Thursday, 28 January 2016

Kamei's X-Mas present for 2015: Box with a ribbon 3

For 2015 Kamei decided to make another version of his 2 previous versions of the "box with a ribbon" puzzle.
Can somebody tell me why they (some karakuri's designers) always try to make a first version, and then many others??....Is that because first version was not good enough? Or just a lazily lack of imagination to create something totally new? Actually that's a good question. I like when some different version of the puzzles are released like confetto box 1 and 2 (but they are absolutely good puzzle), but only if the mechanism is not turned to something way too easy after previous versions.

I have not played with the previous versions of this puzzle so I cannot comment and will just describe my feeling about this puzzle.

This puzzle is nicely crafted, everything works as intended and I do not think this can jam over time.
It's composed of a lid and a box with a nice wodden ribbon on the top. Two kind of woods are used and we can recognize Kamei's signature on the bottom of the box.

The goal is to open the box and, as the name implicitely suggests, you will have to do something with the ribbon to open it. This is a wooden ribbon, so please do not act in the same way as with the ribbons put on your X-mas presents :-)

It took me less than 1 minute to open it: it's very easy and not difficult by any means, even for non puzzlers! Of course, at the beginning you will try "useless things" (whi is part of the puzzling fun), especially because as the fit is very good, everything is well hidden!

The mechanism does its job and is simple....too simple. Even if I like this puzzle I am a bit disappoointed by it. Kamei used to making more complex mechanism with more cleverness into them. Just look at his past designs and you will notice that it's not the same level, unfortunately...

I may give a second chance for Kamei for 2016 because I feel he may craft a "better" puzzle for this year. Hopping that I am right!

But don't make my wrong: I like the puzzle but it could have been much much better!!!

Thursday, 21 January 2016

7 woods, 6 pieces, 1 puzzle !!!

You guess what was the puzzle? Well done! A small wooden puzzle designed by Stewart Coffin, crafted by the talented Lee Krasnow and called "Seven woods".

This puzzle is composed of six pieces that need to be assembled in certain way to get this beautiful geometrical solid. The fit of the pieces is absolutely perfect, which make the assembly pretty tricky. Lee did a great job with the glueing of the pieces and with the cutting. Take care: the pieces are sharp!

The puzzle was presented solved in a nice box:

Humm perhaps we can consider that the puzzle is solved when the pieces are assembled, can't we?
What do you think?

Even the way the pieces are put in the box is very nice and original. This crafter has thought about everything!
This is all the more appreciable that most designers do not sell their puzzles in customized box or display stand. We can only agree on the efforts made by Lee!

The shape of the puzzle and the shape of the pieces reminded me a lot of an origami solid I folded some time ago:

The shapes look the same but for my origami I used 12 squared sheets of paper, and for this puzzle there are only half of the pieces (6). Moreover, if you look carefully at the puzzle you have only one diagonal on the top, whereas you have two for my origami. Thus, maybe the assembly is different...

I assume it would have been pretty the same at the beginning, so I tried to assemble in the same way. First two pieces, ok. Third, fine. Fourth, that's ok. Fifth can be ok but difficult. Last one: impossible!
Usually with origami, it's always the last piece that is difficult to assemble and thus you need to fold it slightly, but that impossible to fold wood pieces :-)
So I failed trying to use the same method which consisted of putting pieces one by one. And if you cannot add one piece after another in a "basic way", then you need to consider other assembly methods, what I did...and it worked! I had an idea and was surprised that it worked very well and smoothly, but again you need to be very precise!

A small hesitation: should I put the puzzle in its box?....For the moment it's in it...What do you prefer?

To conclude: a nice puzzle, which relatively small size does not provide you from having a lot of fun to solve it again and again!

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Lunatic lock: a quick comparison between the original and the mass-produced

Every puzzle collectors, whether they collect metal puzzles and/or trick locks or just puzzles, have already heard at least one about the famous Lunatic lock, a metal lock designed by Gary Foshee.

But most collectors have the Bits&Piece lunatic lock and not the original and thus cannot see the differences between both. My copy was my first trick lock.

Before pointing out the differences, a quick talk about what this puzzle is: a lock of course! But a lock without any hole to put a key and without any key, so a mysterious lock!

So how to open it? Well you can play with the small rod in the center: you can turn it, pull it more or less. You can hear also some pins or other ratling things when you move the lock. Then perhaps you've found out what is inside? If so, that's already a good point.
Even if you know how to solve it, you need good precision, and thus it can take a little bit of time.

Once solved you can see the mechanism: simple, precise and so efficient to make you be "lunatic" :-)

Here we are with the differences: on the left will be the original one and on the right a mass-produced version. The mechanism is exactly the same for both.

The design:
I do not have with me right now the mass-produced one, but it seems that the original lock is a bit bigger.
The main difference is that the name of the lock is written on the lock produced by Bits&Pieces. Honestly I think this is a nice thing and I would have liked to see the name written as well on the lunatic lock crafted by Gary Foshee.

The material used
It's stainless steel for the original lock and some kind of cheap aluminium for the mass-produced.
I always prefer to have the original puzzles because the quality has usually nothing to do with the mass-produced ones. However, I must admit that the material is pretty good for this copy. But I still prefer of course the smooth stainless steel of the original one.

For the original one, you will have a small addition, but I cannot say more, otherwise it's not a surprise!

To conclude, this puzzle is a must-have in any collection. If you cannot afford the original version, which is rare and expensive, then you can consider buying a mass-produced version for around 15 euros, which will still do well its "job".

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Kasho's X-Mas present for 2015: Panda

As many of you have already guessed the Panda puzzle was the X-Mas present for 2015 designed and crafted by Kasho. And yes, "Panda" is the official name. All the names are put now in the website.

This wooden puzzle is very cute with its shape and the colors that contrast well.

The finish is very precise as well as the fit.

2015 was my first year when I joined Karakuri club and thus I decided to pick up several X-Mas presents to try what each craftmen have to offer.

Even if I like the design of this puzzle and the fact that -as mentioned in Karakuri's website- we can rotate the nose of the Panda, this is clearly a too easy puzzle! Not a lot of steps are required and normally you should solve it in less than 1 minute.

For the same price I prefer to choose other puzzles like Iwahara's which are more difficult with a more complicated mechanism.

I do not think I will order Kasho again. What about you?