Two of ‘em!
I’d been a bit remiss in ordering things from Jakub at the new Pelikan Workshop for a while and decided to remedy that a few weeks ago, and part of that order was a couple of balls…
First up was the Slideways Ball – beautifully presented on a golf tee perched on a little green (nice touch!) wooden base, complete with brass name plaque. Essentially it’s Ray Stanton’s Slideways cube that’s been Pelikan-ised, turning (!) it into a ball.
Having played with my copy of the cube, I understood the importance of getting the grip just right (or you’re pushing against yourself and going absolutely nowhere!). And it took me a long time to get the cube apart – in fact I had to rope in my Dutch super-solver at one point because it was so stiff that I thought it had got itself gummed up somehow – it had, a bit. Or at least that’s my story…
So when I started playing with the ball I was very careful about how I held it and which way I pushed / slid things… and that helped as I managed to stumble upon the correct grip a few times – but once it’s all back together again, there is literally no clue to where the seams will emerge – beautifully made!
Next we have the multi-coloured Mochalov Ball – this puzzle started out life as the standard Mochalov cube #8 – which is an interesting assembly of 8 identical pieces that form a solid cube. The design’s been altered a little to make assembly and disassembly a bit more “interesting” – and forcing a sequential assembly where the original cube allowed you to pretty much start almost anywhere.
Again, there’s the Pelikan-ising to produce a beautiful ball in mixed hardwoods. Looks lovely!
I spent ages poking and prodding and tugging at various bits of the ball until I finally found the key-piece and pulled it free… you really do need to tip your hat to the brilliant craftsmanship that produces a perfectly round puzzle with virtually no clues to where the first piece will come free.
Once the first piece is out, you can deduce which pieces should be able to move next and progress sensibly until you’re left with a pile of interesting variations on the same basic piece-shape… which will force you to retrace your steps and reassemble everything in the same order, pretty much… stunning craftsmanship being sold at ridiculously good prices… well worth adding to your collection if you haven’t already got them!