Lets talk about ME

Benno de Grote

You might be asking yourself, "how do you learn to make puzzle boxes"? Let me tell you my story. I’ve always been interested in puzzles. When I was about 5 years old my dad always printed mazes for me to solve. I’ve always liked brain teaser games and I love to solve 3D puzzles. But most of all I like secrets...

When I became 9 years old my parents gave me a puzzle lock on my birthday. The lock did have a key but it wouldn't work on the lock. In order to open the lock you needed to perform a small trick. I loved the idea of locking something up and only being able to open it if you solved the riddle. I really liked playing with lego at that age so I started making small trick boxes from it. After some time the trick boxes became more complicated, and I started to use mechanisms like air pressure. I even sold one of the boxes. When I became 10 most of my friends knew I loved making these boxes with lego.

Then something great happened! A Chinese friend of my neighbour came visit him. As a present he gave a small Chinese puzzle box. They showed me this box, and I immediately loved it. I started searching on the internet to find some building instructions for a wooden puzzle box. Luckily I did find some. I started making one with some help from my father. It took me ages to make this box and it looked quite ugly. But it worked! I loved to tease my friends with it because most of them didn’t manage to open the box (apparently not all children of 10 appreciate wood art).

I started to make more boxes and they became more complicated with every try. Although I used building plans for the first boxes I build, I started to really understand the mechanism of them. I was able to see a video of a puzzle box and imagine how the mechanism works. I started to build boxes based on the work of other people, but without any building plans. When I became 14 I was able to design a puzzle box all by myself. Because my parents didn’t do a lot with wood I only had limited tools to make the boxes. I had to cut everything by hand

Because I had to do it all by hand, I became quite talented in it. Because of that, making simple puzzle boxes wasn’t a challenge anymore. I started designing more complicated puzzle boxes and I tried to keep it a challenge. Every puzzle box has to be special. I try to experiment with different materials, different mechanisms or even electronics. It keeps it interesting for me.

I film every box I make and put them on youtube. I get a lot of questions about how to make your own puzzle box. I decided It would be nice to share the joy I find in the making of puzzle boxes with the world. On this website I sell building plans for the puzzle boxes I created. With the money I earn I buy tools to make new boxes and coffee to concentrate.  I’m going to do my best to teach you how to make your own puzzle box and I'm sure your friends will be mind blown by the masterpieces you'll create. I hope you’ll love it as much as I do.