“Torture”, a 6-piece burr puzzle

“Torture”, a 6-piece burr puzzle

Comments Off on “Torture”, a 6-piece burr puzzle

I made a 6-piece burr puzzle. The design is named “Torture”, an apt name for this thing the requires 26 moves to disassemble.

6-piece burr puzzle

I saw a 2-page profile of a master puzzlemaker in Wood Magazine. In that article, there was a picture of one of the puzzles he makes named “Torture”, and it’s 6 pieces. I love a challenge and love wooden puzzles, so I just had to try to make it.

6-piece burr puzzleThe article had a picture like this one, 6 pieces. from the way they interlock, the width of the piece has to fit inside the long slots in the piece. Since the piece is 5 units wide (3 oak and 2 walnut blocks), the length of them must be 7. So I had the design figured out, the next problem is how to make the pieces.

The way I ended up doing it was using 3 full-length sticks of oak and 4 walnut blocks, then I’d cut the oak to each piece’s shape. Since trimming the walnut back would be very difficult, I made a jig to take up the 2 slots during the glueup, letting me align the inside ends of the walnut blocks. After the glue was dry, I trimmed both ends, cut out the oak inside, and did a lot of sanding.

Since the thickness is exactly the same as the slots, the front and back had to be sanded to allow some clearance. I also rounded the corners and sanding down the edges so that each piece would pass through the others.

6-piece burr puzzleNext came figuring out how to assemble it. About this time the thought occured to me – I hope they showed all 6 unique pieces in the article and didn’t have a duplicate. Fortunately, it was all 6 pieces, but after trying for a bit, I went to my computer and googled “torture puzzle” and eventually found a picture of the solution on a japanese website. Some of the moves are difficult even when you know what needs to move. Here is a picture partway in the assembly.

This won 2nd place in beginner accessories in the 2004 Central Texas Wood Artisan’s Show.

About the author:

Back to Top