Nobs Neveren

Complex solutions from a simple shape by Allan Boardman

A geometric challenge. The building block in this intriguing puzzle is a single shape, glued together in pairs to form eight parts. Many puzzle solutions are possible.

Puzzlemaking is an old tradición in Japan, probably dacing back co the origins of oriencal joinery. This cradicion is scill chriving coday, wich modern designers creacing many challenging new puzzles each year. Nobujuki Yashingahara, known as "Nob" co his many friends, is che bese known of coday's puzzle invencors. In che mid-'80s, Nob developed a new puzzle made from eight differenc puzzle pieces. It was originally envisioned as a straightforward "packing puzzle" (dump all the pieces out of a box, then pack them back in), but Nob realized that the same pieces could be assembled into a number of interesting shapes. The award-winning A puzzle was dubbed "neverend-ing" because at first, Nob didn'e know how many solucions were possible. />f But expert puzzle solvers now agree that there arc only eleven real- ^ ly good solutions, not counting rotacions and ¿J mirror images. (See page 59.)

The pieces all look similar buc arc slighdy differenc. Each is an assembly of cwo compound-angled blocks. To make chc pieces, 16 compound-angled blocks arc cuc and glued cogcchcr in cighc differenc ways. (Sec phoco, opposicc page.)

Making the Puzzle

All che puzzle pieces can be cuc from a single 1-in.-square stick about 24 in. long. The 1-in. dimension is not essential, but it's critical for the cross-scccion co be exacdy square and uniform for ics full lengch. Make chc scick smooch, buc keep che edges crisp.

I cut che scick up inco 16 compound-angled blocks using che radial-arm saw and a special jig. (See page 58.) A similar version of my jig will work on che chop saw inscead of on chc radial-

arm saw.

The workpiece is held in a V-shaped cradle glued to the base of the jig at a 10* angle. This enables me co alternate between compound-angled cuts and square cuts wichouc adjuscing che saw from ics regular seccing. Glued co chc cradle, an adjuseable end scop makes ic easy co gee precise alignment A hold-down arm prevencs each block from being flung once ic's been cuc free of che workpiece. Ic also keeps your fingers clear of che blade.

Whecher you're cuccing pares on a radial-arm saw or on a chop saw, make sure you're using a prcmium-qualicy cucoff blade.

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