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Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Aluminium Burrs (Wil Strijbos)

Now these are some of my favourite looking puzzles in my collection, you just can't beat the look of machined aluminium.

So these great looking six-piece burrs are produced by Wil Strijbos in the Netherlands (who as you may remember designed one of my very favourite puzzles; the Aluminium Cylinder). They are perfectly machined out of solid aluminium block, and as you can see by the images below the 10 Move Burr has un-notchable pieces (cannot be cut with a regular saw) and as such is fixed in some places using screws that have been sunk into the pieces, and also aluminium 'plugs' that substitute for solid block. The rounded 'plugs' actually make the movement very smooth, and as the width is the same it doesn't compromise the fit.

I cannot even begin to describe the fit of these puzzles, it really is spot on! When I first saw the pictures I thought that there would be a good chance that they would rattle around quite a bit during the solving process, but in reality the fit is so snug that the pieces won't move even a fraction in any unintended direction. I can give one of these to a puzzler and they will have to look for the first move, the piece won't move by itself.

Now let's move past the looks and go onto the puzzle designs.

7 Move Burr (Gaby Games)
10 Move Burr (Piston Puzzle)

Wil sells these as the '7 Move Burr' (requires seven moves to remove the first piece) and the '10 Move Burr' (requires ten moves to remove the first piece. The puzzles themselves are not of Wil's design, they are beautiful reproductions of two very well known burr designs, one of which is my absolute favourite.

The '7 Move Burr' is a reproduction of 'Gaby Games' designed by Phillipe Dubois (which has a difficulty of 6.4), and the '10 Move Burr' is a reproduction of the 'Piston Puzzle' by Peter Marineau (which has a difficulty of 9.3). A big thanks to Rob for this information!
The Piston Puzzle has such a fun movement that is fun to repeat, and that's why it easily my favourite burr to date.

The burr difficulty 9.3 (for example) means that the first piece requires 9 moves to be removed, and the second requires 3. The numbers in this case don't match up with Wil's names as it really depends on whether you count two pieces moving at the same time as one move or two.

Wil has made a couple of runs of these puzzles (he had to make more to keep up with demand), but the numbers are still pretty limited as the cost and difficulty to produce them outweighs what he could reasonably charge for them (see examples of GarE Maxton's work to see what metal machining could cost you) .

So if you're after a set then I'd get in touch with him as soon as possible.

Thanks again to Wil for another couple of exceptional puzzles and great service as always!

Edit: I have also now been told that Oy Sloyd Ab in Finland have also got some in stock! So if you're having trouble finding one then drop them an email and they might be able to help you out.


  1. Cool! I just bought a pair of these from Wil!

  2. A solid buy there George! I doubt you'll be disappointed.

  3. To save shipping I'm picking them up in August. So I'll have a long wait before I see them! :-(


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