Cocobolo and Ebony Rune Box

The Rune Box comes in three versions. Each version is the same mechanically but made from different woods. Although it functions perfectly as a box, I found the most satisfying aspect was to see it in its most pure form. This form, the heart of the Rune Box, is actually not a box, but a cubic frame. It is in itself a sculpture, and in a way, even more interesting than the outside of the box. Only small parts of the frame are revealed when sides of the Rune Box are shifted in different directions. Once opened, all excess sides of the box may be removed revealing the frame. I chose to make the frame from Macassar Ebony for the Cocobolo Rune Box. The frame for the Maple Rune Box is Cocobolo, and the Narra Rune Box has a Bubinga Frame. Each frame is carefully mitered three ways on each corner with a concealed triangular spline as joinery, and can only be finished carefully by hand. The frame has to be accurate within a thousandth of an inch for a very important reason. This is so that the faces of the Rune Box may be set into any side of the frame in any order. Note that the frame is also stable in humidity changes. The arrangement of the sides of the Rune Box determines the nature of the sequence needed to unlock it. In one case it requires 102 slides. Other arrangements require anywhere from 75 moves to 14 moves.

The sequence to unlocking the Rune Box is very much like the Waterfall boxes. Each side move in two directions according to its "rune" etched onto the side. The rune is really a 3x3 maze with an ebony circle marking its center. Logically you can work your way through all six of the 3x3 mazes to a critical point. This point is the only path which lies outside the 3x3 maze, and is etched as part of one of the runes. Reach this spot and the box unlocks, opens, and then may be rearranged into a different sequence.

Below are more photos of the Rune Boxes in different states.

Macassar e bony Frame

Cocobolo Frame

Bubinga Frame


Maple and Cocobolo Rune Box

Narra and Bubinga Rune Box

Narra Rune before unlocked.

Cocobolo Rune before unlocked.

Maple Rune inside.

Ebony frame Cocobolo and maple plates.

Maple Rune unlocked.

Three Rune Boxes combined.

A very special thanks to John Rausch, who developed a computer program solver for this box.



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