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By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics

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Whittling is a traditional technique for making one-of-a-kind objects that doesn’t get enough attention nowadays. A time-old method of demonstrating one’s whittling technique is to carve linked objects from a single piece of wood. The above step-by-step guide shows four stages in making a pair of linked hearts from a single block.

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Bjarne Jespersen, a Danish carver with geometric interests, creates not just linked hearts, but intricate linkages of knots. The above image shows a beautifully symmetric 10cm carving of four interlocked trefoil knots from a single piece of wood. The components are free to jiggle just slightly.

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Even harder, here are six interlinked paths forming a tangle with dodecahedral symmetry. It has twelve five-fold openings like the one at the center of the image. Again, it is carved from a solid block and the individual parts are just free to wiggle a bit.

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Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


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