"X" Puzzle - 3 times a charm

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Project by Paul Pomerleau posted 11-27-2011 12:41 AM 5531 views 37 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First, I would like to thank Ugoboy’s puzzle, and KnotCurser’s puzzle as this is what mine is based on.
When I first saw these I figured this should be super easy and I can bring it to my sisters Christmas dinner next Saturday for everyone to play with.
Easy??? How wrong I was.
Even with my drill press with fence and stop block, I still wasn’t able to drill a hole in the center of a block of wood, I couldn’t get the pins to line up no matter what.
It was a complete failure.
My second attempt involved many clamps, digital calipers, depth gauges, scoring knives, a crap load of prayers, and a lot of adjustments using bigger hammers.
Same thing, failed, I’m going to bed.
I woke up this morning and noticed that all the planets were aligned, Gemini was in the east with Sagittarius rising and the dog was asleep… Perfect, what could possibly go wrong?!?
This time I decided to do it a bit differently. I took a solid piece of oak, blew the dust off my kerfmaker that I made last spring but never used, and cut out the centers of the wood.
I put them together, put it on my drill press and bore a hole clean through from one end to the next.
Made some new tapered pins, put them in the ends and capped them with some walnut.
Now it works so nice and slick, put on some tung oil to bring out the grain and ta-da!!
I hope everyone gets to enjoy it at the dinner next week-end.
Thanks for looking.

-- Close to Ottawa Ontario Canada

11 comments so far

View KnotCurser's profile


2031 posts in 3430 days

#1 posted 11-27-2011 12:54 AM

Now THAT is a great modification! Boring a hole clean through on a solid piece of wood is the way to go!

I am going to use that idea if/when I make these again – thanks for sharing!

Also, I like the contrasting tips – nice touch!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: [email protected] /

View KnotCurser's profile


2031 posts in 3430 days

#2 posted 11-27-2011 12:56 AM


If you want it to work even slicker try using steel pins – wow do they work nicely!


-- Robert Rhoades WoodWorks / Email: [email protected] /

View Paul Pomerleau's profile

Paul Pomerleau

309 posts in 3054 days

#3 posted 11-27-2011 01:00 AM

Hi Bob, actually I did think of using my brass rods that I use to pivot a lid on a box, but I ended up using dowels, but it would have been slick as you say.
Next time.
Thanks for your help on this, by the way.

-- Close to Ottawa Ontario Canada

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18544 posts in 4037 days

#4 posted 11-27-2011 03:46 AM

Nice work. I was going to build some of these for last Christmas. Guess I’d better do it this year :-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View toolguy65's profile


33 posts in 2765 days

#5 posted 11-27-2011 07:25 AM

So ah, how does it work???

-- "What do you mean my birth certificate's expired!

View Paul Pomerleau's profile

Paul Pomerleau

309 posts in 3054 days

#6 posted 11-27-2011 04:12 PM

Sorry, I guess I should have explained the object of this puzzle.
You can see that there are four dowels, each nested inside its own chamber.
You push all the dowels flush with the chambers and assemble the two pieces.
Give it a shake and one of the dowels will go through the center hole of the opposing piece, locking it in place.
No matter which way you tilt the puzzle, at least one dowel will be inserted in the hole, holding them together.
The object of the puzzle, is to take the two pieces apart.

-- Close to Ottawa Ontario Canada

View ugoboy's profile


118 posts in 3395 days

#7 posted 11-27-2011 06:02 PM

Beautiful job!! It is amazingly simple puzzle I really like what you have done!


-- ~ Guy Woodward, Pflugerville Texas

View SgtSnafu's profile


960 posts in 3633 days

#8 posted 11-28-2011 06:28 PM

Well done puzzle
Love the new building process (and story to go along with it..)

Thanks for sharing

-- Scotty - aka... SgtSnafu - Randleman NC

View Marc's profile


101 posts in 3370 days

#9 posted 02-29-2012 04:29 AM

I finished up my version this weekend. Thanks for the inspiration!

-- Marc,

View meaded's profile


409 posts in 4068 days

#10 posted 01-06-2013 04:18 PM

How do you solve the puzzle to take them apart?

View Paul Pomerleau's profile

Paul Pomerleau

309 posts in 3054 days

#11 posted 01-06-2013 08:33 PM

I sent the solution to you Meaded via PM.

-- Close to Ottawa Ontario Canada

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