WOODEN BLOCK LABYRINTH

I made a labyrinth for an international festival in St. Louis on a parking lot out of wooden blocks. It wasn't an original idea. I remembered seeing it in Caerdroia, the British labyrinth journal.

At the lumber store, I realized that the blocks didn't have to be tall. Mass would just increase the weight. So I bought 45 eight-foot 1 x 2's. Which is to say, the dimensions were two inches wide and one inch thick. Cutting several boards at once on a table saw, I cut the boards into six-inch pieces, getting 16 from each board. That means the 45 boards yielded 720 blocks of wood

But the edges were sharp and full of splinters. So I set up a sander and lightly sanded the edges. Any time you do anything 720 times, it's going to take a while. I spent about an hour cutting and two hours sanding. Then, to add stability, I decided to staple a string to the blocks of wood, in groups of five. I used an electric staple gun and a couple of hundred feet of string. (That took three more hours to do.) But in a single day, I made the components for a labyrinth that I can use over and over.

I showed up early in the morning on festival day. With a few simple tools, I marked out a classical 7-circuit Cretan labyrinth on the pavement with chalk. Some volunteers showed up to help lay out the strings of wooden blocks.

We left everything in place overnight. The next morning, the labyrinth was pretty messed up. Some of the strings of blocks were gone (turned into martial arts weapons by some of the neighborhood kids), some were out of alignment, and many had bicycle tread marks on them. We put everything back in order.

Photo showing a string of blocks.

 

 

 

 

At the end of the day, the festival ended at 7pm, but I didn't get there to pick up the labyrinth until almost 9 p.m. The weather report had predicted scattered thunderstorms. I pictured my blocks floating into the sewer. But the weather held out. Photo of people walking the wood block labyrinth.

As I arrived to pick up the labyrinth, a family showed up, carrying a large plastic tub. They had thought that the labyrinth was going to be discarded, and so they had planned to pick up the blocks of wood. Had I dawdled over my coffee, I may have lost my labyrinth. Instead, the family walked the labyrinth one last time and then helped me pick up the blocks and store them in two plastic containers.

Besides the labyrinth, I had also put up a large banner that said "WALK THE LABYRINTH" and a presentation board on an easel, giving a brief history of labyrinths and walking instructions. The wood had cost me $56.25 (about $1.25 per board), the sign and banner nothing. I can use them again for another event. It sure was easier than my first pavement labyrinth, made with stones.

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