February 28, 2012

Havana's Box #2

I recently purchased the next box in Eric Fuller's cigar puzzle box series, called Havana's Box #2: The Heather. It is named after one of the part-timers that works at Eric's local cigar shop. Like its predecessor, this box is crafted mainly out of quartersawn Sapele. It was available with either a Bleached Lacewood or Quilted Primavera veneer on the lid. I chose the lacewood since it looked nice!

I thought the Wenge veneer on Havana's Box #1 worked alright, but I'm a bit less happy with the Lacewood on Havana's Box #2. As with the Wenge, due to its thinness, it probably can't be sanded down to a nice smooth finish. As such, there were a number of little unfinished pockets in the grain, which looks a bit rough. Additionally, the veneer in my copy was chipped a bit on one end. Despite this, it is still quite a nice looking box!

 One end panel looks a bit unusual, as you can see the photo. This was probably a necessity based on the design, though I would imagine it could have been avoided somehow (though perhaps it would be a pain to do). The general proportions are similar to Havana's Box #1, but it is slightly smaller in all dimensions, particularly lengthwise. There are nice angled bevels on each edge.

The fit on the end panels is a bit loose, to the extent that they'll move on their own when possible. Eric mentioned that he deliberately made the fit a bit loose due to the current dryness of his shop, so hopefully that will tighten up a bit when the puzzle has acclimated to my humidified apartment.

As a puzzle, I found this one to be more challenging than #1, as promised, which was great! The first three moves are pretty simple, but then I hit a dead end. The cute thing about the dead end is that you get a peek at the cigar, but obviously can't quite get it out of the box, so it taunts you. Great design!

Unfortunately, I ended up solving the last bit through an unintended solution. Just so you don't do the same thing, make a note that no whacking is required. The actual solution is more clever, as I later discovered upon inspecting the opened box. It is pretty tricky and should keep even experienced puzzlers puzzled for a good amount of time. The unintended solution could have been prevented, but it would have complicated the design a bit and likely made it more expensive.

Overall, despite the fact that I nit-picked it a bit, I'd say that Havana #2 is an excellent puzzle box for the money. There are currently two Quilted Primavera versions for sale over at Cubic Dissection, if you're interested in checking one out! Also, check out Neil's review of Havana #1 and #2 to read more.

1 comment:

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