Grooved 6 Board Burr #2 – Junichi Yananose

Here we go again! This time with Grooved 6 Board Burr #2

This one is supposed to be much easier than the first. We shall see!

It’s a beaut Clark, a beaut!

Before we begin, I have to talk about the beauty of this thing. It’s incredible. Constructed of Bubinga and European Beech, it is much heavier than the first and in my opinion, is even better looking. The Bubinga has a wonderful wood grain throughout and it is nicely contrasted by the lighter, yellowish Beech. Also of note is the lack of visible grooves and pins. They are still in there, you just can’t see them without moving pieces around. I love this concept – the idea of creating a simple looking puzzle that hides all the intricacies internally that are only revealed through manipulation. There’s no way to plan ahead with this puzzle, you have to start solving in order to learn how to solve it. Very cool.

The description includes “..but we believe that many burr puzzle lovers can assemble the puzzle without any clue.” Challenge accepted! With the previous puzzle, I utilized stickers and photos for reassembly. This time, I’m going to give it a shot without those aids. Wish me luck!

As with the first puzzle in the series, this one is a joy to hold and manipulate. The pieces slide easily and the heavy nature of the wood makes for solid sounding “thunks” and “claps” as the pieces are pushed and pulled. 

Wow. First impressions – I’m stunned. This puzzle isn’t what I expected. There seem to be numerous ‘half-moves’ involved and the puzzle quickly becomes a little loosey goosey and that makes it hard to keep track of what the heck I’m doing. I like to backtrack often in order to keep an idea of where I’m at with a puzzle, but I’m having a hard time doing that here, so I have just pushed forward.

I soon found a move where I thought that pieces would come out, but at the last second, they stopped and I wasn’t able to remove them after all. Super fun and exciting, but slightly intimidating. 

After this, I once again decided to return the puzzle to the original state. The next day, I set about again and could only get about 6 or so moves in. I couldn’t seem to find the move that I completed the previous day. I became rather frustrated as I knew this move was so close, but I just couldn’t unlock it! Gahh!

Well, eventually I found it and it was again thrilling to see the pieces slide all the way to the edge without coming out. What the heck was holding it together? I reworked this move a few times and eventually discovered what I had been doing wrong. Now that I was familiar with these moves, I decided to press on again.

Pieces sliding way out! Close, but no cigar!

This led to more interesting moves – there are a number of times with this puzzle where a series of micro-moves are required. It is great fun, but hard for my brain to comprehend. At last I came to a configuration that once again felt like pieces could fall out and sure enough a piece dropped out the bottom while I was holding it. Had I solved it? Was this the intended solution?

It’s hard to say, by my count, I was only about 19 moves in and Juno’s description says 25 to get the first piece out. Hmm. So, I put the piece back in to check for more moves. Sure enough, I found a couple more of those micro-moves that allowed me to remove the first piece in a much more elegant manner. Ta Da! 

Fun, Fun Fun! What a very cool puzzle. The inner workings of this puzzle are a wonder to behold! And to my surprise, 2 of the pieces were complete rings, with no grooves or pins at all! Juno has done it again!

Look at those amazing boards!

Now, the question remains, Can I reassemble this thing without relying on my notes or photographs? I’m going to come back in a day to let the memory of the positioning and movement fade a bit and see if I can do it!

Ok, let’s see if we can do this. How hard can it be? Looking at the pieces, it is fairly obvious as to how it should go together. There’s only 2 boards that have pins. And there’s also only 2 boards that have grooves. It’s also fairly obvious which pin board goes with which groove board, so now all I have to do is actually assemble the shape.

So far, assembly isn’t going too well. I am quite sure I know which pieces fit where, but at present, they won’t go back together. I’m going to keep at it for an hour or so and see if I can make some progress, but so far, no luck. 

Holy crap I did it! With enough tinkering and guesswork, I finally figured out the arrangement necessary to put it back together. I got some strange looks from my family (and dog) as I was shouting “Yes! YES! YEEESSSS!” but it was certainly worth it. Really, it wasn’t that difficult, I already knew which piece had to go together and I was pretty sure about their orientation, it was just a matter of figuring out how to get them together. In truth, the pins and channels guided the way. I extended the board pairs to their maximum – essentially putting the pins at the end of their grooves and then tried to assemble the thing. Pretty quickly I knew I was on the right track and in fact the assembly went together rather quickly from this point. 

Overall, another fantastic puzzle. Definitely way easier than #1 and I’d say this puzzle is even approachable to folks who are new to puzzles.

Two down, 4 to go!

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