I happen to like wooden interlocking puzzles, and I’m not referring just to wooden architecture and furniture, but to actual puzzles themselves. Puzzles of interlocking sticks are termed ‘burrs‘.

There are various classes and types, but one that caught my eye of late is one employing hexagonal sticks. I don’t own one, but found out through a little research what the shapes of the various pieces were, and then after some head-scratching to determine the core geometry of the puzzle (there’s a prism hidden in there!), drew an assembly:

All the pieces in the 3D drawing are individually composed, and assembly together in the virtual realm in direct imitation of the actual assembly process with real wooden pieces.

My purpose for working out this puzzle goes beyond the actual object- I want to incorporate it within a piece of furniture. Here’s my first pass by the post, a splayed hexagonal stool/plant stand:

Another view:

And if one were an ant, looking up:

There would be some constructional challenges in building the piece, but I’m not envisioning anything too severe. I’ve built a splayed pentagonal stool before so a hexagonal arrangement with backed posts wouldn’t be any more difficult. The connections between the burr sticks and the legs would be the crux. Maybe someone will see this and want me to make it – or something similar – for them, who knows?

Just wanted to share a design I had come up with of late, that is all. Have a great rest of your weekend!

6 Replies to “Burr!”

  1. Julie,

    glad you like it, and thanks for the comment.

    More often than not I have a design idea which, after being rendered, is not quite as good looking as I thought it was going to be, and into the trash it goes. With the above though, I was pleased with the first sketch. I could play around a bit more in the design with using backed hexagonal legs perhaps, though I fear they might have to be on the overly chunky side to accommodate the triple stretcher tenons.


  2. Whao!
    Be nice to see the Burr stick joint exploded. . . . then again, it might cause too much premature ageing :-))
    I'm still trying to find out how you did the square Lattice weave of sticks.
    Great piece to look at and ponder, though, and you would be the one to construct it. Lets hope it comes to fruition, Chris.

  3. Diy,

    thanks for the comment. The hexagonal burr is both a puzzle to figure out the assembly and dis-assembly sequence, and a puzzle in terms of working out the geometry of how the sticks are notched. I initially figured it would be a 30˚/60˚ notching angle, but, uh-uh, that's not it.


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