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Author Topic: Quality of Kamei boxes
Ramneek Bains
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Member # 116

posted May 08, 2001 07:23 PM     Profile for Ramneek Bains   Email Ramneek Bains     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I've just started looking into puzzles and puzzle boxes and I'm looking for anybody's advice about Akio Kamei's boxes. They are beautiful, but during one Internet session I found a site where the guy was saying that the woods used in the construction were unstable. In fact they were so unstable that the joints had popped and that he had seen some boxes where all the joints had popped.

Now I'm interested in getting a Kamei box but do they require extra special care against heat and humidity. If so what are the reproductions like at 'bits and pieces'? Thanks.


Posts: 2 | From: | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
John Rausch
Chief Metagrobologist
Member # 1

posted May 08, 2001 11:20 PM     Profile for John Rausch   Author's Homepage   Email John Rausch     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
You are probably talking about my web site!

Many of the Kamei boxes suffer in dry conditions and I have seen boxes where every glue joint had failed. This is an exceptional case. Kamei, and all Japanese trick opening boxes, are made with extremely close tolerances and are affected by humidity changes. Proper care - often just a glass of water kept in a closed cabinet with them - can prevent these problems in most cases. All of the original Kamei boxes I own are in fine condition after many years.

The original language on the Kamei page has been updated in recent weeks. I would not hesitate to buy a Kamei box.

--------------------

John Rausch


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Kathleen Malcolmson
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Member # 31

posted May 09, 2001 02:38 PM     Profile for Kathleen Malcolmson   Author's Homepage   Email Kathleen Malcolmson     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Akio Kamei-made puzzle boxes are excellently crafted and designed in my opinion. Many puzzle-type boxes do need more care than ordinary wooden boxes because of the close tolerances, joinery, etc. required to implement the puzzling qualities of the box. Making puzzle boxes of wood is rarely fool-proof, but Kamei-san is one of the best. For storage, I keep the boxes that I collect and make at 50-60% humidity (using a humidifier for large rooms) and out of the sun and away from heat sources. I also recommend keeping them stored in the closed or solved position (while not working on them) so that individual parts don't begin to move or warp while left apart. These methods have worked for me. I live in Colorado at about 10-25% humidity, so other areas will not have to be so careful.
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Jim Strayer
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Member # 13

posted May 09, 2001 05:52 PM     Profile for Jim Strayer   Author's Homepage   Email Jim Strayer     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
As the proud owner of 43 original Kamei boxes, I concur with the above comments. Kamei's work is exquisite. All of my boxes are functional (although a few can be opened only at certain times of the year (I live in Pennsylvania) due to humidity fluctuations). It's kind of a puzzle to figure out when they will open! As for the Bits and Pieces reproductions, my only experience was with the Gift Box (Kamei calls it the Letter Box). I was extremely unimpressed with this particular reproduction. The wood split and warped so badly that you could open the box without using the mechanism! I am told, though, that other reproductions (for example, the Pentagon Box) are actually ok (and much cheaper!).
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Ginda Fisher
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Member # 60

posted May 09, 2001 10:05 PM     Profile for Ginda Fisher   Author's Homepage   Email Ginda Fisher     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I've had back luck with the reproductions. I'd advise against them.

I've never bought a real Kamei because my humidity varies a lot (dry in winter, wet in summer) and I don't want to risk it. I'm told they vary, and some are very humidity sensitive, but others are not.


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Ramneek Bains
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Member # 116

posted May 13, 2001 07:52 PM     Profile for Ramneek Bains   Email Ramneek Bains     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Ok, thanks everybody for their advice. Now I need advice on ways of storing my potential purchase. I've have bought Japanese puzzle boxes before and these reside in a wooden box I have in my room away from the radiator. In turn the puzzle boxes are sealed within a plastic zip-lock bag each.

Do you think that the same sort of method would be suitable for the things the Karakuri Creation Group make? Is there anything else that I could do? Would having a humidifier be of any use if the puzzle box were in a storage box? Should I put a small bowl of water in the storage box as well?

Basically what short of having a climate-controlled room can I do to protect the puzzle boxes?


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Lionel Depeux
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Member # 159

posted October 30, 2017 09:00 AM     Profile for Lionel Depeux   Author's Homepage   Email Lionel Depeux     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ramneek Bains:
In turn the puzzle boxes are sealed within a plastic zip-lock bag each.


Hello,

This is what I myself used to do, but now I'm no longer sure this is the safest way to keep one's wooden puzzle boxes. The reasons is quite obvious (at least it is to me): If there's any residual humidity left in the wood (either from improper drying or from previous location/storage), then keeping it sealed may only result in further damage to the box since there's no other place that humidity may go whenever sealed.

Maybe some woodworkers here will b e willing to confirm this as fact.

BR,
Lionel


Posts: 73 | From: | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged

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