Neil's Puzzle Building Blog

The Granny’s Tea Box

Towards the end of 2011, Kelly Snache; Snake, started producing a series of puzzle boxes designed around old wooden tea boxes. "The Granny's Tea Box" is the second puzzle in the series. Sadly I didn't manage to get one of the first boxes, but seeing this come up, I was fortunate enough to be able to get one. At the time of writing, there are still a couple available on so if you're quick, you may still be able to pick one up.

The Granny's Tea Box side view

The Granny's Tea Box side view

As I mentioned when I reviewed Snake's Goliath puzzle box, Kelly works almost entirely with reclaimed wood, so taking existing wooden boxes and retro fitting puzzle mechanisms to the boxes is something of a passion of his. And I have to say, he's very good at it.

The Tea box itself exudes charm, as it still has all the original printing from when it was used to store Ceylon tea (and I'm rather partial to a cup of Ceylon), and all the imperfections in the box really add to its character.

The Granny's Tea Box end view

The Granny's Tea Box end view

The first thing that strikes you about the box is the weight. The wood of the original box is incredibly light, probably some sort of balsa wood, and Kelly has done nothing to make it any heavier.

There's only one part of the box that moves which is the original sliding lid. At first it won't move far at all, and there is nothing else external that will help you. Snake has named this "The Pendulum Box" and that's the only hint you get. Before too long, you should be able to get the lid to start sliding, and you're instantly shown the mechanism that was preventing the lid from moving to start with.

After that though, there's still more to do, the box isn't open yet. With some more investigation, you'll find the way to open the rest of the way, and if you're anything like me, it will make you smile. The mechanism is simple, but clever enough to slow you down.

The Granny's Tea Box signature

The Granny's Tea Box signature

Snake has signed the bottom of the box, and numbered the puzzle in the run. Given that this is the second in the series, it's marked as #2. I have box #21 out of 24.

From what I gather, this is an easier puzzle than the first box, but I still found it to be a fun puzzle, even if it was quick to solve, and not overly challenging. Snake's ability to take old boxes and convert them into puzzles really adds new life to old boxes, and is a great way to reuse boxes that may otherwise be gathering dust. If you'd like to make some of your own, Kelly sells the plans on his new website

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