Wood Dowel Puzzle




About: I like to design and build random things.

There are eight dowel segments that you must fit into a box. You should be able to get seven pieces in with ease. What about the last piece?

This very simple project was built from scrap wood (minimal cost) and it took about an hour. I tested the puzzle on my two teenage children and both gave up after 5 minutes so I would say it’s slightly challenging.

I understand the originator of this logic puzzle was Tesa Timonen of Sweden in 2002. I reversed engineered this version from online pictures.

Step 1: Tools/Materials


  • Saw (table, miter, band or hand)
  • Sander
  • Wood Clamps


  • Wood - 5.5” x 3” x .5” thick
  • Wood - 1.5” x 19” x .5” thick
  • Dowel – 1” diameter x 20” Long
  • Glue

Step 2: Drawing

You will be building to the drawing. Yep, I just gave away the solution.

Step 3: Base

Cut wood for the base as shown.

Step 4: Sides

Cut 2 long and 2 short sides as shown.

Step 5: Box

Use glue to attach the sides to the base. Apply pressure with wood clamps. Remove excess glue and sand as necessary.

Step 6: Dowel Segments

Set your table, miter or band saw to a 30 degree angle. Cut 1” dowels to the lengths shown.

Step 7: Finished Build

Stain or paint as desired.

Step 8: Walnut Stain

Step 9: Try to Solve - First Attempt

Step 10: Try to Solve - Second Attempt

Step 11: 5 Minutes Later...

Well, actually my kids gave up and went to play on their phones. So, I'm taking this to work on Monday.

Step 12: Solution in Pictures

If you plan to build this for someone, you might want to print solution instructions to go with the puzzle.

Hope you enjoyed the project!

Step 13: ​References:

Step 14: Advanced Version

See HERE for advanced version.

Hand Tools Only Contest 2016

Participated in the
Hand Tools Only Contest 2016

Flat Pack Contest

Participated in the
Flat Pack Contest

5 People Made This Project!


  • 1 Hour Challenge

    1 Hour Challenge
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    Colors of the Rainbow Contest
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    Beauty Tips Contest

14 Discussions


2 years ago

Made it (it's a hassle posting pictures, but I really did)! Thanks so much ;)

2 replies

3 years ago

Dude, that's so nice . I'll give it a try.


3 years ago

This looks awesome..if I had the tools, I would make it! :)

1 reply

3 years ago

Awesome work, I'll have to give it a shot!

1 reply

Reply 3 years ago

Thanks. It was a pretty easy project to make and has been somewhat challenging for the few people that have given it a try.


3 years ago

Hello mtairymd

Very cool brain teaser

Thanks for all the instructions

I will make one for me

Thanks for sharing

1 reply