April 2021 Update Preview

Update is Monday, April 5th at 3pm EST (UTC -5)


ResQ / Visitor Q Delay 

Design improvements and prototyping have further delayed our version of Boucher's excellent Visitor Q puzzle. Following input from the Mechanical Puzzle Discord we have renamed the puzzle to "ResQ." Final prototyping is underway, and we feel confident it will be released next month. The enhanced design is very complex, and I'm excited to see how it's received.


April Fundraiser Auction 

We are relocating to a larger workshop soon, and the move will be expensive. In order to fund this expansion Eric is auctioning some of his personal collection on the Marketplace. This week-long event will begin at the same time as this month's release.


May Update Preview

Our next update will be Monday, May 3rd. Our goals for that update include:


Change to Upcoming Page

We have removed the list of "Upcoming" work from the Production and Release Schedule page. While I want to give as much notice as possible, many items have been "upcoming" far too long.

Our production capacity is limited and our plans often change at the last minute if I discover a new design I'm more excited about producing. Remaining open to new ideas and focusing on those we're most excited about allows us to do our best work.

Given that, the "Upcoming" list had become a page of broken promises, creating disappointment among our customers and stifling our creative output. Removing the list resolves those issues neatly.


Improved Info and FAQ Sections 

We have been working on better organization of the Info and FAQ sections of the site. Work remains underway, with a second round of revisions coming soon. I've been very excited about the results and wanted to share our progress to date. The new Info page can be found here.


April Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Jeff Diuguid for winning our April 2021 giveaway! Jeff scored a free copy of the Slideways Interlocking Puzzle by Ray Stanton & Akio Yamamoto.

Every month we choose a random member of our newsletter to receive a free puzzle. If you'd like to join, just drop your email address in the box on the lower right of any page on the site.


April Sticker

This month's sticker was designed by our in-house creative genius Kenny Wical. I told Kenny I wanted unicorns and sharks with laser beams. He delivered! 


Cubicdissection April 2021 Update Sticker


Important Note - Care, Storage and Display

Our work is handcrafted to very precise tolerances and must be kept within the range of 40-60% relative humidity at all times. Failure to do so may cause inoperability or permanent damage.

Please read the Caring for Wood Puzzles guide to ensure proper fit and operation. We recommend an occasional polishing with Renaissance Wax to keep wood puzzles in top condition.


Now, on to the Puzzles....

 Akaki's Picnic

DESIGNER: Akaki Kuumeri
MATERIAL: Zebrawood Basket, Bloodwood, Figured Birch, Jatoba Cubes
RELEASE DATE: 4.5.2021
PRICE: $179
SIZE: 2.2" x 2.2" x 2.778"

Akaki's Picnic is a wonderfully creative Packing Puzzle. The goal is to pack each 3x3 cube into the Picnic Basket so that all pieces are flush. Assembling the cubes outside the basket is trivial; the challenge comes when you try to fill the container. The handle of the basket blocks your progress, causing you to analyze the situation and think outside the box.

Akaki named the cubes after different foods you might find at a picnic. Each has a unique solution, representing a range of difficulties. We have chosen three of the more challenging cubes for this release. Each cube has four pieces and requires rotations:

  • Egg has a level solution
  • Sandwich has a level solution
  • Wine has a level solution

Akaki also 3D prints this puzzle, and we collaborated so that the pieces interchange with our release. Collectors can order individual cubes from his Etsy shop and solve them using our wood basket.

Akaki's Picnic release was made using labor-intensive joinery techniques and some of our finest exotic wood stock. The basket is solid Zebrawood with a beautiful striped figure reminiscent of a woven picnic basket. The handle is secured to the basket with robust notched joinery, with the top braced with a shoulder joint. The Egg cube uses Figured Birch, Fruit is from dark red Bloodwood, and Sandwich from a dense plank of Jatoba.

Approximately 90 copies are available. Each puzzle is signed and dated. Akaki's Picnic ships in an unsolved configuration.






DESIGNER: Ray Stanton and Akio Yamamoto
MATERIAL: Premium Canarywood or Paduak, Yellowheart, Purpleheart
RELEASE DATE: 4.5.2021
PRICE: $55 (Canarywood) / $49 (Mixed Wood)
SIZE: 3"

Slideways is one of our favorite Interlocking Burrs. Three simple, identical pieces combine to form the symmetrical shape. The solution is trickier than it seems, and some struggle even after even seeing it performed in front of them. There is a tricky concept in play that must be understood; once discovered, the pieces' smooth movement is addicting. Slideways is not the most challenging puzzle, but it just may become your favorite.

Slideways' batch was a split production run; half are constructed from three varied exotic woods: Paduak, Purpleheart, Yellowheart. The other half was made from the same slabs of Canarywood as our July 2020 Double Slideways release. We are charging a bit more for the Canarywood as it was the last plank we had and it is unlikely we will ever find such a beautiful example of the species again.

Approximately 70 copies of Mixed Wood and 70 copies of Canarywood are available. Each puzzle is signed and dated. Slideways ships unassembled.






DDD Interlocking Burr Set

DESIGNER: Darryl Adams, Bryan Turner and Eric Fuller
MATERIAL: Brass, Lacewood, Wenge
RELEASE DATE: 5.4.2021
PRICE: $175
SIZE: 2.625" x 2.0625" x 2"

DDD Interlocking Burr Set is a collaborative effort between by Darryl Adams, Bryan Turner and Eric Fuller. This batch is the final release for the foreseeable future.

Darryl's inspiration came from Bill Cutler's complete summary of notchable pieces that can be used to form a burr shape. Bill's set of 42 pieces are sufficient to make all 314 solid notchable burrs and thousands of non-solid assemblies.

Darryl sought a smaller set that allows enough interesting combinations to guide the solver through increasingly difficult puzzles. He called it “DDD” for “Darryl’s Dense Dozen”. The set is “dense” in that it allows for 530 possible puzzle combinations; of those, 42 have a unique solution, and 24 are solid with no internal voids.

Brass pieces are precision machined by Bryan Turner and stored inside a Lacewood and Wenge box designed by Eric Fuller. The fit of both is sublime; assembled puzzles feel as though machine from a solid piece, and the box is so precisely crafted it seems to have no possible opening.

PDF directions for DDD Burr Set can be found here. The Burrtools file for the complete set can be found here.

PuzzleMad has written a very fine blog review of this puzzle. Additional burr pieces can be ordered a la carte from Bryan.

Approximately 90 copies are available. Each puzzle is signed and dated.


Half Lid Box

DESIGNER: Hajime Katsumoto
MATERIAL: Maple (Box)
Wenge, Yellowheart, Schedua, Jatoba, Chakte Viga (Pieces)
RELEASE DATE: 4.5.2021
PRICE: $65
SIZE: 2.7” x 1.8”

The Half Lid Box Packing Puzzle seems easy; pack the five pieces flush into the box. This simple task is made difficult by a sliding cover that blocks half of the box's lid. Since the interior is three units wide, the blocking slider necessitates rotational moves, which greatly complicates assembly.

These copies are a limited one-off release of surplus Half Lid box parts from a discontinued previous release. Box construction is sturdy, crafted from Maple with shouldered edges and a precisely fitting lid panel. Pieces are from Wenge, Yellow Heart, Schedua, Jatoba and Chakte Viga.

The Metagrobologist Half Lid Box Review.

Approximately 10 copies are available. Each puzzle is signed and dated. Half Lid Box ships in an solved unsolved configuration.




Pack Six

DESIGNER: Eric Fuller
MATERIAL: Walnut (Box)
Paduak, Sycamore, Purpleheart, Canarywood, Yellowheart, Ash (Pieces)
RELEASE DATE: 4.5.2021
PRICE: $69
SIZE: 3.625"

Pack Six was designed by Eric Fuller back in 2003. This six-piece Packing Puzzle is deceptively tricky...it looks easy. Still, when most try to solve it, they are engaged quite a bit longer than expected. Just when you think you have it solved, that last block is in the wrong place. Piece analysis only gets you so far, making Pack Six an enjoyable challenge for both experienced and newer collectors. These copies are a limited one-off release of surplus parts from an earlier production run.

Pack Six is very well constructed with a precisely crafted Walnut tray featuring shouldered joinery and a free-floating Birch bottom. The pieces are made from Paduak, Sycamore, Purpleheart, Canarywood, Yellowheart, and Ash.

Zen Puzzler blog review; Puzzled Wolf video review.

Approximately 10 copies are available. Each puzzle is signed and dated. Pack Six ships in a solved configuration.





Portal Sequential Discovery Puzzle Box

MATERIAL: Maple, Cherry, Wenge
RELEASE DATE: 4.5.2021
PRICE: $329
SIZE: 6" x 4" x 3"

Portal is Dee Dixon's newest Sequential Discovery Puzzle Box. Dee's earlier works like Where's my Hammer and Space Case have been very well received by the puzzle community. Portal carries on Dee's tradition of innovation and excellence.

Five Sinatra's review does a great job describing Portal:
"This newest creation moves away from some of Space Case's more blind aspects, providing ample direction and feedback from start to finish while preserving some of the best aspects of such semi-hidden mechanisms. The box's aesthetic shares some similarities with Space Case, featuring shapes on its sides whose possible purpose must be determined. However, its puzzling is quite different and, I think, more playful. Portal features some really cool design details that had me smiling appreciatively after I reached the end and realized the nature of the path he takes us on; the puzzle gives WMH a run for its money..."

Dee originally planned for a batch of 60 puzzles but ran into issues that reduced the yield to 26 copies. He is working on another set which will be released as soon as they're finished.

26 copies of Portal available. Each puzzle is signed and dated. Portal ships in an unsolved configuration.




Pygmy and Marmoset Interlocking Burrs

DESIGNER: Ali Morris / Steve Nicholls
MATERIAL: Solid Machined Brass
RELEASE DATE: 4.5.2021
PRICE: $99 each / $189 pair
SIZE: 1.375" x 1.75"

Pygmy and Marmoset are the latest Interlocking Burr creations by Ali Morris and Steve Nicholls (collectively known as Two Brass Monkeys). Steve and Ali hide their creative genius behind trickster personas; their product's quality is often belied by a lighthearted presentation. Don't be fooled...candy and primate pictures notwithstanding, their puzzles rank among the best in the world.

Named after the smallest monkey in the animal Kingdom, the Pygmy Marmoset, these small puzzles nonetheless feel dense and heavy when assembled thanks to their solid brass construction. Both have thirteen pieces and share an identical shape yet have very different solutions. Pygmy construction allows for a more straightforward determination of piece placement but is more challenging to assemble. Marmoset comes together with less effort but is more of a challenge to determine positioning and order. Both are difficult, and neither yields its secrets easily.

Small-batch crafted in Hertfordshire from solid 9mm brass rod, Pygmy and Marmoset have an overall size of 45x45x36mm and weigh just over half a pound. The quality of machining is superlative, and the fit is sublime. Once the last piece glides into place, the assembly feels entirely solid rather than assembled from individual components.

Pygmy and Marmoset ship unassembled.


April 2021 Update Preview