Porcupine brain teaser

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Project by Tooch posted 11-03-2015 03:43 AM 1386 views 7 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A friend of mine asked me to help her out with making these small “boxes” (loose interpretation, I know) for a conference coming up next week. The boxes will hold 13 nails each that are used for a teambuildibg activity. It’s an old brain teaser, where you try to balance as many nails as possible on the head of a single common nail. When balanced correctly, you can get all 12 nails to lay on top of the head of the main nail.

The actual build is fairly easy for these. I used some extra 2×8 pieces I had laying around, planed the top layers off and cut the blanks to 1-1/4”x3”x6”. Using a wood clamp, I fixtured the pieces on end and drilled the two 3/4” holes into the end grain using a long spade bit on the drill press. The hole depth is roughly 4”, long enough to fit the nails. The end cap is fastened with a 1-1/4” drywall screw right in the center so it can pivot to either hold or release the contents of the box. (Pic 1)

Pic 4 shows how the main nail should be placed in order for the participants to begin balancing the remaining nails.

Pic 5 shows the lot of boxes, with my original prototype showing the solved puzzled (middle, top).

I do have a couple pics of the solution, which I may post after I know some of you have tried this! Thanks for looking, dont forget to check back again for the solution. As always, comments welcome.

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

11 comments so far

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

21524 posts in 1756 days

#1 posted 11-03-2015 03:51 AM

Really cool and simple. I would like to see the solution.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View doubleDD's profile


5054 posts in 1461 days

#2 posted 11-03-2015 03:53 AM

I’m lucky I can get 1 nail to stand up let alone 12. Nice build on the boxes.

-- Dave, Downers Grove, Il. -------- When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

16781 posts in 2523 days

#3 posted 11-03-2015 04:24 AM

Cool. I make something similar where you balance 10 common nails on the 11th one

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View hoss12992's profile


3809 posts in 1311 days

#4 posted 11-03-2015 05:33 AM

That is really cool. Love it. I know what I will be doing in the shop tomorrow Looking forward to seeing the solution Great job buddy

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

View Chris's profile


331 posts in 3504 days

#5 posted 11-03-2015 06:13 AM

Neat stuff! yeah, I was trying my best to zoom in to gain a closer ‘peek’ to how those nails were positioned…Didn’t work. lol

-- Chris Harrell - custom callmaker "Quacky Calls" Eastern NC.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


17573 posts in 3094 days

#6 posted 11-03-2015 08:13 AM

I like it ;-) I had forgotten about that puzzle. Looks like something my grandkids need to tackle.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View GerardoArg1's profile


935 posts in 1412 days

#7 posted 11-03-2015 11:35 AM

Great! Solution??? Ha ha ha. Great proyect. Try some similar

-- Disfruta tu trabajo (enjoy your work) (Bandera, Argentina)

View Roger's profile


19709 posts in 2222 days

#8 posted 11-03-2015 01:34 PM

You nailed it.. :)

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed.

View Tooch's profile


1297 posts in 1294 days

#9 posted 11-03-2015 08:56 PM

Ok so heres the solution

Start with a nail laying down on the table, then alternate remaining nails laying across it like this:

Keep 1 nail set aside to place on top. I his will oinch the heads when you lift them.

Carefully lift up the entire like and balance on the nail head that was hammered into the wood.

-- "Well, the world needs ditch-diggers too..." - Judge Smails

View helluvawreck's profile


22669 posts in 2285 days

#10 posted 11-03-2015 09:03 PM

That’s an interesting puzzle and you did a nice job on it.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. Henry David Thoreau

View hoss12992's profile


3809 posts in 1311 days

#11 posted 11-04-2015 04:38 AM

Awesome. Thanks buddy

-- The Old Rednek Workshop

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