Saturday 21 May 2011

Eric Fuller's Kindness and 3 Sticks Trapped

Eric Fuller Puzzles
Some months ago I contacted Eric Fuller at Cubic Dissection to ensure that when he had new puzzles for sale I would receive one of his automated notices. I was duly informed that I was added to the email list and waited with baited breath - the quality of his work is supposed to be superb. I then found out via the revomaze forums that his sale had started at 11pm and everything had sold out in about 6 hours - it was almost all gone by the time I realised. Somewhat disappointed (but philosophical about it) I contacted Eric to see what had happened with his email list. It transpired that he had had a software failure a while back and my email address had not actually been added to the list. He assured me that it was now all sorted for the next time. During a flurry of quite entertaining emails (did you know that he began his puzzle-making on the kitchen table with a mitre saw and some chisels?) he said that when he had sent everything out to the successful purchasers he would see whether he had any of the ones I wanted left.

After a few days he got back to me to say that he had the 3 puzzles by Stephane Chomine still available. They are 3 Sticks Trapped, 4 in 2, and 5 piece 28. Of course I immediately said yes and he posted them off to me.

Before you all start hounding him - I suspect that these were ones he was planning on keeping for his personal collection and he sold them to me because he felt sorry for me (he even offered to absorb some of the PayPal fee! Which I refused).

Thank you so much Eric, I really appreciate it.

About a week later they arrived and as expected they are stunning - I was very surprised and delighted to find that he had thrown in the acrylic Lattice puzzle too!!! Thank you again Eric.

I have never seen a boxed burr puzzle before and was rather nervous that not being able to see what was happening inside I would struggle. Eric had been looking around the Puzzle will be played site (Ishino) and seen some designs by Chomine (who has been very busy!!) and asked permission to make some. I started off my new puzzles with the 3 Sticks Trapped puzzle.

3 Sticks Trapped
Made from Walnut and Yellowheart woods, it only has the 4 pieces and looks really simple but is actually quite a high level burr (it has a 12.6.8 solution!). It is nicely compact and beautifully made. The pieces are quite loose which means you need to keep careful control of what moves. There are a few blind ends in the solution and to get the first piece out an interesting movement is required to overlap 2 of the pieces and swap their positions. All in all it took me about 30 minutes to solve it and I was very careful to take note of orientation and position for reassembly. I still get lost during the reassembly but then, I'm known for not being terribly bright!

3 Sticks Trapped Pieces
Looking at the disassembled puzzle it is quite clear that Eric has moved on from the simple tools on the kitchen table - he is clearly a master craftsman and I am very proud to own some of his puzzles. I have no doubt that I will be buying more when they become available.

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