Merry Christmas to all my readers! Hope everyone is having a great holiday and puzzling time!
This is my Karakuri Christmas present #2. My guess is that this puzzle box was designed and made by Hiroshi Iwahara. How come I don't know the designer/maker? Well you can read a bit about the annual Karakuri Christmas Presents here. Again, if anyone knows to the contrary, please PM me, thanks. [Edit 27 Dec 2014 :- it's been confirmed to me that this box is from Akio Kamei, not Iwahara. Tell tale signs are the external cardboard box packaging as well as the Chinese character inside the box which means "peace", both hallmarks of Kamei].
I have called this one the "checkered" box for now. [Edit: 10 Jan 2015 - its called the New Parcel Cube] Its got two solid stripes running across the six sides of the box. Not merely for decorative purposes, but they serve a function too.
Like all Karakrui puzzles, the "checkered box" is extremely well made and finished to very tight tolerances, yet everything moves and slides smoothly. It looks to me like Yellowheart and Walnut [Edit 10 Jan 2015 - its made of Walnut and Japanese Torreya] has been used for its construction, but I can't be sure. I will update this post once more information on the puzzle has been sent to me early next year in 2015.
The fine craftsmanship and attention to detail is really incredible. And you need to handle this one with care too; any undue force and you may end up with a cracked or damaged puzzle. Not something you want happen during the Christmas holidays, or at any other time for that matter.
This one takes quite a few more steps more than my Christmas Present #1 to open. While its not difficult (but certainly more difficult than #1), the mechanism is tricky and again very well concealed by the fine construction. What you see in the photo is only a partially opened box. Fully solved, the box can be dismantled even further.