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Friday, February 25, 2011

The 10 cent labyrinth challenge

About a month ago I wrote about a book I picked up called Zany Wooden Toys That Whiz, Spin, Pop, and Fly, by Bob Gilsdorf. It took a while, but managed to get hold of Bob and ask permission to make one of his projects for a video.

Guys, this is one of the best woodworking books I have ever run across. All 28 projects are ones I would like to build. In most woodworking books, I'm happy to settle for a couple that look doable. These are so creative and clever! I wish I had half the creativity as Bob.

All the projects are designed for the total beginning woodworker: you can do them all with a few basic hand tools. But what's cool is that they aren't your typical boring birdhouses and the like. These all do stuff!

No, I'm not getting compensated in any way for all this praise. I just really like the book.

In exchange for using one of Bob's plans, Fox Chapel Publishing asked me to link to the book here. If you would like to buy one, they have also given me a discount code that will save you 20%. When you check out, enter coupon code zany20. It's good until the end of the year.

One of the projects in the book is a soccer player that you control. Using an ingenious rubber band system, his legs kick a ball, but I am making two modified versions that feature the heads of Chuck Norris and Mr.T. so they can have a fight to the finish. I have no doubt Chuck Norris will win. By the way, did you know that Chuck Norris can win a game of Connect 4 in three moves? Yeah man. But this ain't the only amazing Chuck Norris fact.

I digress. The project I chose to do for the video is the "10 Cent Labyrinth Challenge". It's really simple to make, but will drive people nuts trying to solve! Enjoy the video.


  1. Cool Project as always Steve Thanks for the video but next time you may wanna think about using a scroll saw to get them cut and an emory(SP?)bored to sand I use them when I have very small areas I need to sand.

  2. Hey Steve,

    I've recently started adding trick drawers to some of my projects and I've always been fascinated by those fancy puzzle boxes, so I figured that book could be a great start for working with small parts. I had to order from a Canadian site though, cheaper shipping (even with discount).

    Keep up the great job with this site an in your shop!

  3. Very good project Steve. As always, funny video but instructional. That book is already on my wish list.

  4. Just a thought on the glue up... you could glue up the internal labyrinth pieces separately so you can clean up any squeeze out in the path and then glue up the outer pieces.

    I liked the solution for the edgeband slots! For future reference, Dremel has a plunge router "attachment" and some very small straight router bits that would have been perfect for this project!

  5. I saw the video today on youtube and i already made one.
    I was great fun to make Steve
    Thx for posting it.
    Greetings from Belgium

  6. That is an excellent little project. Any chance of explaining what the lock thing was that you didn't do. Does that give you access to the inside somehow? Keep em coming!

  7. @Wood Chuck: The only thing I can figure is that the little arm prevents people from attempting to exit from the same slot. Keeps them honest, I guess.

  8. @ Erik: Glad you made one. It's pretty simple. I wish I could have posted the pattern, but the book's publisher wouldn't allow it.

    Everyone else: I tried to hold on the three pieces long enough so you could sketch it out.

  9. The book and the projects are great! I just ordered a copy. For UK viewers it's available from Amazon.co.uk for £8.44 and free delivery with Prime.

  10. Since you're adding some banding around the puzzle, couldn't just band saw the internal pieces as well? The banding would hide the entry points.
    Otherwise, one could come up with a design that would have the slots on the two inner boards. This way, only the middle board would have no entry points.

  11. Great idea Eric!!!

  12. Since I didn't have any 1/8" inch plywood lying around, I made one out of a cardboard box. I cut five rectangles out of a side and made up my own 3D maze with an X-acto knife. Using a glue stick on the pieces kept the glue from getting inside the maze.

    Thanks for the idea. It's kept my kids busy for a few minutes. Now I have to go buy a copy of the book and waste more time :)

  13. can i have the template please :(