Kumiki Puzzles

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Kumiki is a Japanese word that means “to join wood together.” In Japan, the word kumiki refers to several different varieties of wood craft.

For our purposes, a kumiki is a 3-dimensional wooden interlocking solid puzzle made in a familiar shape.

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Click on any photo for more information about that item
Round Flower Great Pagoda 9 piece, color
bullet2" x 2" x 2" (5.1 cm x 5.1 cm x 5.1 cm
bulletWeight: 0.4 ounces (12 g)
bulletDifficulty: Easy - Moderate
bulletSlocum Classification: 3.4


Round Flower Round Flowers
bulletJapanese “Ho” wood
bullet12 pieces
bulletDifficulty: Moderate


Geta Geta
bullet12 pieces
bulletAn unusual kumiki
bullet3.5" x 2.75" x 2.75"
bulletDifficulty: Moderate


Barrel Barrels
bullet2 different size puzzles
bullet14 pieces
bulletJapanese “Ho” wood - unfinished
bulletDifficulty: Moderate


Steamship Parts of Cow
bulletJapanese “Ho” wood - unfinished
bullet11 pieces
bulletDifficulty: Easy - Moderate


Steamship Steamship
bulletJapanese “Ho” wood - unfinished
bullet16 pieces
bulletDifficulty: Easy


Burr Set #4 Burr Sets
bullet3 sets
bullet2 kumiki puzzles
bulletJapanese “Ho” wood
bulletInstructions included


Cabin Wagon Cabin Bank
bullet23 pieces
bulletA complex kumiki - unusual
bullet3.5" x 2.75" x 2.75"
bulletDifficulty: Moderate


Robot - small Trolley kumiki puzzle - small
bulletH 5" x W 2.5" x D 1.5"
bulletWeight: 2.5 ounces
bulletDifficulty: Easy
bulletNumber of pieces: 12


Lucky Owl Lucky Owl
bullet14" x 3.25" x 1.13"
bulletDifficulty: Easy
bulletNumber of pieces: 6
bulletJapanese “Ho” wood - unfinished
bulletSliding dovetail construction


Lucky Owl Lion
bullet2/12 tall, 5" long
bulletUnfinished Japanese ho wood
bullet12 pieces
bulletDifficulty: Moderate
bulletSlocum Classification: 3.1


Cottage Cottages
bullet4.25" x 4" x 3"
bulletWeight: 4.2 ounces
bullet12 pieces
bulletIt is a coin bank
bulletDifficulty: Easy


Great Pagoda Great Pagodas
bullet3 different sizes
bulletAlso called "Crystal Burrs"
bulletThe biggest one has a stand
bulletDifficulty: Easy - Difficult


Custom Cube Custom Cube
bulletCustom made for Cleverwood
bulletLaminated hardwoods
bullet20 pieces
bulletDifficulty: Moderate


129 Piece Great Pagoda Custom Great Pagoda
bullet129 pieces
bulletCustom made for Cleverwood
bulletGift Boxed
bulletDifficulty: Very Difficult


Cleverwood imports our kumiki puzzles directly from the workshops in Odawara and Oisi, Japan. Cleverwood deals personally with the makers, so we are able to offer a huge selection of high quality kumiki puzzles to you at exceptionally reasonable prices: $3.50 - $96.00. With more than seventy different kinds, Cleverwood has the greatest selection of kumiki puzzles outside of Japan, and the largest selection available at any web site.
K_5StoryPagoda_slim.JPG (15751 bytes)Wooden interlocking figural puzzles made in Germany are mentioned in the classic book, Professor Hoffmann’s Puzzles Old and New of 1893. Although Japanese artists may not have been the first to make this puzzle craft form, they have fully developed the interlocking figural puzzles now known as kumiki to the highest degree.

K_5StoryPagoda_slim.JPG (15751 bytes)Traditional Japanese craftsmen did not use nails in building construction because nailed wooden joints were easily compromised during earthquakes. They developed ingenious methods of interlocking wood joinery that would stand up to earthquakes. Even today, books are available on the unique, traditional wood joinery of Japanese craftsman. Kumiki puzzles utilize the concept of notched joinery to make interesting looking and working puzzles.

Tsunetaro Yamanaka (1874-1954) was the first craftsman to develop the figural wooden interlocking puzzles known as kumiki. He designed and constructed puzzles that resembled buildings and vehicles, not just abstract shapes like spheres and cubes. His descendants continued to carry on the tradition, still creating new puzzles including animal shapes. Today, Tadaaki Yamanaka, great grandson of Tsunetaro, continues his great grandfather’s work. The “Robot” kumiki is an example of one of his newer designs (1993)

K_5StoryPagoda_slim.JPG (15751 bytes)There are four different Kumiki design techniques: oshi, mawashi, kendon and sayubiki. The first means push, these puzzles have a key piece which has to be pushed out. Puzzles based on the mawashi principle have a piece which has to be twisted in order to solve the puzzle. In kendon puzzles you have to remove a piece by moving up and down or from left to right. With sayubiki two key pieces have to be removed simultaneously. The key piece is always skillfully hidden.
Most kumiki puzzles are made from Japanese ho wood and are unfinished, but we have quite a few deluxe kumiki which are extra large and dyed. Ho wood is also known as Boku or Japanese Magnolia - “Magnolia Hypoleuca.”

To learn more about interlocking solid puzzles read the books of Jerry Slocum,  Puzzle Collector and noted author of books about Mechanical Puzzles.

•Because they are so inexpensive, Kumiki puzzles are perfectly suited for beginning puzzle collectors - especially children.

Guaranteed Quality
Each and every kumiki puzzle we sell here at Cleverwood is carefully visually inspected right before it is shipped to you. We look at the assembled puzzle carefully. But, we do not disassemble and reassemble each puzzle. That would be just too time consuming, and we are assured that the puzzles shipped to us are the very best made.
We will replace or refund any of our kumiki puzzles that you judge to be unsatisfactory within 30 days of the date you receive it. We will make all reasonable accommodations after 30 days at our discretion.
Your satisfaction is our top priority. Please read the Comments from our Customers.

Pronunciation Guide to Japanese TermsjapanC.gif (8167 bytes)



A mechanical puzzle is a self-contained object, composed of one or more parts, which involves a problem for one person to solve by manipulation using logic, reasoning, insight, luck, and/or dexterity.” - Jerry Slocum

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