Sunday, 21 May 2017

Christoph's Burrlock is Amazing!

Burrlock E
The last update from Eric (aka the Doctor of wood) on Cubic Dissection caught me a bit by surprise - not the timing but the sheer number of absolutely ESSENTIAL purchases! I try (for financial reasons and to prevent discord with she who frightens the living Bejeezus out of me) to keep the number of puzzles arriving at once down as much as possible because I have sort of run out of space and she is getting fed up with the mess!!! Things are so bad that my desk is currently strewn with puzzles that I don't have anywhere to put away! Here's a quick snap:

Lord help me! Where am I going to put these?
When Eric did open his store I absolutely HAD to buy 4 puzzles - the voices told me to and they drowned out the buzzing disapproval from Mrs S. One of the puzzles that I really couldn't resist was the Burrlock E by Christoph Lohe - he makes absolutely fantastic designs that are not hugely high in level or enormously difficult but are just plain fun to play with and solve. He seems to pay special attention to the playability. I reviewed his Mimicry puzzle from Jakub's New Pelikan Workshop puzzles here - it was not a tremendously high level but was a fabulous challenge and great fun to solve. The Closed box was also a fantastic puzzle also produced by Jakub. So not only do I lurve the puzzles designed by Christoph, I also really like burrs that have an interesting shape - this one in the shape (and with the function) of a padlock particularly appealed to me. I had also enjoyed the Padlock burr from Eric and designed by Tim Alkema, so how could I possibly resist another one?

When the package arrived from Eric the first one I got out and played with had to be the Burrlock. Here's what Eric had to say about it:

"I've been in communication with Christoph for ages regarding these locks. This is design E; several earlier iterations were discarded because the solution was ruined by unintended rotational shortcuts. He kept at the design though, and I'm glad he did because he finally came up with a big winner! Burrlock E has two separate solutions depending on the orientation of the key. The vertical orientation is level 26 and the horizontal level 13 including rotations. A very fun, very challenging puzzle!"

The first thing that I had to say was that the quality of the workmanship was just stunning! Made from Honduran Mahogany, Ash and Bocote the finish is wonderful! The joints of the lock are reinforced with splines/slipfeathers and look tremendous as does the gorgeous wood used to make the key - I am just a sucker for wood:

The gorgeous Bocote key
Lovely splines
As I said above, the puzzles from Christoph are not massively complex - this one with the key vertically oriented has solution level 26.2.3.2.2 but the process of searching for it has just the right number of dead ends and you don't get lost easily. For true burr geniuses like Goetz, Aaron and others this will be very simple but still enjoyable. For mere mortals like me (and many of you) this will be a really fun experience!

Probably not difficult enough to use as a real lock!
Eric said that with the key placed horizontally within the puzzle the level for the first piece removal is 15 but I was unable to find the solution myself from scratch. Of course, a big part of the fun of these puzzles for me is the creation (and collection) of Burrtools files so when I entered the pieces and the two different outcomes I was surprised to see that they both were very similar with level 26 (total 26.3.3.2.2). Obviously BT does not detect rotations and maybe that is where the difference lies?

This puzzle is surprisingly still available and at a reduced price just now of $57.40. There are 5 left - go get it now....you won't be disappointed!



It's not only the Burrlock that is great!

I was very lucky to be able to be able to get a copy of another of Christoph's puzzles, the Oktoberfest. This one was also a wonderful challenge as well:

Oktoberfest
The puzzle is a 6 piece board burr but made with 6 identical boards (which I didn't know at the time). It was made by Jakub again quite a while ago and will not be up for sale in the future - it is another delight by Christoph and reinforces that when any of the craftsmen make something by him I will just buy it with no questions asked! I really enjoyed exploring it and was astounded when it came apart to find that all pieces were identical:

Incredible design!
Having spent several evening working on the disassembly and getting lost at one point, I was even able to manage the reassembly without too much difficulty! I cannot wait for more puzzles by him to come out!


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