I first saw this puzzle on Kevin Sadler's blog. He had bought a copy from Bernhard Schweitzer's table during the IPP34 Puzzle Party in London this August. For some strange reason, I don't recall seeing it at the Puzzle Party...hmm...maybe I was still too jet-lagged from my 13 hour plane ride from Singapore.
Doors & Drawers (D&D) is a design from Mike Toulouzas, who has won several puzzle design awards at IPP31, IPP32 and IPP34. The bulk of the workmanship of the puzzle came from Pelikan Workshop (Mike made the cute door knobs) and the puzzle is sold by Bernhard via his PuzzleWood website. I won't go into the details of this 3-party arrangement but you can read it here.
The D&D is a large puzzle and very comfortable in the hands. It resembles a miniature chest and it even comes with four little supporting feet at the bottom to complete the overall look. Quality, fit and construction is top-notch like all Pelikan-made puzzles. A combination of woods are used here...Walnut for the frame, oak for the drawers, katalox for the knobs and Bubinga for the feet.
This is not your typical burr puzzle but probably one can call it a burr puzzle box? And because of this, the D&D is really one of the more fun and interesting puzzles to solve. It not only has 3 "burr" pieces which are interlocked inside the box frame but also 3 other loose pieces (one L-shaped and two rectangular) within. The object of course is to "open" the doors and drawers and remove all 6 pieces.
Solving would require removal of the loose block pieces first, which is not too difficult and thankfully the puzzle is large so that you can quite easily see what goes on inside the box. And then figuring out how to extract the burr pieces, which is much more challenging.
I took a good hour or so to take apart and put everything back together, most time being spent on trying to remove the 3 larger burr pieces locked inside via notches and protrusions which form part of the box frame. But after the first piece is out, the other two are easy. The knobs don't merely add to the aesthetics but also serve as handles for easier pulling and pushing the pieces.
I really like the D&D because it's got other elements of play (the a-ha moments after you remove the loose blocks) apart from the burr solving. And the latter is just right IMHO in terms of difficulty. Not so overly challenging as to frustrate!
This is my first puzzle from Mike Toulouzas and judging from the D&D, I don't think it would be my last. A great puzzle with an interesting design concept. At 70 euros, its value for money too!