Sunday 26 October 2014

Cubic loveliness - a great investment?

My last 2 cubic lovelies!
Eric Fuller has, over the last few years, managed to obtain a fairly large part of my savings! He can be found at 2 places on the internet - his puzzle shop & his own hosted auction site (next auction due in Feb 2015). He's one of very few full time puzzle makers in the world and seems to make a pretty decent living at it. In fact he's done such good business (not all from me) that he has managed to employ an assistant to help in the workshop. Over the last year or so, prices have risen (due to the increased cost of wood and cost of living) but I still keep coming back and buying more. The only thing that has changed is that I only buy 2 or 3 puzzles each time instead of the usual 5 or 6! I attempted to buy 3 items last time and lost one by having it snatched from my basket just as I was entering my purchase details so ended up with just the 2 lovely puzzles above.

But having watched the last auction at which quite a few of his older puzzles were sold from his own personal collection for absolutely staggering sums of money, I am beginning to wonder whether I should just buy everything that comes for sale straight away as an investment! The increase in value on most of his puzzles has been amazing and certainly would have made better returns than almost all of my other savings! The only problem with that approach (pointed out by my wife, I might add) is that in order to cash in on my collection, I'd need to actually sell something! This is a something that leaves me in a cold sweat at just the mere thought of it!

Sunday 19 October 2014

Cast Ring II

Cast Ring II
Having recovered from yesterday's horrendous rota writing episode and completed today's DIY chores, it is now time for a puzzle review - again, one of the more affordable puzzles. Today it is another from my Hanayama stash, the Cast ring II. I do not own the Cast Ring I and chose this one because of the high difficulty rating - it is level 9 (Gruelling) on the Puzzle Master scale and a 5 out of 6 from Hanayama.

As with all the others, it arrived in the lovely black Hanayama packaging and when I picked it up I realised that "ring" is a bit of a misnomer! I had not really looked at the full description on the product page and did not see the size. This is only a ring in terms of shape - you are NEVER going to be wearing this on your finger! It is enormous! The dimensions are 4.4 x 3.9 x 1.5 cm making this even bigger than your thumb but not big enough to be worn by a girl as a bracelet (Rox wore a fabulous huge Oskar 3D printed puzzle ring as a bracelet at the IPP - to the right is a photo of it on Oskar's table at IPP). I noticed that as soon as I took it off the backing card that this puzzle is extremely unstable - it just wants to spring apart. I therefore kept one of the wire ties on it for storage and photography purposes.

Quite a size disparity!
This is the 3rd puzzle ring in my collection. I have a 6 band gold one which I seldom wear but play with intermittently to keep my memory up to date. Many puzzle rings on the market are based on a similar mechanism of interlocking and it is useful to be able to do them for the occasional time when confronted by exasperated friends and colleagues who have a similar ring but cannot reassemble it. Over the years I must have done 15 or so for people! The other is a jigsaw ring in 3 colours of gold designed by the amazing Danish Jeweller, Georg Jensen. It is not in any way puzzling but I have been told many times by colleagues that it is wholly appropriate that I should wear it. This is my preferred ring to wear because it was bought for me by the present Mrs S (doing OK for a first wife!) for our 10th anniversary - she received something equivalent with diamonds in!

Saturday 18 October 2014

Thank you thank you thank you!

Incredible numbers!
I am supposed to be writing the consultant on call rota today - this one includes Xmas and the New Year and is a bit of a nightmare! I am very easily distracted so I thought I would take a small break and post this screenshot from my phone!

I cannot believe that so many of you read my rubbish and keep coming back! I don't think that it is all due to my mother as she really doesn't approve of my puzzle fetish!

Yesterday I passed the 400,000 page view mark! Thank you everyone for visiting and keeping me going!

Sunday 12 October 2014

Traiphum's Tetrahedral Terror plus Torturing the Mother-in-law!

Three tetrahedra from Traiphum
This will need to be a fairly short blog post this week - my in-laws arrived on Thursday and I have had very little time to myself for writing or puzzling and if I try then I get the evil eye/laser-burning stare from the present ogre erm wife! The girls have just gone out for coffee and shopping (God help me!!) and left the boys at home. The "old boy" has felt the need for a lie down in the afternoon so I have some time for a quickee!

This post is another post about a special twisty puzzle which I have owned for quite a few months and as yet have singularly failed to solve since receiving it in March this year! Traiphum is a master twisty puzzle modder (probably the best in the world) and I have bought quite a few puzzles from him over the last few years and love them all! They are not cheap but the quality is truly amazing - if you do choose to buy from him then you will not be disappointed. He can be easily contacted via his Facebook page or through the Twisty Puzzles forum private messaging service. His specialty is to convert one particular shape of puzzle into another. In the picture at the top of the post are 3 cubes which he has carved and smoothed into perfectly formed Reuleaux tetrahedra. On the left is a 4x4 cube (Megamorphinx) and on the right is a 5x5 (Ultramorphinx) and I hope one day to be able to get a Hexamorphinx too. In the middle is my nemesis!

Sunday 5 October 2014

Cast Heart

Cast Heart
Back to review another less expensive puzzle from my collection. My hoard from Puzzle Master is getting really small now and I guess it might be time to place another order again soon! I can't possibly allow myself to run out of small shiny things to play with and with which to taunt my colleagues!

This time we have the Cast Heart from Hanayama which is quite different from the other fun heart-shaped puzzle they make (the Cast Amour) which I reviewed here. This is another very attractive one in shiny silver and gold coloured metals with a gold linked chain wound through the various parts. The aim is simply to separate the 2 hearts and like all good things to do with "the heart" this should not be easy. The difficulty rating for this one is 4 in the Hanayama 6 point scale or 8 (Demanding) in Puzzle Master's 5-10 point scale. It looks absolutely stunning in the classic Hanayama black box with the twisty ties holding everything in place against a card backing plate. Unfortunately when released from the packaging it does tend to slop about quite a lot and not look quite so nice. Plus these shiny metal finishes show off fingerprints rather badly (I had to polish it a fair bit before taking the photos). It is a decent size (quite a bit bigger that the Cast Amour) at 6.3 x 6.3 x 0.5cm. It does look quite nice from the back too so here's a pic:

Cast Heart rear face
This puzzle has received three 4 and 5 star reviews on the Puzzle Master product page and it has also been favourably reviewed by Gabriel here - he found it quite challenging and by Brian here - he found it a small challenge at that early stage in his puzzling career.