Sunday 7 October 2012

Sandfield’s ReBanded Dovetails

Robert Sandfield’s IPP Exchange puzzle this year was another great collaboration with Kathleen Malcolmson and I had the great pleasure of meeting the two of them at the awesome puzzle party on the Saturday. 

Kathleen’s recently set up a new web-site to showcase her work and begun dabbling with a blog to chat about her creations – and as luck would have it, her first post talks about the creation of this great little puzzle. 

ReBanded Dovetails deliberately looks a lot like Banded Dovetails from a couple of years ago ... so one thing you can be pretty sure of is that the solutions will bear virtually no resemblance to one another! This year’s puzzle has a plank of walnut joined to a slab of Baltic birch ply by a set of dovetails, wrapped in a pair of lacewood bands ... ostensibly, save the different choice of woods, looking pretty much like the Banded Dovetails, also produced by Kathleen. It’s presented in the usual Sandfield drawstring bag and makes for a really handsome little puzzle.
Shaking it suggests there’s something inside it ... and if the theme has been continued, then there should be a coin hidden somewhere inside and that will be the goal...

Banded Dovetails was a reasonably straight-forward puzzle, albeit incredibly well disguised [totally hidden!] – and I’ve seen it fool seasoned puzzlers for absolute ages until their faces eventually lit up in a “You sod!” way...

I did try the same solution on ReBanded Dovetails, I felt I had to, and wasn’t surprised or disappointed when it did absolutely nothing at all! On to some new exploring then...

Kathleen’s blog tells the story of Robert wanting to revisit the old puzzle and make it harder ... and I think he’s succeeded on that score... while the original had a single move to open it, this one requires a series of unusual moves, starting with a beautifully disguised opening move. There’s a lovely little bit in the middle where you can’t afford to be greedy or you’ll snooker yourself... a bit. 

Definitely a worthy successor to the Banded Dovetails ... one that provides a nice little challenge in a beautifully crafted puzzle – great work guys!


... I also managed to pick up a copy of Robert’s Four Triangles and a Ball assembly puzzle. He had a gorgeous version on display with a huge crystal ball in the centre of the construction and it really looked amazing... but before he would take any money from me he pointed out that the version he was selling had a wooden ball in the centre – SOLD!

The puzzle arrives as 12 identical notched mahogany sticks, once again courtesy of the fine craftsmanship of Kathleen Malcolmson (and if you think there’s a bit of a theme going on here, stick around, her KAM maker’s mark appears on a couple more thingies I’ll be writing about in the next couple of weeks too). The notches are wonderfully accurate so assembling them a little loosely, they all line up perfectly – handy when it gets towards fitting the final couple of pieces...

The puzzle is presented as a pair of challenges – first assemble the four interlocking triangles in a stable three-dimensional form ... and then repeat that construction with the solid birch ball trapped in the centre...

It turns out there’s a fairly simple rule to follow to make sure that you end up with the right shape, with the notched sticks making sure that everything lines up rather neatly... the first challenge results in a ball-shaped form with a neat hole in the centre, just about the same size as the birch ball – which is encouraging... and being the lazy so-and-so that I am, I started from the completed structure and began removing bits one at a time until I could fit the ball into the centre, and then reversed the process... and ended up going halfway back to the start before the ball could be successfully encouraged into the centre position. From there rebuilding the rest of the structure is a little bit trickier because there’s a bit less room for manoeuvring things about, but in the end you have a really handsome looking assembly that would look good in any puzzle collection.

Having never come across this one before, I’m really glad that I stumbled across it at the puzzle party.

1 comment:

  1. Very nice Allard! Very odd - I opened my Rebanded dovetails in about 2 minutes! I thought it quite odd that others found it tough! Beautifully made however!

    I'd love to get some more of Kathleen's work when my finances recover from all my recent purchases!!