Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Christmas wishes and thanks


Limited edition burr puzzles from Mr Puzzle
My good friend Roxanne posted some time ago her Christmas wish list for her puzzling year. Primarily she was hoping to chase down some bargains from the amazing puzzle sculptor Miguel Berrocal. At the end of her post, in the comment section, I added my own wishes for the next puzzling year:

"My wish? Just for the designers to keep on designing, the fabulous craftsmen to keep making me beautiful toys and for those wonderful men in China to keep manufacturing more and more amazing twisties!

I too would like to meet a few more people - hopefully next year I will get to the German and Dutch cube days to meet some people I only know by email. Japan's IPP is probably going to be out of my reach but the year after in Europe? Here's hoping I get nominated/invited."

I have now been blogging for about 2 years now and have met (in real life and virtually) some fantastic people. They are generous with their skills, their knowledge and their time and I have tried to live up to their expectations. I have tried to do this by introducing as many others to the wonderful world of puzzles as I can and to let them play with my own collection to get a taste of what can be done, a few of them have become as hooked as me and I continue to help and encourage them in their solving and collection.

Via this blog, I have been contacted by and made good friends with, puzzlers (both novices and experienced) from all over the globe who speak many different languages. Some have asked for advice on what to buy and I have aimed to help them on their journey (my post on Twisties for beginners was the result of one such series of emails). Equally, some of my friends have encouraged me to start making my own puzzles and have even sent me various pieces with which to start (I will especially be eternally grateful to Felix for all his help). Some have offered advice on tools and craftsmanship. Other friends have offered their time and experience to teach me techniques I can use to solve new puzzles.

I am now in contact with many many craftsmen from all over the world, all of whom are very generous with their time and I have acquired a lot of fabulously beautiful pieces of art as a result of these communications. Yes! The workmanship in many of my puzzles is such that they should be considered works of art - many of my non-puzzling friends who I bore to death with pictures on my phone or on Facebook also tell me that they are really beautiful.

So, as you can see, it's not just about the puzzle, it's the people in this community who make the whole process much more exciting for me and I hope to meet a few more in the flesh next year.

What avaricious wishes do I have? Well I would like to have the complete set of limited edition burr puzzles from Brian Young aka Mr Puzzle. Those are the ones pictured at the top of this post. Brian's work is spectacular and having bought his Opening bat puzzle, I know I cannot resist any of the other limited editions! I do plan on writing a review of it soon!

I would also like some "man tools" as Rox puts it, to help me make something for myself. I am considering the Proxxon modelling range including planer thicknesser, table saw, disk sander and table router as well as some nice hand tools. If any of you have any more suggestions or criticisms of this equipment then do let me know.

Proxxon "Man" tools
Finally my Christmas wish is really to say a big thank you to my lovely wife (of 18 years) for putting up with me and my new obsession whilst I have spent every waking moment thinking about puzzles, solving puzzles or buying puzzles! As many of my colleagues say, she is an absolute saint for putting up with it! I sort of agree with them BUT she has decided that if I can "collect" puzzles, then she can "collect" Mulberry handbags - and over the last few years she has worked really hard on increasing that collection (so you see - she is making me pay for my habit very dearly!)

16 comments:

  1. Merry Christmas Kevin and Sandra - may your 2013 be filled with bags and twisty things! (Make of that what you will!) - allard

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    1. A Merry Christmas to you and Gill, Allard. Thank you for all the help and advice this year. Thanks also for your help acquiring some puzzles this year.

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  2. Hi Kevin, Merry Christmas to you and the wifey! And many thanks for all the advice and tips you have given me over the last one and a half years since I started collecting puzzles and blogging.

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    1. Hi Jerry, Merry Christmas to you to and to your and family. I am sure your little girl will be very excited today. You are definitely one of those who's communications I have come to treasure. Both via the blog and also our own email conversations. Absolute proof of how helpful and friendly and puzzle people are.

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  3. Merry Christmas Kevin, I hope you find 2013 as puzzling as 2012?! Good luck with the wish list/buying schedule.

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    1. Thank you Mhuti. I hope you have a great Xmas and a puzzling 2013!

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  4. Merry Christmas, Kevin. I wholeheartedly agree with your observation that, "...it's not just about the puzzle, it's the people in this community who make the whole process much more exciting for me...". Bloggers and video makers and people who are willing to share what they know are the ambassadors and the future of this hobby. When I think of all the wonderful puzzles and the excellent surprises in 2012, I can only marvel at what is in store for 2013.

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    1. Merry Christmas Pete, you are right, the community is the best part.
      As for 2013? SuperAntonioVivaldi just showed us the first puzzle for next year:
      The 5x6x7 cuboid - I'm drooling over it already!

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    2. Strongly recommend "real" woodworking tools. Those hobby ones aren't going to get you too far.

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    3. I'm flattered that you read my blog, Eric!

      I don't have much space and don't intend to make anything large like furniture so what do you think is wrong with the Proxxon tools?

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  5. Nothing "wrong" with them per-se, it's just that accuracy is a function of smoothness, rigidity and repeatability...all of which are to some extent a function of mass.
    All things being equal, a more massively built tool will generally be more accurate than a lighter one. Also, deflection is a function of rigidity and load. More lightly built tools will be under more strain making a cut that a larger tool will complete with ease, and you will likely see some deflection.
    I have my doubts that you will be able to obtain the required accuracy on a repeatable basis using such light tools. Nothing wrong with them but they're built for 1/4" balsa, not 3/4" bubinga.
    You can get a basic contractors saw without wings, a benchtop jointer/planer from delta and be well ahead of the game yet still very compact.

    P.S. I'm flattered you review my work ;-)

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    1. Thanks Eric, you've given me a lot to think about. I'll have to look about for some other compact yet still "massive" equipment. I have a friend who is a qualified ambient maker. He should be able to help me find something more appropriate!

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  6. Merry Christmas Kevin! May the current Mrs. S. get all the handbags she needs and all the shoes she wants. And may you get a toy or two for those nights she can't stand the jingling anymore.

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    1. Thanks Rox,
      I'll take one or two of those Stickman puzzles you just mentioned on your blog. And possibly a Berrocal too! Just need to win the lottery!

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  7. Replies
    1. Thank you! A lot has passed since then!

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