Tag Archives: wood working

Dragon puzzle box

Dragon puzzle box

After long time finally I made another puzzle box. Some time ago I watched a video about an antique Chinese puzzle box. There is a sweet competition between China and Japan. I like this. Chinese has tangram and Japans has Japanese tangram. Japans has Japanese puzzle boxes and Chinese has Chinese puzzle box. The mechanism of this Chinese box was very nice and I decided to make one. I made some changes and the result is this box. The name of this box is dragon box. I am planing to make a dragon ornament to side panels in next days with wood burning. Here my video about this box.

For making this box I used cherry and mahogany. Additionally some small padauk scraps from my workshop. This puzzle box is a complex box project (at least for me) and require a lot of drawing and explications. If you want make your own “Dragon puzzle box” you can download or preview free PDF file including photos , explications, plans , drawings etc from here (2.3 MB on secure server box.com) 

Architect’s dilemma

Architect's dilemma puzzle

A crazy businessman find ten billionaire and prepare with them a dream office plan for each one. And this businessman comes to the architect and want them to build a tower according to this ten plan. Architect make a model for each dream office and try to put them in his tower. This is my funny story for this puzzle.

The aim of this puzzle is to place ten piece inside the frame. For this puzzle I am inspired from “Campanile” of Naefspiele.  I made my own design. My design is different then campanile. Pieces are different and in my design the center of the frame is empty. According to my computer analysis campanile has 256 solution and this puzzle has 56 solution.

For making this puzzle I used 20x20x20 mm ready beech stocks and my hand miter saw as usual. I painted frame with colored varnish for a better appearance. If you have possibilities you can use different woods for frame and puzzle pieces. Puzzle pieces are here,

Architect's dilemma puzzle pcs

The only part difficult to make of this puzzle is the frame. I prepared a document for making your own puzzle with craft tips. If you want make your own puzzle you can preview or download my free PDF file including craft tips and solution from here (0.6 MB on secure server box.com)

Japanese puzzle box

Japanese puzzle box

This is my small Japanese puzzle box. A lot of people look for Japanese puzzle box plans with detailed instructions. Unfortunately Japanese puzzle boxes aren’t beginner projects. All of them are difficult to make because they require a precise work and they have a lot of parts. This box is one of the most simple Japanese puzzle box. For this reason I decided to prepare a document with plans and instructions.

This puzzle box has four removable sliding panel and a box frame. Box frame contains box compartment and top, bottom pieces. You can open or close the box by moving each panel one by one in turn. According to computer analysis this box opens with 10 -12 move but after 8 move this box became open. I prepared my document for a 12Tx12Tx12T box. All dimensions are according to material thickness. If you use a 5 mm thick wood you will obtain a 60x60x60 mm box. If you want you can change dimensions of this box and make some rectangular box for dimensions that you wish. If you want make your own puzzle box you can preview or download free PDF file with plans and instructions from here (1,2 MB on box.com secure server)

The box mechanic is same with the “Modified Matchbox” design of Bruce Viney. You can visit his website. You can see his art works and find some useful information about making puzzle boxes. You can download some free plans for beginners, or if you have experience about making puzzle boxes you can buy more complex box plans for very low prices.. You can read also experiences of Brian Pletcher about making his first puzzle box.

After making a cube puzzle box, you can make anything that you wish . I made my old movie camera puzzle box with this cube. A cube with clock , thermometer and barometer, cute robots, an old TV or radio are some ideas.

After sharing this puzzle box project in this blog, a puzzle friend Mr. Peter Stranks send me a spread sheet for calculating box dimensions as you wish. You enter wood thickness and additional dimension that you wish to add to 12T and you obtain easily all dimensions. Thanks from here to Mr.Stranks for this spreadsheet and for sharing this with us. If you want you can download this spreadsheet from here and you can make easily your custom dimension boxes. (12.5 KB on secure server box.com)

Half cubes

Half cubes puzzle

This puzzle pieces are made by joining half cubes. I guess original idea belongs to Toshiaki Betsumiya. He was designed Gemini puzzle for Naef spiegel AG. This company has very nice products. You can see some of their other puzzles fom Rob’s puzzle page. Gemini puzzle is aiming to make a 4x4x5 block fom a mathematical set made by joining half cubes. After Stewart

Coffin was designed “Split cube”. He was designed a 4x4x4 cube by using some pieces of this mathematical set.

And lastly I designed my own puzzle “Half cubes” by using some other pieces of this mathematical set. This puzzle has four solution. Puzzle pieces are here,

Half cube puzzle pieces

For making this puzzle you must cut 16 half cube. For this purpose I used a 40×20 mm ready stock and I cut 40x40x20 mm pieces with my hand miter saw. If you glue first 7 th pieces (bottom line third piece) you can use this piece as a jig for gluing other pieces. Another easy to make and difficult to solve puzzle. If you need solution you can preview or download this free PDF file including pieces photos and solution from here. ( 0.3 MB on secure server box.com)

Wooden knot 1

Wooden knot puzzle

This is a well known 3 pieces wooden puzzle. This puzzle was published in a article by Jerry Slocum. Unfortunately this puzzle was difficult to make. Because most of the dimensions are related with material thickness and if you don’t have a thickness planer finding the right material was difficult. I decided to make a parametric design according to material thickness.

Wooden knot puzzle pieces

You can calculate your dimensions easily according to your material. I made mine from pine but I advise using a hard wood between 18 – 25 mm. (3/4 ” – 1″).  You can cut holes easily with a scroll saw or a hand jewelry saw. If you want you can make pieces longer or you can change their end shape. You can make rounded ends etc. This puzzle isn’t very difficult to solve but push you to think, for this reason I like this puzzle.

Mini tugboat box

Mini tugboat puzzle box

This is a very small puzzle box. Total length is 75 mm (about 3 inch). My sister simplified my tugboat box design and made this from workshop scraps with a jewelry hand saw. Very small, may be used as a box for small ear rings. She used two type of wood. Mahogany and beech. Here I will not share detailed instructions for making this box. You can find instructions from my “Tugboat box project”. This is a simple project. You can find your dimensions according to your materials. But as a reference I prepared a drawing for this box with dimensions. Drawings are 1:1 scale. If you want you can use them as cutting and drilling template. You can preview or download free PDF file including drawings for this box from here (0.4 MB on secure server box.com)

Bottle safe

Bottle safe puzzle


This puzzle is my craft. I made this puzzle for a Coca-Cola bottle. The bottle is the imitation of the first Coca-Cola bottle (1899) produced for 125. anniversary of the company. This puzzle is inspired from well known wine glass puzzles. The aim of this puzzle is solving the disentanglement puzzle at the left, taking the key and opening the padlock at the right. This is a very easy mechanical puzzle to solve. But I made it as a decorative coffee table puzzle for my bottle. I used two kind of wood. The base is white pine, and other parts are a kind of beech. Finally I made an oil finish.

This puzzle is different. The upper dowel is fixed and on the middle part there is a slot. For
removing the bottle you must shift the middle part, but you can’t remove it completely from the assembly. If you want make your own bottle safe puzzle I prepared a file that contains detailed instructions, dimensions, drawings photos etc. You can download or preview this free PDF file from here (1.2 MB on secure server box.com) 

City square

City square puzzle

This small village has only four houses. But unfortunately there isn’t a square. Can you make a square by using this four piece ? The aim of this puzzle is to make a square with this four piece. I designed this puzzle yesterday. After drawing on my computer, I went to my workshop and I found some scrap woods. I made this puzzle from 6 mm mahogany. I cut pieces with a hand miter saw and hand scroll saw in one hour. Puzzle pieces are very small. Each piece is about 50×60 mm. You can cut from any material that you wish with a scroll saw or you can make a laser cut version. This puzzle hasn’t a replay value but you can put pieces in your pocket and have fun with friends. I added to Pdf file also a print and play version. Experienced puzzle enthousiasts can solve this puzzle from picture. Solution is on the last page of the PDF file.

If you want make your own puzzle you can preview or download free PDF file including scroll saw pattern to cut, print and play version and solution from here (0.3 Mb on secure server box.com)

If you want make a laser cut version asci dxf file (you can convert to other file formats)  is here. Red lines are for decoration and white lines for cutting.

The whale puzzle

Jonah and the whale puzzle

This puzzle was designed by Carl Hird-Rutter and was published in the Fall 2006 issue #24 of “Scrollsaw” magazine. Normally I am not interesting with jigsaw puzzles. But this puzzle is interlocking. You must remove the eye for dismounting. I made it from 20×20 mm ready stock and it’s small as a key chain puzzle. I didn’t made the third cut shown on the puzzle plane and I made a small modification on the tail. I cut this one with a hand scroll saw.  I made this puzzle according to a free pdf file published in the web site of this magazine. But unfortunately they removed this file from their web site. If you want make your own whale puzzle you can find cutting pattern from here. For this puzzle you must use a square ready stock. You can scale and print this pattern according to your stock size. Top side of pattern show top view and first cut and bottom side of the pattern is side view and second cut. My eye piece is a thin 3 mm ready stock. You can drill eye piece and cut mouth first. Here there are some step by step instructions for making this puzzle. I didn’t made third cut for obtaining a small Jonah. This is your choice.

Jags and hooks

Jags and hooks puzzle

This is an eight piece puzzle. Four piece is tetramino “L” and other four pieces pentomino “Z”.  according an article this puzzle is the earliest rectangular puzzle formed from polyominoes. There are different problems for this puzzle.

1 The aim of the puzzle is making a 6×6 rectangle. This problem has only one solution.
2 You can make also an 3x3x3 cube by using only 3L and and 3Z piece. This problem also has one solution.
3 You can make a 4×9 rectangle. 1 solution again.
4 You can make a 3x3x4 block. this problem has 13 different solution. You can try to find all of them.
5 You can also find different shapes for this parts and make your own booklet.

A very easy puzzle to make and with different problems it is nice to play.