The Beast


This is the smallest box I have ever made. Only about 13 centimeters long. It is also one of the hardest to open. I'm not sure I remember how to open this myself.

There are no clues for solving the Beast. It takes a complex sequence of 81 moves to release the lid.

I built the Beast a year after making the Pinwheel boxes in 2001. I worked in the mathematics department for Colorado College, and spent my off hours making these in the woodshop.

It is the first box I made in a run. I made twenty of these, but realized when I finished that they would warp severely under changes in humidity. Here I learned the dangers of gluing woods together across grain. So I never released them to the public.

The Beast is the precursor to the Waterfall Series, 83 Move Box, and the Maze Burr. Each face of the box moves in two directions. With the Beast I built this bi-path mechanism with two panels, which is why is has a different appearance.

More interestingly, I set up the proportions so that all six faces of the Beast are Golden Rectangles. The maple pinstripes are also set apart by the Golden Proportion. Mathematically, this is very interesting, and beautiful form.

The dark wood is wenge, and the lighter brown wood is walnut. I fell in love with these three woods at once.

I did a presentation to The Colorado College Mathematics Department on how this puzzle opens up.

The Second Beast

This is all made from walnut and maple. I devised a nice way to inlay the box, although very time-consuming. This puzzle has fewer moves to solve. I made only two of these, and never applied a coat of finish. Like the original Beast box I was too uncomfortable to release these to the public.


A special thanks goes to William Jeavens and Carl Reed.


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