Pin Box Puzzle

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Project by Dale J Struhar Sr posted 01-01-2010 04:18 AM 3134 views 7 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A buddy of mine from our Bonsai Club is into wooden puzzles. He came to me wanting help making some of them since he didn’t have a work shop.

Not sure how many of you LJ’s have seen this one so I’ll explain.

The first of these pictures is what I call a pin box puzzle (I don’t know what it is really called) made out of pine.This puzzle wasn’t finished sanded, no edge routing or anything just rough. We cleaned it up before we took pictures.

How this one worked was the top screwed into the bottom. Pins in the bottom (the maker used cut nails) when turned upside down slid into matching holes in the top and were held there with magnets thus locking the top so it would not turn apart.

You can see were the holes were randomly drilled to hold the magnets. In this one the nails could fall out onto the floor and be lost.

The button that is shown is a decoy and has nothing to do with separating the top form bottom. Separating the top from bottom only takes slapping the bottom in the palm of your hand which drops the pins held by the magnets into the bottom allowing the top to be unscrewed from the bottom.

I thought this was pretty neat and would be fun to make but needed some redesigning and they had to be made out of some nice looking exotic woods. I didn’t like seeing where holes were drilled to put the magnets or buttons, the sloppy fit of the pins and that the pins could be lost when they fell out.

The ones I made are out of exotic woods, you can’t see any drill holes, won’t break, the pin (I only need one) won’t fall out.

I made ten of them out of different woods, put the push button in different places, put the pin in either the top or bottom and gave them away to family and friends for Christmas.

But best of all I laughed so hard I was brought to tears when my one son (he’s like me) spent 40 minutes trying to solve the puzzle by turning it, pulling it, shaking it, pushing the button but couldn’t figure it out. My wife finally showed him how to open it.

Hope you enjoy.

-- Dale, Ohio

10 comments so far

View cnccutter's profile


60 posts in 3397 days

#1 posted 01-01-2010 04:32 AM

I love the idea. makes the old brain work a bit. its great to see were you took the simple idea too. great job.

-- Erik

View bigike's profile


4054 posts in 3431 days

#2 posted 01-01-2010 04:57 AM

nice work

-- Ike, Big Daddies Woodshop,

View a1Jim's profile


117232 posts in 3720 days

#3 posted 01-01-2010 05:00 AM

fun project

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18373 posts in 3819 days

#4 posted 01-01-2010 07:46 AM

Great post!! I love it! :-))

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

View Gary's profile


9352 posts in 3576 days

#5 posted 01-01-2010 08:10 AM

Will the pin drop if someone shakes it real hard?

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Andy's profile


1698 posts in 4051 days

#6 posted 01-01-2010 03:11 PM

I like your version, I will have to try making one of these.

-- If I can do it, so can you.

View stefang's profile


15946 posts in 3477 days

#7 posted 01-01-2010 08:08 PM

Great puzzle idea and your version is very nicely done. Like Andy, I will probably have to make one of these. Thanks for showing it to us.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View choppertoo's profile


301 posts in 3456 days

#8 posted 03-26-2010 10:51 PM

I’m late to the party with my comment but I just now found your project. very nice. I love making the kids (and adults) work the the brain now and again. May I ask how you did the non functioning button?

-- The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that our aim is too low and we reach it.. Michelangelo

View Dale J Struhar Sr's profile

Dale J Struhar Sr

496 posts in 3273 days

#9 posted 03-27-2010 05:35 AM

Made the button and inserted it and the spring then glued it thus hiding eveything between the parts. Thanks for comments.

-- Dale, Ohio

View Leonard5's profile


377 posts in 2836 days

#10 posted 08-20-2014 08:16 PM

Good one.

-- Leonard H.

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