Saturday 19 March 2011

Bill Cutler's Wausau '83

The other part of my package from Bill Cutler is one of his special rectilinear burrs. These are part of a series of a series of 4 burr  puzzles which he designed to be difficult to dismantle. On his site, Bill claims that the '83 is the "best" of them. Since I am rapidly bankrupting myself I could only have 1 and it had better be the best! I really really want the cube but at $500 I can't afford it!

On arrival, I have to say that Jerry has done a stunning job with the manufacture. It is one of the most attractive wooden puzzles I have ever seen! My picture doesn't really do it justice. I sat and admired it for a few days whilst I played with some of my other new toys and finally had the courage to tackle it last night. Oh boy! Dismantling this took some doing - it requires 11 moves to remove the first piece. It took me about 20 minutes to find the exact sequence and work out what Bill has done (I also kept going back and forth to ensure I remembered what to do). The 2nd piece needed a further 3 moves and then 2 more for the 3rd piece.

I went back and forth like this for a while and then noticed that the rest would quite easily dismantle from there. My plan (as with the Computer's choice unique 10) was to take time to work out how the remaining structure was constructed before total dismemberment. Then a cat jumped on my lap and crash it fell apart!!
Here are the pieces:

It took me the best part of 2 hours to get the puzzle back together - it comes with instructions, but I wanted to try to do it without them this time. It should be possible with this particular burr because I had had enough of a look at it before the cat-attack and because the basic structure is fairly straight-forward.

I had also been planning on modelling it in Burrtools too but some of the pieces have partial thickness cuts, which I really don't know how to model in the application. If anyone has any ideas about this then please let me know.

I must say that I think that this particular burr is a wonder to behold and a very satisfying puzzle to take apart and put together. I may try to make a YouTube video of it if I can work out how to do that with my little point & shoot camera.

When I mentioned to my wife that I need to buy a dSLR to take photos and videos of my puzzle collection she gave me the laser burning look and I lost all power to move/think/puzzle for at least 10 minutes! I will probably shelve that idea for a while!!!


  1. When working with Burr Tools, remember that a single cube is the smallest object you can represent. So rather than thinking of a partial thickness cut, make that your full thickness. Everything else is just a multiple of that size.

  2. Thanks Neil, I worked that out today. Have a very nice solution set now from burrtools. Still trying to work out how to get printouts from it (difficult to change the view angle of the puzzle printed and not possible to print out anything other than solution number 1)