Another one of the puzzles that I borrowed from Jeff Chiou was Box with a Tree by Hiroshi Iwahara. Check out Jeff's entry about it on his blog.
Karakuri Box Exhibit, but I knew it was a fairly tricky one and didn't spend much time with it.
As you can see from Jeff's photo, it is a fairly plain looking box with a lone ornament on the lid: a black pine tree. I thought that this surely must be some kind of hint! I love how simple it looks, but the simplicity hides a tricky mechanism. The finish is nice, and the movement was good, though a bit stiff.
I noticed fairly quickly that two panels moved, but that didn't do me much good. I had a general idea for how it would open, but I couldn't figure out quite how to release the locking mechanism.
I kept thinking about the tree, and tried the only thing that I could think of that would be related to it. I kept trying in various permutations until finally it opened! However, I had no idea why that time was successful and my previous attempts were not. Quite perplexing! The mechanism is not visible when the box is open, so that really didn't help.
I shut the box and tried to open it again, and eventually I figured out the one remaining element that I was missing. Very clever! I think it took me a total of 10-15 minutes, which was pretty lucky, this could have easily taken me hours or days if I went down a different thought path. It really is quite difficult, but well worth the effort. Overall, a fine box! Thanks to Jeff for loaning it to me!
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