
I chose maple, walnut and paduk for the white, brown and red pieces. The key to this project is getting all ~150 squares to be totally identical in size so that when you build them into Mario, the lines stay straight. The next trick was getting a chamfer cut on all four sides of the squares. This helps to define the edges and made each square look more like a pixel. I cut two of the sides with a router when the wood was still in 1″ strips. After cross cutting those strips into squares, I set the table on my small disc sander to a 45 degree angle and sanded the rest. Then I had to hand sand each square to clean them up.
David put his on to a square piece of plywood and made a frame for it, but I wanted to make mine frameless. I cut out a piece of plywood on the bandsaw that would be just smaller than the assembled Mario. I picked a row near the center and carefully glued it as straight as I could. From there I glued two or three rows at a time working out toward the top and bottom. I took my time and let the various rows dry before getting too far so that I could make sure I was staying straight.
I love this project! Thank you David for the inspiration!