Waltzing Whales

Designer: Alfons Eyckmans

This puzzle measures: 86 mm x 86 mm x 120 mm

Material: Padauk, Purpleheart, Wenge, Maple, Cherry

Kevin Sadler wrote about it:

“Alfons is one of the absolute masters of clever burr designs and he has been adding more and more puzzles to Goetz’ Burr zoo over the last few years. This wonderful design which looks like a 10 piece burr (an unusual number) actually has 2 hidden pieces inside. As the name implies the external whales and internal whales dance around each other a fair bit before the puzzle comes apart. It has been gloriously manufactured using bright vibrant woods (Wenge, Padauk, Purpleheart, Maple and Cherry) and the attention to detail is stunning – the whales have eyes made with contrasting dowels that have been shaved flush with the surface. It is this craftsmanship that brings us back to Pelikan again and again. The movements of the pieces are smooth with the fit being just tight enough where needed to keep it stable and the internal whales (which you realise are there when suddenly a beady eye is looking at you) slide freely as required using gravity to manipulate them. The initial pathway is a lovely bit of experimentation without too many false paths and actually seems pretty logical for the first 15 moves or so. A few of the moves need precise placement of the pieces first which caused me to be blocked for quite a while – I thought that I knew what I had to do but it wouldn’t work and only after an hour or so of searching for a hidden path did I realise what I had done wrong before continuing on my way. About 20 moves in I got stuck…the puzzle was quite stretched out with several pieces that looked like they should be removable soon but I just couldn’t find the release mechanism. Back and forth I went before I suddenly found a very lovely compound move involving a bunch of pieces at once and Aha! The first piece came out. The puzzle has a perfect challenging level of and the removal of pieces 2 and 3 are still a tough challenge despite being only another 6 moves each – the 2nd and 3rd pieces took me another hour to remove. The pieces remain well held in place, if a little squishy, as they slide and partially rotate on each other. There doesn’t seem to be any rotational shortcut and even after 3 pieces have been removed the whole thing stays together without collapsing into a heap. This was a fabulous challenge, extremely well made and my second favourite of the bunch. Maybe if you are a genius you can assemble it from memory or even work it out. I will definitely be using Burrtools to put it back together.”