Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Owl

Name
Owl. No prizes for guessing why its called what its called!

Designer
Stephan Baumegger. You can check out his own and other puzzle designs on his Facebook page. Nice collection with photos.



Manufacturer
Stephan Baumegger. The Owl is available for 40 euros. His puzzles range from 40 euros to around 120 euros depending on the complexity.

Type & Classification

Interlocking, sequential movement

Dimensions
7.9cm (Length) x 5cm (Width) and 5cm (Height).  

Materials & Construction
Stephan crafts his puzzles from a variety of exotic hardwoods. My copy of the Owl consist of Wenge for the outer frame, Elm for the inner frame and Tiger Wood for the pieces

Overall, very well constructed with nice bevelling on the edges, although the inner frame and a couple of the pieces had a few small rough edges here and there. But all the pieces fit perfectly and slide smoothly against each other. I did not have to place in my camera dry box to de-humidify.

Overview
This is my first puzzle from Austrian puzzle designer and maker, Stephan Baumegger. I had learnt about Stephan from Saul Symonds puzzle blog. After checking out his Facebook page, I promptly shot an email asking Stephan about the availability of his puzzles and pricing. I thought the Owl looked really cute and ordered one. A week later, the Owl flew into my home.

The Owl consist of 5 pieces; an outer rectangular frame, a rather unusual and uncommon smaller inner frame and 3 loose pieces. The inner frame can slide left to right, limited by the interlocking of itself with the outer frame and the 3 irregular notched pieces.

Two frames to house the 3 pieces
As in most interlocking puzzles, removing the first piece from the Owl consists of a combination of moves of the other pieces as well and in sequence. In the case of the Owl, to extract the first piece is in my opinion the most difficult. Took me a good 30 minutes to do this. You move the pieces as well as the inner frame to create an exit for the first piece. Thereafter, the other two were relatively easier.

I took pains to remember the steps and practised removing and putting back each piece individually so that I would have an easier time later with the reassembly. True enough after I had done this several times, I could repeat solving without a cinch.

Difficulty Level
The Owl is a level 7.4.5 puzzle with a unique solution. 7 moves to remove the first piece. While challenging, I didn't find it too difficult. The putting back together I feel is easier than the taking apart for this puzzle.

Summary
Interesting design, sufficiently challenging and overall a fun puzzle. Nice looking too (like an Owl), especially with the contrasting woods used. And did I mention, Stephan can also make your puzzle in your choice of woods.

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