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.
interlocking figural puzzles made in Germany are mentioned in the classic book, Professor
Hoffmanns 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.
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
grandfathers work. The Robot kumiki is an example of one of his newer
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
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.