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In the mid 70's I produced a line of wooden puzzles which I sold at the Mendocino Art Center Fair. The basic joint, 6 pieces, three parallel pairs intersecting along three orthogonal axis, came to me in a dream. Years later, I found this basic joint in a Japanese puzzle book. I made these puzzles out of several woods, my favorite being Madrone, a Northern California hardwood, with a beautiful color and a satin smooth finish. I was very excited about producing all these puzzles, but was disappointed by the reaction of the general public at the Fair. Several people went out of their way to come up and tell me that the HATED puzzles! While I did sell a few, this was not the lucrative product I had been hoping for.


This is the basic 6 piece joint. I had the sheets shown here printed up as a set of directions for how to assemble each puzzle.

The 12 piece puzzle is the same joint with four parallel pieces in each axis.

Here is one made in Black Walnut.

And a detail..

The 24 piece version was based on a cube, where each of the eight verticies is a 6 piece joint. In this puzzle, 5 pieces had to be moved before a single piece could be removed.

Here is one made in Madrone.

And a detail.

The most elaborate puzzle I made was 30 pieces, which was a 24 piece puzzle, expanded with an open area between the intersecting joints. This area was filled with a thin plywood panel, making a box, with the puzzle for a lock. Again, 5 pieces had to be moved before the first piece could be removed, allowing one panel of the box to be opened.