Saturday, 26 January 2013

Topless Box

The Topless Box is one of Eric Fuller's recent creations. I like the name Eric has given to this puzzle. Nope!....not for the type of imagery typically associated with "topless" but rather, I find that the word "topless" describes the puzzle very well.

The Topless Box comes with a rather interesting history of how Eric came to produce this box as part of an ongoing massive project for the construction of an Apothecary style puzzle box. I guess there would be more on the latter in time to come.


Measuring 7.7cm x 7.7cm x 7.7cm, the box is made of three exotic hardwoods; Striped Quartersawn Sapele for the body itself, Quilted Maple and Paduak for the top and bottom "lids". Quality of construction and attention to detail is excellent and the box is built to very tight tolerances. Eric has also mentioned that the boxes "are designed with longevity in mind, and should function fine regardless of humidity".

As a bonus, there is also a very pleasant woody smell emanating from the woods, which even runs to your fingers after you have played with the box for a while.  The box is about the right size and fits the hands very well, so less fear of slipping and dropping and denting a corner.

Lids removed but box is still closed!
The object is of course to open the box. Well, here's the reason why its "topless". The cream coloured Quilted Maple top and bottom surfaces are actually lids that can be removed quite easily....no trick here. Underneath the Maple is a contrasting layer of Paduak which fits into the depression in the box body, when the box is fully assembled. But the box itself is still sealed at both ends by a Paduak covering. Clearly there is more that needs to be done than merely removing both lids.

I have limited experience with puzzle boxes and I would say that the Topless Box is very challenging indeed. I would not go into any details here as I do not wish to give away any secrets...let's just say that from a puzzling perspective, I don't think this box fits into the usual genres of puzzle boxes in terms of the solution. (if any reader think this statement is inaccurate, please let me know). It took me the better part of a whole evening before I figured out the mechanism and opened the box.

Overall, a very nice box puzzle with a very interesting and unique mechanism, one that was unexpected, at least for me when I saw the insides. Like all of Eric's wooden creations, I was fortunate to get an order in in-time before they ran out. Expensive but worth the money. You may also like to check out Oli's blog post for his views on this puzzle.

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