With the recent re-release of Tube It In I was reminded how fun and satisfying well-crafted small wooden boxes are. There's something addicting to feeling the precise fit and the sharp snap of the magnet pulling a piece into perfect alignment. I decided to try designing a small puzzle box and completed it a couple of days later.
As I finished the drawings and started laying out production steps, it occurred to me that significant production advantages were possible with smaller size pieces. These potential processes were very dissimilar to my normal techniques, but I decided to give it a try.
The result amazed me. The precision was still there, the fit and feel identical, yet I was saving large amounts of time over a comparable box twice the size. Greater production efficiency = greater economies of scale = more affordable pricing!
It's very important for me to keep my work accessible. I thought I'd tried everything in the past, cumulating with the Artisan series which, while popular, was a poor business decision. My regular "Signature" work ended up subsidizing the Artisan work to the point that I actually lost money selling them.
With the potential for small boxes to scale, I got excited. I drew another design and licensed a brilliant design from Alan Boardman. This month will see the release of the first three Small Box designs. They use the same fine and exotic woods as my larger designs. They are the same complexity, fit, finish, and quality as my larger work while being considerably less expensive than the same design in a larger format. They take less space on a collection shelf, and can be thrown in a backpack and shared with friends. They're cheaper to ship to overseas customers. The advantages go on and on...
I believe these boxes will be a large part of our future offerings. This weekend alone I drew three more new designs which will be produced in the coming months. Furthermore, I have an entire back catalog of previously released puzzle boxes, many of whose concepts can be reiterated into a small box format. Since most of those earlier designs were made in extremely limited quantity, re-releasing them as small boxes will allow the new generation of collectors to enjoy them.
I still plan on making full-size boxes, but these will be more complex sequential discovery style puzzles. I plan on expanding the small box catalog and am very excited to see the reaction of the collecting world!