Incidental Fermat Projects #4: New and Festive

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Blog entry by vipond33 posted 12-12-2012 02:22 PM 2392 reads 5 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 3: Old and Weird Part 4 of Incidental Fermat Projects series Part 5: Kids in the Hall »

Not so long ago I blew my brains out on Christmas building. Starting in mid September then I made 21 different things, for a bunch of real different people. It was worth it yes, but I was mentally finished by the end.

This year is wiser, lazier and lighter with only 5 types, some 9 pcs. but good ones, mostly culled from my favourites at LJ.

Here are three.

As is my custom I make something for my boss each year, by way of saying thank you for letting me have free access to our shop to build my own things. I did manage some interesting builds there this year, the Mari coffee table being my favourite. For his coffee table I made two puzzles.

First up is the Quick wooden puzzle, no solution provided here. Do It Yourself. ” aka Wooden X Puzzle aka X Puzzle - 3 times a charm. Thanks to all the previous posters and for the suggested refinements to this fun puzzle.


My version uses qtrd white oak for the body with rosewood end caps and polished brass rod for the sliders. Qtrd stock does aid in achieving those long, straight careful holes.

My boss solved it in a staring at it eureka moment a day later, while earlier on, half a dozen others were still trying to just coax it open twenty minutes in.
He also suggested a different approach to building it, one requiring a very different solution (anyone interested can PM me).

I used white oak for the body so that dripping tears of frustration or explosive spittle wouldn’t swell the careful half lap joint, and for my own contribution to its development I made one minor modification, slightly offsetting one hole so that it was obvious which way to put it back together.


Next is the Diabolical Dice Puzzle by KnotCurser.(and later as Dice Cube Puzzle)


Now even though I had the building/solution sheet in front of me I still had to stare to get it built, still haven’t solved it without it.

My take is in Honduras mahogany with qtr-sawn maple dots. Leather is on both sides of the bottom. That makes it quieter when you angrily toss the unsolved bits back in. Made two of these.


A nice thing about having a storage box is that maybe one day you can capture the solved!! block, invert it and run shouting to show your unbelieving one in the next room.


Lastly there is an instant favourite that I had to build as soon as I saw it. Get me out is a game that madts posted, based on one that he remembered from some 50 yrs ago.

Today it’s a touchscreen game on IPhone’s et all, so as I was giving my young daughter her very first mp3/video player for Xmas I thought I’d make a touch-wood alternative. Slide the real blocks around, get that big flatty piece out. You can re-arrange the blocks any way you like for the starting position.


A whole different feel from the glass screen. My build is from zebra-wood and a decades old chunk of sapwood/heartwood rosewood. With English green leather pips in the fingertip holes.


Watch me triumph in 30 seconds.

The great truth is easy here. You’re never without good ideas and friendly advice at Lumberjocks. Thanks guys.

Addendum: There is a fine series of solutions posted on YouTube for those with the phone game, put up on
And for anyone wishing to build the game in wood, these are also great, allowing you to set up your blocks after pausing the video, and then make your own attempt and sometimes cheat along a little bit. You might even learn to solve it in the minimum number of moves, touch-wood.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

13 comments so far

View Spoontaneous's profile


1334 posts in 3356 days

#1 posted 12-12-2012 02:33 PM

How does one go about getting on your Christmas list? Your makes are always, always impressive.

-- I just got done cutting three boards and all four of them were too short. (true story)

View hairy's profile


2720 posts in 3558 days

#2 posted 12-12-2012 02:37 PM

The’re going to love you! I like them all, but they make me wonder. Do people with other hobbies/skills give presents from their hand? I’m sure that they do, but it almost seems expected from woodworkers ,turners, carvers, etc.

Just asking the question proves that I don’t get out much. In the last few years I have started giving gifts that I made.This year they all are.

You do great work, anyone would be glad to receive one of those.

-- My reality check bounced...

View madts's profile


1862 posts in 2366 days

#3 posted 12-12-2012 02:49 PM

Gene: You put my puzzle to shame. That is absolutely beautiful. Now I have to make some more. I finally solve it after some frustration.

-- Thor and Odin are still the greatest of Gods.

View vipond33's profile


1405 posts in 2523 days

#4 posted 12-12-2012 03:43 PM

Wow, thanks madts, but credit where it’s due, this wouldn’t have happened without you.
And to spoony and maybe others who are wondering, adoption papers are available on my home page. A small surcharge may be required, or just bring some beautiful wood.

-- gene@toronto.ontario.canada : dovetail free since '53, critiques always welcome.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2876 days

#5 posted 12-12-2012 03:55 PM

I am stunned by the whole package here—the concepts, the materials, the execution, the narrative. Notes will be taken in class.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View shipwright's profile (online now)


7992 posts in 2824 days

#6 posted 12-12-2012 03:57 PM

All great puzzles but the special touch is your signature attention to detail.
Gorgeous, as usual Gene.

-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fibreglass trees.

View SPalm's profile


5320 posts in 3908 days

#7 posted 12-12-2012 04:21 PM

Class. Pure class.
You got skills, but also an eye for design. I am humbled.


-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View DocSavage45's profile


8599 posts in 2868 days

#8 posted 12-12-2012 05:19 PM


Shock and awe! Inspiring and intimidating. Must be tough being both brilliant and a craftsman of unrivaled skill. I’m screwin around making air locks for my cats who own my shop and the outside guys who have a feeding station and flop house to keep the heating bills down here in MN.

You once asked where my projects are and I’m still trying to get there.

Keep inspiring and intimidating! LOL!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View ~Julie~'s profile


607 posts in 3060 days

#9 posted 12-12-2012 06:01 PM

Such beautiful, precise work… lucky recipients!

-- ~Julie~

View eddie's profile


8565 posts in 2640 days

#10 posted 12-12-2012 06:57 PM

just to cool ,

-- Jesus Is Alright with me

View rance's profile


4258 posts in 3186 days

#11 posted 12-12-2012 08:22 PM

Superb job Gene. Very well executed.

-- Backer boards, stop blocks, build oversized, and never buy a hand plane--

View jap's profile


1251 posts in 2080 days

#12 posted 12-12-2012 11:28 PM

i like making puzzles too!!!

-- Joel

View Roger's profile


20929 posts in 2830 days

#13 posted 12-13-2012 12:21 PM

Like someone else has already said, 1st class, all the way.. very nice

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

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