A while back John Devost contacted me about selling some beautiful wooden pens on the website. He had been bitten by the woodturning bug...it's a hefty addiction from what I have observed, which is why as a public service I have avoided buying a wood lathe. I told him that it didn't really fit the purpose of the site, and we decided that I should make a puzzle box to store them in. Easy, right?
WRONG! My requirements were that it be portable, non-trivial to solve yet quick once you know the trick, and with a strong enough mechanism to stand up to repeated use. Turns out that's a tall order to fill. Just figuring out a way to keep the pens secure in the box without enlarging the design took forever. I worked on this design on and off for over a month before my subconcience spit out a winner.
The box uses sliding panels and has a final trick that many puzzlers will likely be familiar with, but most non-puzzlers will struggle with. While most of you will find one method to solve the box, there is another which requires a bit of practice but looks like a magic trick to observers.
Enough said, I don't want to spoil the surprise. I used some very nice solid stock and exotic veneers with this box, and for the first time used a buffed caranuba wax finish which makes the box smooth and a pleasure in the hand. The only grips I have is a small miscalculation on the panels which resulted in an unsightly .02 gap around the edge of the sides. I was going to scrap the whole project but John convinced me that they looked fine. I have nevertheless discounted the price quite a bit relative to the amount of time I spent on the project.
Each box is signed and dated...30 copies made for sale.