Saturday 7 January 2012

Rattle Box - Eric Fuller and Tom Jolly

Rattle Cube
I do apologise for missing my usual midweek post. Back to work after the holidays and very busy!! I will try to keep my usual pace. This morning I decided to have a go at the Rattle box. I have spent most of the last week playing with the orange revomaze and am completely stuck - I cannot seem to get passed an early part (others seem to have stumbled through fairly easily without understanding what they had done). Unfortunately the stumbling through isn't happening for me! I have also looked at the gold revomaze but it requires one to solve an "algorithm" or series of verbal clues. I am completely useless at riddles and the clues mean absolutely nothing to me whatsoever, so after discovering a little about the rather complex internals of the gold, I have put it down too.

This left me needing another puzzle to review for you, so I picked up one that I had "kept for later". The Rattlebox was designed by Tom Jolly and the craftsman who made it was one of my favourites, Eric Fuller. Eric placed a few goodies up for sale on his site on Dec 11th and sent out his customary email notification. These emails always reach me in the middle of the night and by the time I wake up and see them, a lot of the stuff has gone. Luckily this time the batches of puzzles were quite large and there was a fair bit left. I ordered 2 pieces and they arrived on 23rd December (A Christmas present from me to me!!!)

This one is made from some exotic hardwoods - Quilted Ambrosia Maple, Leopardwood, Paduak, Walnut and Canarywood. Eric is "pleased" with how they turned out!! I should hope so! It is ABSOLUTELY STUNNING, apparently there are more than 15,000 bevels in the run of puzzles. I for one am delighted with the workmanship in this puzzle as well as the solvability. It is a great size - 3" cubed.

Small cube - signed & dated
It is a 5x5 cube shell with a hollow interior. Inside the cube is another 2x2 cube, with a single unit missing. This inner cube moves around - hence the name Rattle cube. Eric states:
"The internal cube interacts with the shell in a maddening way, interfering with what should be a straightforward disassembly. There's even dead ends and false solutions. The large hole in the shell is there so you can poke your finger in and manipulate the inner piece. VERY fun design, and pretty tricky as well."

Eric is absolutely correct - it is absolutely maddening. The first move is really easy but then you can do nothing else because the small cube blocks you.

Easy 1st move
Poking your finger through the hole allows you to move and rotate the small cube around. You need to work out where to place it to allow any subsequent moves. This is not easy. I think it took me about 45 minutes to get to the next move! After this you need to discover the series of sliding movements that will allow the remainder of the puzzle to come apart. This is not hugely difficult but there are a few blind ends. When it does come apart you do get to appreciate the beauty of all the different woods that Eric used and the tremendous accuracy of the construction.

Rattle box pieces in all their glory!
Thank you Eric (and Tom) for this puzzle - even the long suffering and rather indifferent Mrs S liked it!

I should also let all you puzzle freaks out there know that yesterday I have received a new wooden puzzle from Brian & Sue Young (Mr Puzzle) - the Collective, a 5 piece burr (Queensland silver ash) surrounded by a 24 piece framed burr (Queensland blackbean). It is really lovely and apparently very difficult. I will let you know when I have finished - If I manage it!!!

The Collective - Mr Puzzle

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