RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) Piece by piece, Randy Crossman is creating another puzzle on his durable, cherry plywood.
"Anything that you can mount to a piece of wood can be cut into a puzzle," Crossman said.
Crossman has been making products, like these signs, for decades under the banner, Vermont Woodshop. His XMan puzzles were the first Vermont Woodshop items. "My puzzles are completely designed out and they're not random," he said. "That was a line that just falls off the puzzle."
It all started when Crossman decided to become a stay at home dad. He bought a scroll saw to give him something to do. Next thing you know, he's creating puzzles for corporate gifts, business cards, and even furniture.
"You can get some pretty unique detail," he said. "It's a pretty intense labor type-deal, but a lot of it is artistic, so a lot of it is design. So I think of these designs in my head and say, wow, can I do that," Crossman said.
It can take up to six months for Crossman to make some of his more intricate puzzles. The most pieces he's cut for a puzzle is 4,000. Unlike cardboard block puzzles you see in stores, Crossman's puzzles eminate out from circles. "There's a center here and then all the interlocking lines come out from a circle," he said.
X-Man puzzles can cost between $28 to $45 dollars, but some of his more complicated pieces can cost in the thousands. He's in a handful of stores, but most of Crossman's business comes from online orders.
"I consider myself more of an artist than a woodworker. I'm a pretty good woodworker, but the artist always seems to come out in me and I want to do something different that nobody's done," Crossman said.
When you put all the pieces together, you get a complete picture into what has made XMan puzzles such a success.