Sunday 21 August 2022

There's Plywood...

Not very nice is it?
And There's Juno's Plywood...

Now that is an absolutely gorgeous collection of different plywoods
I have solved all of them apart from one
I am working in the hospital this weekend and I have been home alone for a week as Mrs S is off up in Edinburgh visiting the outlaws and despite "her" absence I have struggled to play with much due to sheer volume of work and a large number of chores that have been left for me to do. However, I persevered and battled to have something for you. Phew! 

Now the dictionary definition of plywood is 
"a material manufactured from thin layers or 'plies' of wood veneer that are glued together with adjacent layers having their wood grain rotated up to 90 degrees to one another"

You can buy it at any builder's yard in large sheets and its not very nice stuff but strong and useful for making things. Juno always mentions that he makes his own to prevent the sheets of wood that he uses to make board burrs from losing their strength. But Juno doesn't make boring plain plywood, he makes his from wonderful beautiful hardwoods and supplements them with contacting dowels for extra strength. As a self confessed wood-junkie, I cannot get enough of it (as is plain to see). Today I will quickly discuss the latest of Juno's burr creations to reach my rather embarrassingly large collection - the Crooked 6 board burr #2 and the Partially crooked 6 board burr.

Crooked 6 board burr #2
Partially crooked 6 board burr
When they arrived, I couldn't tell which was which (I had actually bought them without reading the blurb on the shop page and had not even paid attention to what they looked like). I set them aside to play with the Card case (now sold out thanks to you, my patient readers). After last week's article I set to work on the Partially crooked burr - purely by chance rather than preference.

This one has plywood made from Fijian Mahogany and New Guinea Walnut - it is a stunning honey yellow colour with a contrasting middle layer that varies from silver to walnut brown - dimensions are 78mm along each axis. The puzzle is nicely tactile with nice chamfered edges and immediately has a few moves available. As soon as you move something you realise that there is something special about this - when a board slides, other boards move as well. This is very confusing and I found it really hard to visualise what was happening inside and keep track of what was going on. Despite that, it is a whole lot of fun.

The "partial" part of the name comes from the fact that only 3 of the six boards are crooked leaving the other 3 as standard boards - this apparently allows the level to be significantly higher than an all crooked board burr (I wonder whether that is why more of them have sold?) It didn't help me keep track of what was going where. After a few moves it does start to get a bit saggy in places and you need to be careful to prevent any inadvertent rotations. I quickly lost track of my path and realised that forward was going to be the only direction. In one single evening I quickly dropped a piece on the cat's head and he didn't even stir. The rest of the puzzle comes apart quite easily and I had the pieces for the photo.

3 crooked and 3 standard boards
Juno says that it should be possible to reassemble this from scratch with a little perseverance. Maybe a better puzzler can do it but there was no way that was going to be possible for me - I tried and failed (as usual). But, I was not terribly disappointed as I never expect to manage the reassembly and I have a lot of fun with Burrtools on the way.

Next up was the Crooked board burr #2 - made from Jarrah and Bubinga (sap wood) it is absolutely stunning and ever so slightly smaller at 74mm across. My initial exploration produced an OMG feeling. It is even more confusing than the other one and even more satisfying to play with because Juno has added magnets. I hadn't noticed when I picked it up but each move has a little resistance to it and when the boards get slid back into an adjacent position there is a nice feeling as it snaps into place. Again, I hadn't read the blurb and this came as a surprise to me. The OMG feeling continues as the presence of 6 crooked boards means it is incredibly confusing and it feels like things are not connected to each other properly. 

The disassembly took me only an hour but despite trying really hard to keep track of the moves and ensure that I would be able to reassemble from memory, I completely failed! I made a move (I think it was number 7 and a piece dropped out onto the cat again (he's remarkably tolerant and extremely keen on a lap) and when I tried to reinsert the piece and backtrack to the beginning, I couldn't manage it. I truly am rubbish! 
All 6 are crooked! 
Again, I had a fun time with Burrtools and have it back together again. I will try a few more times. Stepping through the BT moves, shows a very nice dance of the pieces around each other and it does actually look quite logical. I would be very interested to hear how others get on with it. I very much doubt that this can be assembled from scratch without having spent some time learning the position and moves. Again, I would very much like to hear if anyone can manage that!

These two burrs are still available as I write (10 of the partially crooked and 31 of the fully crooked). You won't be disappointed and if you like plywood then these will look gorgeous on display.

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