A travel chest Kumiki puzzle

This puzzle came to me from ebay via a friend in the US. The seller took it apart to ship, but unfortunately they forgot to put one piece in. Then one of the pieces got mixed up with the packaging. So I thought that I was going to get 12 pieces instead of the 14 it should be. Thankfully the seller shipped the missing part and the last piece was discovered, making me a happy chap again.

It is one of the kumiki puzzles that can be used as a money box, the slot can just be seen under the roof of the box. 

Looking up on the internet I think this is called a "Norimono" in Japan - does anyone know for sure? I can see the characters for Kumiki on the label, but the rest is lost on me. 

Posted on January 15, 2017 .

3 Piece burr cube

This design came about because I was trying to make something that looked like a Kumiki cube, but that had a 3 piece burr in the middle. I took the Castel, designed by Yavuz Demirhan, and used that as the base for the puzzle. I removed 2 cubies from his design to allow the pieces to work. This was the final puzzle after playing around with a number of others, and this was a significant increase in the number of moves to solve. Interestingly the 3 piece burr is still a single solution. 

I am particularly pleased that the 4 double cube pieces are identical. 

Eric Fuller made a similar looking puzzle designed by William Hu Called Band Cube, and I am sure there are other similar designs. 


Posted on November 21, 2015 .

Kumiki - when is it different?

So when is a kumiki puzzle different - that is a question I have been pondering recently. I was first made aware of potential differences in identical looking puzzles by Martin Watson. He showed that the barrel can have the first move (which is usually 2 pieces) either horizontally, vertically, or from the top. This is basically a rotation of the first move.

So I started looking to see if any of the puzzles that looked the same were in fact different in construction. 


Apart from the the first move being along a different axis there are a number of differences that can be found in Kumiki puzzles. 

Firstly there is a completely different key piece or pieces

So these two pagoda puzzles look very similar, there are some cosmetic differences to the top of the tower, and slight differences in the shaping of the roof pieces. However, they have very different first moves.


The one on the left a solid key piece that simply slides out.







Whilst the one on the right has a twist key which releases the rest of the puzzle

So obviously both puzzles need to be in the collection.

This kind of difference can be seen on very common puzzles too, for instance the cube puzzle is one of the basic puzzles, and the standard has 2 pieces that slide out together. However, there is a version that only has a single key piece. 

The same with the planet / Jupiter / Flying saucer puzzle. 


The interesting thing is when there are very different moves, and a great example of this is the Trolley. Sometimes labeled as San Francisco, or even "Desire". There are 3 different first moves that I am aware of, a solid key piece that slides out of the middle of the trolley - a bit like the common pig puzzle, 2 pieces that slide out on the underside of the puzzle, and a single piece that slides out of the top.

See on the image below for the each example.

So you can see that next time you see a puzzle and think " I have one of those ", you may want to look a little more carefully.


Posted on September 7, 2015 .

Kumiki Fruit

Added more photographs of my collection, this time a healthy option with fruit puzzles. Includes a nice set of 4 puzzles in the box, which are painted and have additional paper/wire leaves.

Mostly they have 2 key pieces that are removed together and are similar to the standard cube/sphere puzzles. 

Posted on August 27, 2015 .

Photography of collection

Started photographing my Kumiki collection. This is going to take a while!!!

I recently purchased a collection of figural puzzles, with mostly wooden interlocking puzzles, but it does include examples of plastic puzzles too. I have been sorting my collection into related groups, e.g. space, guns, fruit, animals, buildings etc. Once I have gone through the collection I will have a number of duplicate puzzles, some of which are common, but a number of them are less so.

Once I have photographed all the puzzles, I then plan to scan the solution sheets in and link them to to relevant puzzle. This is a bit of a challenge, as most of the solutions are not stored with the puzzles - and although some puzzles look the same, they have different structures, so I need to scan the solution, find each puzzle that looks like it might be the same and then test the solution on it. My how those winter nights are going to fly by !

Anyway, hope you enjoy browsing the galleries I am uploading, they will increase as I complete each section. Let me know what you think, and any suggestions are welcome.

Posted on August 20, 2015 .

My first Kumiki design - Panda

I have wanted to design a Kumiki for a while, but just needed some inspiration. I decided that designing one for the IPP puzzle exchange would be a good incentive, and also as a present for my stepson. As he likes Pandas it was an easy choice of what shape to make. I do have a panda in my collection, but it has a basic square body, and just the head indicates what it is.

I also added the constraint that it should be black and white, but that the pieces should not be coloured, but use the natural material colours to decorate it. The first design needed a little tweeking, and with the help of Steve Nichols, one was 3d printed. Some light sanding of the pieces (need to adjust the tollerances of the data file) and the puzzle went together. 

I am really pleased with the way it has worked out, and although it is a simple puzzle is does look good. 

Next I want to add a bit more complexity to the puzzle, so that it is more challenging. Watch this space......

Posted on July 14, 2015 .

Kumiki Bear

This was part of a box of puzzles I bought recently. There were 3 fairly rare puzzles in the box, including an Origami Crane Kumiki puzzle. This one is slightly damaged and appears to have been glued at some stage. Always makes it more difficult to take part.


Posted on May 19, 2015 .

Journet Elusive picture puzzle

Illusive Picture

Managed to find another of the Illusive picture range - still trying to find out how many there are. Spent half an hour solving the puzzle, they do become more difficult when the cardboard backing warps slightly. 

Posted on May 13, 2015 .


design for kimiki puzzle finished. Seems ok but can't post pictures yet, it is a surprise for someone 😊 

Posted on May 6, 2015 .

New design

I decided to have a go at designing a new kimiki puzzle and it seems to have worked out ok. Having it 3D printed to start but hope to have it made in wood soon. Playing with ideas for different woods to match in with designs, so black and white woods for a penguin, maybe some lacewood for a fish, and of course zebrano. Will post some pics when I have a puzzle finisbed

Posted on April 14, 2015 .

Happy Easter

The Kumiki easter parade is in full swing :) 

The two painted figures are from Shackman and were sold as Easter gifts.

Posted on April 2, 2015 .

Journet puzzles

It has been a while since I bought any new Journet puzzles, but I recently managed to get 3 all in one week. These are the square ones they made as a separate range to their normal ones, and I believe they were sold by Woolworths. 

Eclipse, Tree of Success and Green eyed Kitty

Posted on March 26, 2015 .

More from Izumia

I found some kumiki puzzles for sale on Amazon, except this was Amazon.JP - so my usual id didn't work. Having setup a new ID and bought the puzzles, I half expected the transaction to fail due to shipping address - but no, it all worked! A very happy puzzler. Below is the puzzle that caught my attention, although I did buy a couple of others :)

Posted on March 18, 2015 .

German (?) puzzles

I recently bought a box of puzzles that was sold as being German. They are very similar to the Shackman and Reichel figures, but do appear to be quite old. Does anyone have any information on them? The picture of one of them is below - a Sailor playing an accordion.

Posted on March 2, 2015 .

Shackman Rabbit

The latest one to add to my collection. This is the easter Rabbit, there is also a Chick which may have been a seasonal puzzle, a Santa and I have seen pictures of a pumpkin (one on my wish list!). Fairly standard puzzle with a wedge piece with the head attached. Similar to the Reichel puzzles. 

Posted on February 25, 2015 .

Expensive month

Isn't it always the way, no interesting puzzles for a couple of months, then loads all at once. Still waiting on bids for a few items, but have a collection of Kumiki and 9 Journet puzzles on their way. Pictures to follow.


Posted on February 24, 2015 .

More puzzles!!

Yes, I have just won another ebay auction. This time there are some REALLY rare puzzles :) Interestingly, the 3 puzzles they had as the main picture were actually the most common of the puzzles - a Torii, a small boat and round burr puzzle. Most times that I see the word 'rare' in puzzle description I am a bit flippant - "Yeah I have six of that one!" - but this time there are 3 that I don't have and one that is actually fairly rare. Not even an elephant, cube, ball or pig in the selection. I did have to spend a bit more than I hoped as 2 other people bid it up over the last day. 

So what is in the selection ? I will post pictures when I have received them - and one of the ones they photographed and described was completely different to the name they gave it.

Watch this space..........................................................

Posted on February 20, 2015 .