ExclusivesPuzzle Making

From wine-rack to cube

This area of TheMetagrobologist is devoted to puzzling enthusiasts that wish to read more about creating their own mechanical puzzles. The DIY mechanical puzzles area will feature free downloads, step by step guides and small interviews with some of the world’s best puzzle designers and craftsmen on the creation of some of their individual puzzles along with links to purchasing them. Interested in the creation of a Robert Yarger mechanical puzzle box? Wanting to read how Eric Fuller created that latest puzzle? Fascinated by the Turning Interlocking Cube of William Hu? Want to know how Stephan Baumegger made that Burr? This area is for you!

Fascinated by the incredible puzzles of Jack Krijnen? Interested in the Condor’s Peeper or the amazing looking Supernova? In this article, we are delighted to present the enlightening tale of Jack Krijnen’s puzzle-making origins from a wine-rack to a cube.

Jack Krijnen is an incredible Dutch craftsman and puzzle designer from the Netherlands who has produced many record-breaking and breathtaking puzzle designs. Enjoy!

From wine-rack to cube by Jack Krijnen

It must have been early in the 80’s of the past century. I only just had my first introduction into the world of puzzles by the book Creative Puzzles of the World (Pieter van Delft and Jack Botermans, 1978). I had solved Rubik’s Cube and I had my first design experience.

I also got married and I just had bought my first house. What does that have to do with this story? Well, a new house needs furnishing, big activities and small ones. One of the small things I did was assembling a DIY wine-rack. In my opinion of certain importance – some things you have to have on stock. Is it still unclear where this story leads us? Let me come to the point: the wine-rack was made of octagonal bars and dowels. And making it the proper size (to fit in the cabinet) left me with a handful of bars and dowels. So what better to do than turn the leftovers into a puzzle? The idea of Wine-rack, as I named this design, came to me in a flash and it took me a little time to actually make the puzzle.

DIY Wine-rack by Jack KrijnenIt is a simple puzzle consisting of 6 bars, 5 similar pins, and one pin in two pieces, allowing one of the bars to be freed only if the right side of the puzzle is up.

25 years later I was contacted by Johan van de Konijnenberg. He was a teacher; as a part of their education his students had to write a paper about a freely chosen subject. Three of them opted for puzzles and puzzle crafting (though I suspect Johan of some manipulation in this direction…). So Johan asked me to provide an interview, and preferably a small puzzle crafting workshop. In the preparation, my old Wine-rack design came to mind again, and I simplified it by using square bars instead hexagonal. Now it was perfectly suited for its purpose: fairly easy to make, and fairly easy to solve even for inexperienced puzzlers. And there’s an AHA moment.

Wine-rack by Jack KrijnenIt’s quite a different appearance for the same puzzle. I also came up with two additional ways to implement the lock on the key piece. They only needed different divisions of the split pin, causing different techniques to solve the puzzle: one requires rotation, the other the use of a sheet of paper. So I named this puzzle Pinhole 3-in-1.

Pinhole CubeBy this time (2008) I was actively using Facebook for sharing experiences with the puzzle community. I published photo’s of Wine-rack and Pinhole 3-in-1. It led to a discussion with John Devost if it was possible to fill in the void corners in Pinhole 3-in-1 and turn the design into a cube. And yes, this could be done, with little impact. So the third shape of my original Wine-rack was born, with the name Pinhole Cube. I returned to the split of the key pin as in the original Wine-rack. I regarded it as the most satisfying one.

I still think that the idea of this puzzle is too simple to be original. However, at my wanderings through the puzzle world I’ve seen quite some puzzles, but never encountered its equivalent. So after all, maybe, just maybe, there’s a little spark of genius in me.

Pinhole Cube PiecesThe evolution from Wine-rack to Pinhole Cube is spread over 25 years. In the same period, the evolution of my woodworking skills and tools took place. The photo’s are an illustration of the latter as well. With my spare time increasing over the years, I consider myself lucky to have found a pastime with so many faces and shared with so many nice people.

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