The Button

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Project by PhilosopherSteve posted 12-13-2015 03:57 PM 1511 views 10 times favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

The is the first of my latest set of puzzle boxes which I’m calling “The Button”. The goal is to press the button on the top of the box, but, there are two locks in the way. Opening those locks entails solving the two slider puzzles. The clues for how to solve those are around the box.

This box requires a person to use a bit of logic, some code solving, a bit of “find the piece” and some general world knowledge.

Once pressed, the two spring loaded drawers are released.

The box is a combination of walnut (reclaimed wood from old beadboard), maple for the puzzle pieces and ash for the block the sliders run in. Finish was danish oil, followed by a few coats of minwax satin wiping poly. I tried something new on this and attached all the pieces after finishing with Nexabond. I did some tests and it had a decent hold, even on the finished wood, but could be broken free if I ever needed to fix one. Nexabond might be a new favorite – boy does it make small parts assembly fast.

I have some videos of building the spring loaded assemblies over on my youtube channel.

The puzzle pieces took a lot of work and pushed me into working very small and accurately. I spent more time with a pair of calipers than a ruler and I started using setup blocks and very small shims to dial in extremely precise cuts at the table saw. It’s a totally new way of working. I have a write up on using setup blocks over on my blog.

The lettering was done with metal stamps. I’d stamp the letters, then put on a spray coat of shellac, then put on stain and wipe it off. Leave that dry, then come back and sand away the stain/shellac and you have the darkened letter.

Next up I intend to make some more smaller and less complex puzzle boxes and also start working on a puzzle makers sled. I found myself having to work a bit more dangerously than I like (that means I was still very careful, but I can do better) and a better sled will give me much greater adjustability and work holding, leading to more accuracy and repeatability.

I also have designs in my head for more complex boxes, new mechanisms, surprises and secrets. But alas I have just these two hands. Maybe a CNC would help!

4 comments so far

View majuvla's profile


13633 posts in 3108 days

#1 posted 12-14-2015 04:38 AM

Incredible puzzle box. I like those mistery opening kind of projects.

-- Ivan, Croatia, Wooddicted

View PhilosopherSteve's profile


43 posts in 4326 days

#2 posted 12-15-2015 01:55 PM

Thanks! It was a lot of fun to build.

View helluvawreck's profile


32086 posts in 3107 days

#3 posted 12-15-2015 03:08 PM

It’s a very unusual project and nicely done.

helluvawreck aka Charles

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Josh's profile


1234 posts in 2810 days

#4 posted 12-15-2015 11:17 PM

very cool!

-- Tree, wood, and box lover from Pennsylvania

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