March 30, 2010

Regular Octahedron Secret Box

As I mentioned in this post, the Karakuri Creation Group has an interesting business model where you pre-pay for puzzle boxes from the craftspeople of your choice, and receive them at Christmas. I purchased three this year, and was regretting not getting more: they really are the best source for awesome puzzle boxes and are quite reasonably priced.

After Christmas, they sell the remaining Christmas presents by lottery: you let them know which of the remaining puzzle boxes you're interested in, and if you "win" you get to buy it! The pre-Christmas price is $100 and the post-Christmas price is $140, so it is preferable just to get them before, but you don't know what the designs will be before Christmas, so it is a tradeoff. Some folks use this as an opportunity to buy another copy of a box they really like.

I entered the lottery for a few boxes, and won a Regular Octahedron Secret Box by Hideaki Kawashima. As you can see, he tends to base his works on geometry. I find octahedrons to be interesting: for some reason I always feel like one of the points is the "top" but really it is completely symmetrical.

The shape makes for a more confusing puzzle since it has 8 sides, while most  puzzle boxes have six, so there are more options to try. Plus, we are less accustomed to manipulating this particular platonic solid than a cube, so it is easy to get turned around.

I really liked the inlay on the outside that traces out a loop that crosses each of the 8 faces, though I found it a bit vexing that it disrupted the rotational symmetry. The puzzle has a nice appearance and a great finish, as you would expect from a Karakuri Creation Group puzzle box. The panels slide nice and smoothly.

The solution is not very difficult, I solved it in about a minute and the non-puzzle folks I tried it out on also figured out the solution in less than 5 minutes. That said, the solution is quite elegant and there is a nice little "a-ha" moment when you finally see how it opens.

What I really liked was that it sort of clicks/pops open and shut, which is pretty neat, like it is locking into place. I inspected the mechanism and couldn't see what was causing this. I wonder if this was intentional and whether or not it will reduce with wear.

Overall, it is a great puzzle! I look forward to seeing more of Kawashima's work in the future.

March 28, 2010

13th Labor of Hercules

I got a new puzzle a few weeks ago from the last auction over at It is a 36 piece version Altekruse puzzle, named after its originator William Altekruse.

The original version, designed way back in 1980, consisted of 12 identical pieces. More recently, Stewart Coffin discovered that this design could be extended to make similar puzzles with 14, 24, 36, or 38 pieces. John Devost even told me that he saw a 96 piece version in Jerry McFarland's collection!

I had done the 12 and 14 piece versions with my set of LiveCubes, but I didn't have enough to make any of the larger designs. If you aren't familiar with LiveCubes, check out this entry about them, they're really cool building blocks for cubic puzzles. I really liked the way the 12 and 14 piece versions worked, they are entirely different from the way most burrs work. Rather than moving individual pieces, the whole puzzle shifts in an interesting way.

Since I liked the 12 and 14 piece versions, I was pretty psyched to see a 36 piece version for sale. It was made by Pentangle, who dubbed it The 13th Labor of Hercules, which is a pretty bad-ass name for a puzzle and quite appropriate considering the amount of effort involved in getting this thing back together.

It arrived at my office and I just admired it for a little while: it as a nice big puzzle at a little over 6 inches square. Eventually I couldn't resist the temptation to see how it worked, so I played around with it a bit, taking a few pieces out and putting them back in.

Eventually I got a bit ambitious and started taking the whole thing apart. At first I was doing so carefully, but then I threw caution to the wind and just started pulling pieces out left and right. To really solve it, I didn't want to have too much of an idea of how it came apart.

Of course, putting it back together was going to be a lot more work than I had time for at the office, so I brought it home with me. I spent a good several hours that night trying to get it back together, but didn't have any luck. I did get very close though: only four more pieces were remaining, but the problem was that I would have needed to almost completely disassemble the puzzle to get them in and I couldn't figure out how to do that and get the other pieces back in place.

I spent the next few weeks fiddling with it on an off, never quite figuring out how I could get those four pieces in without blocking something else. Finally, tonight, I had a good chunk of time to work on it and finally got it together! It was quite a relief, because that partially assembled puzzle has been taunting me for quite some time. Here's a triumphant picture of me after I finally got the last piece in. Woo hoo!

This whole group of puzzles is a lot of fun, but definitely not for the faint of heart once you get to the higher number of pieces. I can't count the number of times that I would make a move, only to hear a few pieces drop out of place. It does take a bit of dexterity to get everything in place and lined up, which is one frustrating aspect of this puzzle.

The construction and quality of this puzzle is quite good: of course the finish isn't as nice as something from John Devost or Jerry McFarland, but the notches are very accurately cut and the pieces are nice and smooth. I would definitely buy more puzzles from Pentangle.

They are located in the UK, so if you live in the US and want to save on shipping, you can buy some of Pentangle's products from Cleverwood. They are a bit more expensive than Pentangle, so you'll need to do the math and see which is cheaper with the shipping. Pentangle also sells 12 and 14 piece Altekruse puzzles under the names Holey Cross and Hybrid Puzzle, respectively.

March 26, 2010

Cast Key and Cast Key II

Well, it has been a while since I've written about a Hanayama puzzle. Do you remember back when that used to be the main kind of puzzle I wrote about? Well, I was down at Eureka a few weeks ago and got a few more Hanayamas: Cast Key and Cast Key II. I was curious as to how different they were, since they look fairly similar.

Hanayama USHY33 Key Cast Metal Brain Teaser PuzzleCast Key is a difficulty level 1 out of 5, so most folks should be able to get it without too much trouble. It probably took me about 30 seconds and it took my girlfriend a minute or so, so this is a good easy one to start folks off with and get their confidence up. There are about 8 moves, but only the first part is a bit tricky. Once you get that, the rest follow fairly easily.

The finish is a nice bronze color that gives it a bit of an antique look. The movement of the pieces was nice, no issue with forcing or anything. Overall, a solid starter puzzle.

HANAYAMA CAST PUZZLE - KEY IINext, I tried Cask Key II. This one is difficulty level 2 out of 5. I was interested to see how different it was, and I was a bit disappointed to find that the first 4 moves were pretty much identical. They did throw in a dead end right at the beginning, which makes it a bit tricker if you haven't seen Cast Key.

The final moves are different, and I really liked the last move that actualy frees the key. In Cast Key, the last few moves were a bit ho-hum, but this one has a nice ending.

This one has a nice shiny finish, which I liked as well. This design and finish make it a bit harder to spot which moves are possible, in Cast Key, they are fairly obvious visually.

I would suggest just getting Cast Key II rather than getting both, since Key II contains everything Cast Key has, but with a few additional details. Overall, this is a good little puzzle. It is slightly harder than Cast Key, but most folks could probably figure it out without too much difficulty.

March 25, 2010


Cross is a tray-packing puzzle designed by renowned Singa-porean puzzle inventor 'Pit' Khiam Goh and made by John Devost. The design is a variant of Pit's Stealth tray puzzle that was designed after Walt Hoppe caught a false solution in the original design. I recently had the chance to give it a try through John's puzzle library. Thanks John!

This is a gorgeous-looking puzzle: the woods that John used are beautiful, as you can see (photo by John). The finish of the pieces is superb as well, they have a remarkably smooth, almost buttery finish that is quite pleasing. Interestingly, John made te puzzle pieces out of burr scraps produced by Jerry McFarland. How environmentally conscious of them!

The four dark pieces in the corner are stationary: the task is to fill up the cross shape that remains with the six pieces.

I had a fun time solving this one: it isn't too tricky if you have seen puzzles with a solution of this nature before, but otherwise you could spend a while before you discover the 'trick'. Even though I had seen puzzles with solutions like this before, it still took me a good 20-30 minutes to figure it out.

I had a brainy friend over for dinner and suggested that he give this one a try. I was curious how difficult he would find it. At first I was worried that he wouldn't finish before dinner was ready (I feel guilty when I give somebody a puzzle that is too hard for the time allotted), but he figured it out right before! I think it took him about 20 minutes as well, with some slight hints.

As far as puzzles go, I haven't gotten too into tray packing puzzles. I think what bugs me about them is that you can't display them in their solved state without revealing the solution, so they are always in partial disarray. However, I think this disarray is more tempting for a guest to solve: they'd rather solve something that is messed up than risk messing up something that is already solved.

All in all, this is a very nice puzzle. Great quality construction and fun from a puzzling point of view as well. Congratulations to Pit on a clever design!

March 24, 2010

Spinning Icosahedron

While I was down in New York, Brett passed along some puzzles he had borrowed from John Devost, one of which was Spinning Icosahedron (a.k.a. Spinico) made by Stephen Chin.  This puzzle was based on one of a number of icosahedral puzzles originally conceived and made by Wayne Daniel. Check out his article in Cubism For Fun #50 for more information.

The variation I tried is made out of 10 pieces, 5 of which are identical and the other 5 are mirror images. It is an interesting coordinate motion puzzle: you need to expand the puzzle almost to the point of collapse to remove the first piece. However, the more entertaining way of disassembling this puzzle is to spin it on a hard surface. This causes it to almost immediately explode apart into 10 pieces, which is a lot of fun.

Due to the precision required, Stephen numbered each piece so you could identify which location it should occupy. This ensures that the fit will be the same each time: if you swapped the identical pieces around and they aren't exactly identical, it doesn't fit quite right when assembled.

This made it easier to put together, but still it was no easy task. There is a good amount of dexterity required to get the last piece in without having the whole thing fall apart on you. Overall, it is a fun puzzle, but not too challenging. Here's a video of John's son Kyle masterfully assembling the it:

It is nicely crafted, with all the pieces fitting snugly together. The exterior has a nice smooth finish that gives it a nice appearance, it is a nice looking puzzle.

Stephen has made another version where all 10 pieces are identical, which was originally thought to be impossible to assemble. He has also made versions of this puzzle that he has then turned on a lathe to form a sphere or a football shape. Pretty cool!

George Bell has created a 3D printed version of the spherical version of this puzzle that will be available soon in his Shapeways shop under Exploding Ball Puzzle. He is still tweaking the angles of the pieces to get it to work just right, so it isn't available for sale yet. Here's a video of George spinning it:

I think that due to the smaller size, it is a bit harder for the pieces to overcome the friction that holds them in place. It makes you appreciate it all the more when it finally explodes. Surprise!

Thanks to John Devost for letting me borrow this cool puzzle. I had a fun time playing around with it!

March 18, 2010

Blind Snooker

I recently had the great pleasure of being one of the first to try out one of Ron Locke's new puzzle boxes: Blind Snooker. It is a puzzle box designed to look like a pool table, complete with pool stick, bridge, rack, and a silver ball. John Devost purchased it from Ron and let me give it a try. Thanks John!

The object of the puzzle is to drop the ball into one of the holes and navigate a hidden maze to unlock the drawer.

As you can see from the photos, it is a very nice looking puzzle and is quite well crafted. He did a great job with the inlaid spots along the rails, as well as the different pool accessories. The inlays on the legs were also a nice touch.

Unfor-tunately, when I received it, the envelope containing the instruc-tions was empty, so I just had to wing it. I played around with it for a while, listening carefully as I rolled the ball around the maze.

Eventually I heard a different noise and figured that I had gotten to the next step of the puzzle. I worked on it for a few more minutes before I eventually got it open! Hooray! Unfortunately, I realized that I wasn't entirely sure what I did, so I decided to try again in the hopes that a more logical solution would reveal itself.

Again, I was able to get it to open, but the method I was using was fairly random. After inspecting what I could see of the mechanism, I was surprised that it didn't appear to work like I would have expected it to work. I contacted Ron, and it turns out that indeed the solution I had discovered was not the correct one: however the correct solution didn't work for me!

The mechanism wasn't operating quite as was intended, but in my mind this was actually more fun: if it had been working properly, I think I would have gotten it open in about half the time, but finding another solution proved to be quite a bit more challenging. It would have been an entirely different matter if I couldn't have gotten it open at all, but fortunately there was a way to bypass the solution.

So I'm going to send this one back to Ron and he's going to swap it out for a different one before it makes its way to the next person in the puzzle library (Peter Wiltshire will be trying it next).

Despite the minor issue with the mech-anism, I still thought this was a neat little puzzle. The only downside in my mind was the whole blind maze aspect which can be quite frustrating since you can't see what is going on and it is a bit random. I didn't find the maze to be super-hard though, so this isn't a huge drawback.

I was also a bit disappointed that the pool accessories other than the ball weren't part of the solution, but they do look nice! Plus you can store them handily in the holders on the sides.

I thought that the mechanism itself is pretty cool, and I have an even better appreciation for it after talking to Ron.

Thanks again to John and congratulations to Ron on a clever and beautiful puzzle. You can check out Ron's work at his store Pahpoo's Puzzles on Blind Snooker isn't on sale there yet, but it probably will be in the near future, so keep an eye out!

March 8, 2010

New York Puzzle Party (Part 4)

Check out parts 1, 2, and 3 if you're just joining us.

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.

One puzzle I spent quite a bit of time on was a box by 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.

Next, I tried a cute little puzzle box by Shiro Tajima named Cheese de Chu. It was Tajima's 2007 Christmas present: his 2008 and 2009 presents were also animal-themed.

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.

After that, I tried an interesting-looking burr that Brett suggested I take a look at. It is a burr with a bit of a trick to it. I don't want to go spoiling the surprise, so I can't really say any more about it. It wasn't nearly as difficult as it appeared. The fit and craftsmanship were quite nice, and I liked the used of different colored woods.

I was psyched that Rob had brought along one of his new acquisitions: 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.

This next puzzle, Schluessel by R.D. (a.k.a Roger), was probably my favorite puzzle of this trip. It consists of a key that is inserted into a keyhole in an aluminum block, and the goal is to remove the key.

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 next puzzle I tried was a nice looking puzzle box, though there isn't anything boxy about it! It is a beautifully turned spherical box.The panels are made up of multiple woods that have been laminated together, which gives it a very cool appearance.

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.

I was quite happy to get a chance to try another Sandfield/McDaniel puzzle: DoveTail Bar Puzzle. This one was designed by Norman Sandfield and crafted by Perry McDaniel.

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.

The next puzzle I tried was Beehive, a Bits and Pieces reproduction of a puzzle mentioned by Louis Hoffman in his book Puzzles Old and New.

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.

Rob also brought Yamaosa Burr, a burr designed by Osanori Yamamoto and made by Eric Fuller. He hasn't solved this one yet, and decided to see if I could figure it out.
I like a challenge, so I spent a good 30-45 minutes on this one, but didn't have any luck. It was very nicely made by Eric, though I didn't get to enjoy seeing what the completed puzzle looked like! I took this picture so I could try making it out of LiveCube blocks and solving it at some point in the future. It is funny that a rectilinear burr like this can be so challenging with only three pieces!

I think I neglected to mention that today was Valentine's day, so I decided that it would be a good idea to head out and meet my girlfriend for dinner before it got too late. Also, my mind was getting a bit frazzled from all of this puzzling: I definitely got my fill! So after a full day of puzzling, I hit the road and headed back home. I'll leave you with a picture of one of Brett's puzzle shelves:

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!

March 4, 2010

New York Puzzle Party (Part 3)

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 if you're just joining us.

Sunday was actually the day I was most looking forward to: I was (reasonably) well rested and had pretty much the whole day to try a bunch of Brett's puzzles. Rob and Rick were there as well, and we would later be joined by Daniel Deschamps, who we met at NYPP.

First up: an interesting burr puzzle designed and made by Jerry McFarland named Quadlock. It is a 19 piece burr that is fairly challenging to disassemble, and even harder to get back together.

As you would expect from Jerry, it is perfectly crafted with a beautiful fit. The finish is awesomely smooth and the contrasting woods give it a nice appearance.

At first, the only things that move are the four rods running through the center in the top of the picture. They form the lock that keeps the puzzle from coming apart further. After playing around with it for a few minutes, I was able to start the disassembly process. I was quite careful when taking it apart, since I didn't want to have to spend the whole day putting it back together again. It was quite cool how the whole puzzle came apart piece by piece; it is a very nicely designed puzzle.

Once I had it completely apart, I started the process of putting it back together again. Since I had laid out the pieces in the orientation and order in which they were taken out, this wasn't too first! Then I started to get a bit confused. Which piece went in next? Did I get the orientation wrong?

Eventually I was able to figure out how to get it back together, but not without breaking a sweat! I think it took me about 20 minutes or so. Definitely a neat puzzle, I really admire Jerry's work.

Next, I tried Die In Prison 2 made by Eric Fuller. The burr was designed by Ronald Kint Bruynseels with a solid block in the middle, but Eric added the modification (in version 2) that the box in the middle was a puzzle box. Brett thought I'd get a kick out of it, so I gave it a try.

I was able to get the burr apart fairly easily, but the box had me stumped for quite a while. Eventually I discovered something very clever, which I think was supposed to be the solution, but it didn't work! Brett thought that I had the right idea and tried it himself, but didn't have any luck either. We thought that it might be stuck because of the dry winter air: it had a very precise fit and the humidity can cause this to happen. After a little while of trying, we both gave up. Oh well! If the solution was what we thought it was, it is pretty cool. If it is even fancier and we just didn't figure it out, all the better!

Putting the burr back together wasn't too bad, but I think it ended up taking me about 10 or 15 minutes. Besides the potential humidity issue with the box, I thought it was a great puzzle. The idea of combining two types of puzzles was a really clever idea. Also, the craftsmanship was quite nice!

After this, I was quite excited to get to try a GarE Maxton puzzle: Micro-Conundrum. GarE crafts some amazing puzzle sculptures out of metal, and this is one of his more affordable puzzles due to its small size. However, even his affordable puzzles still cost several hundred dollars! This one was on loan from John Devost to Brett from the puzzle library. Thanks John!

What I really like about this, and his other puzzles, is his use of contrasting metals. It really gives the puzzle a nice appearance. Even though it is quite small, it is a hefty puzzle. He offers several options for the finish on the edges: this one had beveled edges on each piece, which I thought gave it a nice appearance.

This one is actually slightly tricky to take apart: it has an unusual trick that holds it together which I thought was pretty clever. Once you get the first piece out, though, it is pretty trivial to disassemble it completely. In fact, I shut my eyes through the rest of the disassembly so reassembly would be a bit harder.

Two of the pieces are fairly large, which made it easy to determine their orientation relative to one another, so reassembling this one wasn't too tricky. Still, it is a beautiful work of art and a nice little puzzle.

I would love to see some of his larger works, particularly The Labyrinth: a metal puzzle box! It weighs 30 pounds and is about five inches square. Needless to say, it (presumably) costs a fortune: you need to call him to get a price.

Speaking of puzzle boxes, I had the pleasure of trying a puzzle box by the famed Yoshiyuki Ninomiya of the Karakuri Creation Group. I had heard great things about his work from Matt Dawson, so it was cool to get to try one of his puzzles in person.

This was his 2009 Christmas present named Packing Box (mini) Ⅲ. Recently, he has done a number of puzzles that have this general appearance, and honestly it doesn't appeal to me quite as much as some of the other boxes that the folks at the KCG have made.

However, his craftsmanship is absolutely top notch. Due to the way it is constructed, the features of the crate almost completely hide any trace of which panels you can move. This one actually stumped me for quite a while, even though the solution ended up being fairly simple. Daniel told me he was disappointed by how easy it was, but I actually found it fairly challenging! I think it took me a good 20-30 minutes to open this one.

Next, I tried a puzzle called FlatTrick by Vaclav Obsivac (a.k.a. Vinco). It is a cool coordinate motion puzzle that consists of six identical pieces.

I really like Vinco's puzzles, they are very nicely made and a lot of fun to play around with. This one is not particularly difficult, due to the pieces being all the same. Taking it apart is easy, and getting it back together is only moderately more challenging.

Still, as you can see from the picture, the coordinate motion action of this puzzle is really quite cool. It sort of explodes in all directions, which is a lot of fun. Jonas has an entry about this puzzle on his blog.

This framed burr puzzle by Franklin Gonslaves is named Enigma and I found to be pretty challenging. I think part of the reason it was challenging was due to the tight fit, though, so perhaps it would be a bit easier if the pieces slid a bit more freely. This was probably also due to the dry winter air and will be better in the summer.

The craftsmanship is good, with a very close fit. Of course, the downside to such a close fit is that the puzzle can be less tolerant of humidity changes. It ended up taking me about 20-30 minutes to get this one apart and back together.

What made this one tricky was the fact that there was a dead end at the beginning of the disassembly. I kept thinking that I was on the right path and was just unable to find the next piece to move, but I ended up having to backtrack to the beginning and find a different route. Pretty cool!

After this, I tried Burrnoose by Tom Jolly, made by Eric Fuller. Tom comes up with some really cool designs and this one was no exception. There are six oddly shaped pieces (the colorful ones) that extend above and below a 4x4 square noose that constrains them. At first, it looks like there is no movement at all, but then you discover a neat little trick that gets things going.

After that, it gets a little chaotic with the six pieces and the frame moving around. Still, there is a unique solution for disassembly. I think it took me maybe 5 minutes to get it apart and 10 minutes to get it back together. Not super hard, but it was fun to play with.

Also, the craftsmanship was superb! The fit was excellent and I really liked the choice of woods. The colors are what make this puzzle really stand out. Very cool!

Ok, I just did a count and it has taken me almost two hours to write about these seven puzzles and I have 14 more to go, so it doesn't look like I'm going to finish everything tonight. Stay tuned for Part 4 (and probably Part 5)! Thanks to Brett for letting me try all these neat puzzles!
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