Friday 25 January 2013

Three Burrs from Greg Benedetti (Blind Burr, Glued, Odd Repartition)

Odd Repartition, Glued and Blind Burr
Right, another review on burrs, strangely addicted to them at the moment!!!

Two of these I acquired on the Puzzle Paradise auction website, however I just "Bought Now" instead of actually winning the auctions!! The third, I to mention to Greg whilst sorting out my order and he happened to have a couple prototypes left!!

They are all designed by Gregory Benedetti and made by Maurice Vigouroux, apart from Glued, which Greg made himself.

Glued by Gregory Benedetti
Which is where I'll start, Glued. Made in the strikingly dark Bolivian Santos Rosewood, it's not your average six piece burr. Mine came disassembled, but given its name I wasn't at all surprised by its configuration, which I had already presumed before it arrived.

Also, by having it come disassembled, it made the burr slightly more tricky to put together as I hadn't had to take it apart first and therefore (even subconsciously!!) remember where the pieces came from.

Took me probably an hour to get it together mainly because of a little precise rotation needed, which really adds a something to the otherwise simplicity of this burr.

Overall, a very nice little burr, in a beautifully striking wood, with a extra twist thrown in for good measure.

On to the second burr now, Odd Repartition, made in European Walnut.

Odd Repartition by Gregory Benedetti
Now I didn't really know what to expect with this one. The reason being it's my first nine piece burr, which of course means it's trickier than the standard six piece burrs that I've bought before. However, I severely underestimated its complexity and foolishly asked it to come disassembled as well. Also, as you can see, the pieces are arranged in an "Odd" fashion which again adds to the difficulty.

But the main reason for the difficulty of this one (aside from the nine pieces and odd arrangement!!) is the fact that it takes nine moves to remove the first piece and then another 13 to remove the second. I thought knowing this before I put it back together would help me, but it doesn't.

Therefore, I'm ashamed to say I had to cheat with this one. There is a brilliant program called Burr Tools, which is a program created by puzzlers to help work out how many possible solutions there are to specific puzzle, with specific pieces, and how many of those solutions are actually possible to put together with the specific pieces.

It's a brilliant program to have as a back up. I spent a whole day puzzling on the Odd Repartition before I had to revert to Burr Tools. In the program you create each piece of the puzzle (base units) out of blocks in a grid of specific dimensions and also the completed shape of the puzzle. You can then select the finished shape and it works out how many possible arrangements there are to make that shape. Then, on the click of another button, which arrangement is actually possible and how many moves to disassemble it, piece by piece.

Anywho, I probably would never had assembled Odd Repartition without the help of Burr Tools as it is a brilliantly complicated burr.

Finally, the last burr from Greg was a prototype version of his Blind Burr, a burr which I though I had missed out on. Obviously, I had to mention it to him when I was ordering the other two and ask if he was ever planning on making any more in the future. To which he said that he had a couple prototypes left over, ones that were made to establish the woods that the production ones would be made out of. I had the choice out of European Walnut and Purpleheart.

So here it is, my Purpleheart Blind Burr Prototype. It works just as well as the production ones do, except it's got a few rough edges, but I'm most definitely pleased with it!!!

And my, what a burr!!! Fortunately, Greg refused to send me this one disassembled because of how special it is inside.

Blind Burr
To start with three of the pieces move straight away, but they don't seem to go anywhere. Then you notice something odd about how these move and how far each time.

Eventually, with a little Think(c)-ing (Allard quote!!), you realise what is going on and how it's possible. But what next?!?!

A little more fiddling and three more bits move and the whole thing falls apart, leaving you amazed at all the pieces and the extra little trick, which makes it easier to put together and more difficult to get apart, astonishing!!!

Greg states that:
"I like to define Blind Burr like a tricky opening burr. It's not a matter of number of moves, but I can say it can be solved in 3 steps. When you know how to solve it, it can be solved in 3 seconds, when you don't know, you can turn around a very long time … It's not easy to reassemble, but it's not the main part" - Gregory Benedetti
So, as you can tell, I'm very pleased with my burrs from Greg and will definitely look out for more from him (and Maurice Vigouroux) in the future!!

That's all for now!!!

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