When I left off, I was about 1/3 of the way through writing about all of the puzzles I got to try when I was hanging out at Brett's house on Sunday with Rob, Rick, and Daniel. Needless to say, we were having an awesome time talking and solving puzzles.
Kim Klobucher. Brett had two of them, and this was the one that had fewer moves. I'm not sure which one this is or the exact number of moves, however. I had tried this box back in November during my first visit to Brett's house, but didn't have much luck with it. This time I was resolved to spend more time on it and hopefully solve it.
The box is very nicely crafted; I love the way Kim's work looks. The inlays on the top and contrasting woods gives it a very unique look.
This puzzle uses a pin and groove system, so solving it is a lot like solving a burr or traditional Japanese puzzle box. You find a part that moves, then try to find something else that moves until the box finally opens. However, this definitely does not mean that this is an easy puzzle. I think there were six parts that moved, and there were plenty of dead-ends that made this quite challenging.
Eventually after working on it for a good 30-45 minutes, I was able to get it open, but I definitely didn't have a good understanding of how it operated. It took me another 15-20 minutes to get it shut again, since I was more-or-less stumbling around blindly. It was tough keeping track of what was going on! I had a good time with this puzzle and will definitely consider getting one the next time Kim has some available.
This was a fairly well crafted box, though I was a bit disappointed that the mouse was only decorative. The mechanism is pretty clever, though not too difficult to discover. It took me about a minute to figure it out.
My only complaint about this one is that it is kind of a pain to get it back together if you take it completely apart. Still, a cute little box.
Tornado Burr designed by Junichi Yananose and made by Eric Fuller. Rob's version is made out of paduak, which had a brilliant color. This design won an honorable mention in the 2007 Puzzle Design Competition at the International Puzzle Party.
The movement of this burr is very unusual: groups of four parallel pieces rotate around an off-center axis, in such a way that it shifts the rest of the puzzle. It is really quite unique!
I was completely baffled by this one: I think I could have gotten it apart, but I had zero confidence that I would be able to put it back together. Even after making two of these tricky rotational moves, I found it difficult to get it back to the starting position. I am not usually too shy about taking puzzles like this apart, but this one was quite intimidating! This is one I wish I could have spent a bit more time with and mastered.
The fit is quite good, but I found that what made this particularly tricky was that pieces tended to move without me moving them, due to gravity. This made it even harder to keep track of what was going on, but I don't think it could have been remedied by a tighter fit, since that would lead to difficulty getting the pieces lined up correctly to move in the first place.
I "solved" this one after a few minutes by shaking the hell out of it, but Rob informed me that there was a much more elegant solution that I should try to find. Daniel gave me the hint that he loves using this puzzle as an example of lateral thinking.
With this in mind, I worked on it for a few more minutes and, to my delight, discovered a truly marvelous solution. I wish I could share it with you, so that you could also be in awe of its splendor, but I don't want to rob anybody of the joy of discovering it for themselves if they ever get the chance. Too bad it is so hard to find these: I'd buy one in a second!
The puzzle itself wasn't too challenging, it operated like a traditional Japanese puzzle box, but the craftsmanship was superb! It also had a cute little stand to keep it from rolling away.
It was quite nicely made, and I liked the whimsical design. The puzzle itself was quite clever, with a neat little mechanism that is somewhat similar to another one of Sandfield's designs. This one didn't take me too long, maybe about 5 minutes.
This is another one where I didn't arrive at the correct solution, but it is a cool idea. If you have a particularly good grip (or a grippy jar-opening pad), you might stumble across the wrong solution before finding the right one.
The quality is good, considering that it is a reproduction. Bits and Pieces tends to do a much better job with metal puzzles.
This puzzle, Barrel, was also a Bits and Pieces reproduction from Puzzles Old and New. I had a similar experience with this one as I did with Beehive. I was able to get it open, but not quite the right way. Oh well! Still a neat puzzle, but I think Beehive is a bit more clever.
And a picture of the table at which we did most of the puzzling.
Again, thanks to Brett and his family for their hospitality and letting all of us stay at their house. I had a great time!