Sunday 6 December 2020

Did I Need Yet Another New Burr Set?

That will be a definite.....YES! 

DDD Burr set box
DDD Burr set interior and pieces
First of all, before I start my usual drivel, let me advertise my friend Steve's new blog home - Boxes and Booze has moved from Blogger to Squarespace and he now has his very own domain name and a gorgeous new site hosted at Like a lot of us who have been forced to use the awful new Blogger post editor from Google and hate it, Steve has sought an alternative that is less dreadful and seems to have found it. Unlike a lot of us, he has actually got off his arse and done the work to move platforms. Go over there, bookmark the site and enjoy his particular brand of puzzling alcoholic fun. Now if only I had the courage to attempt to migrate nearly 10 years of blogging across....

On to today's subject matter. Yes, it's yet another burr set! Did I need another one? Mrs S definitely asked that when it turned up - of course I would never let her know when it went up for sale. I NEVER let her know when I am actually in the process of buying new toys, that sort of thing is on a strictly "need to know basis" and she doesn't. The only thing she needs to know is when to answer the door to the postman, UPSman, FedExman, Yodelman etc. Sorry dear... Whack! Ouch! Oops! 

How many do I have? Shuffles feet, looks down sheepishly. Then runs upstairs to get them and take a lovely photograph:

Erm, I seem to have 6 of them.
I appear to be rather addicted to sets of puzzles - with all of these I have enough challenges to last me a lifetime but still I never say no to more of them. Whack! Ouch! The latest addition to my collection which I have only just begun to play with is the DDD burr set from Eric Fuller in a collaboration with by Darryl Adams and Bryan Turner. It was described as:

"In the 1970s, Bill Cutler published a complete summary of the solid 6-piece burrs that could be formed from “notchable” pieces. He presented a set of 42 pieces that would make all 314 solid, notchable puzzles. I wanted a smaller set. One that was easy to make (notchable) and also allows enough interesting puzzles to guide a user through puzzles of increasing difficulty. I call this set “DDD” for “Darryl’s Dense Dozen” (or to my kids, “Dad’s Dense Dozen”). The set is “dense” in that it makes a lot of puzzles:

There are 24 solid puzzles 

There are 530 total puzzles (the additional 506 have empty hidden holes)

There are 42 puzzles with only one solution"

Whilst I already have the pieces separately that are in this set, I really wanted a very small portable set and also thought it would be nice to have a metal set of burr sticks so that I needn't be worried about damage. They produced a brass set with a gorgeous Leopardwood box and a slightly cheaper Aluminium set with a Padauk box which I chose to prove to Mrs S that I didn't always buy the most expensive puzzles I could find Whack! Ouch! Plus, I have already bought quite a few Brass puzzles from Big Steve and Ali and am spending some time polishing them as I like my puzzles shiny rather than patinated. Oh yes, have you bought the Kong puzzle? If you haven't then you should get a copy before they sell out as they only made a few extras after their Kickstarter campaign finished.

Yet again, because of my workload I did not manage much puzzling time (I cannot wait until the whole population is vaccinated and we can work more normally) but did keep trying in desperation to have something to write about. I failed to solve the rest of the puzzles that had been left from last week's blog post and then singularly failed to solve any of the incredibly complex Grenade puzzles from Aaron Wang and needed to have some success in my life. Out came the DDD burr set and a few challenges which I was able to solve and which kept me happy for one more week.

Beautiful construction and really lovely aluminium burr sticks
I am usually terrible at assembly puzzles but for some reason, I was able to spend a few happy evenings dropping pieces on my cat's head and not disturbing him too much because the aluminium is quite light and the pieces are nice and small. So far I have only solved the puzzles that use the solid key piece (which is probably why I was successful) and have found it really quite relaxing - a change from the usual bwain-bending stuff I usually go for.

Hooray! I finally solved something!
This success may not continue as I work my way through the rest of the puzzles on the lid and the others in the pdf that Eric has supplied but I am happy that something has gone right for once.

Now, are you interested in Hex? I know that I am! If you are a certain age (like me) then you will remember a certain book from your childhood that your parents would definitely NOT let you read. I know I wasn't allowed to look at it - my parents let me drink alcohol instead! Big Steve and Ali (along with the genius that is Derek Bosch) have created a burr set with a difference that will take you back to those heady days of trying to sneak around and look at something you weren't supposed to. Yes, They have created a burr set based on hexagonal pieces - it's on the way to me as I type and Mrs S is really not impressed that it is large and weighs 3.8Kg (8.5Lbs). I plan on letting her loose and doing her worst to Steve and Ali when she next gets to meet them again.

Big brass Hex-set on its way to me.
Whack! Ouch! Sorry dear.
If you also need an extra and very different burr set then you probably should visit Twobrassmonkeys and buy a copy before they sell out.

Keep safe everyone - it is still very dangerous out there...especially if you are in the USA.


  1. I got the DDD burr set and haven’t even managed to solve the first one!! I need a solution!!

    1. Well done buying something beautiful and challenging! The first 6 challenges are really not too bad with the solid key piece - it just takes a bit of practice and some fiddling. If you are really stuck then it’s time to learn to use Burrtools.

    2. It’s my first go at burr puzzles. I know I’ll get there eventually!!

  2. Yes!!! Just managed the first one!!!

    1. Yessss! Well done! They are not easy but very satisfying and unlike other forms of Hex, there is no urge to sleep afterwards or light up a cigarette.