Impossible Dovetail series by Wil Strijbos

Reviews (2)

AUD $95.45USD $

Impossible? Well, maybe not. But these dovetails really start messing with your brain when you try to work out how the two halves could possibly come apart. There is a locking mechanism to solve as well as understanding how the dovetails separate but understanding the dovetail is the main focus.

Convex still available. 15% Discount retirement sale! deal applies.

Impossible Dovetail T now sold out. 
Impossible Dovetail Concave now sold out. 



Yes, the puzzle is to separate the two parts of the rectangular prism. Each design has two pieces and each piece is a separate colour. One anodised green. One uncoloured aluminium. Thus showing the two distinct pieces that have been joined together and are now seemingly impossible to take apart.

There is a lock to solve before you can begin to separate them but Wil’s challenge is for you to understand where the pieces must be moved for you to separate them, and to see if you can do this in your mind’s eye before you even attempt the puzzle. Impossible? or a weird optical illusion?

Once apart, you can see the precision milling/cutting that has gone into making them look impossible to separate…really quite amazing. It’s no surprise that Wil says they required special custom-made tooling to machine.

Choose from 3 different puzzles in this series.  The series started with the Dovetail Concave and Dovetail Convex. Now Wil has added the Dovetail T puzzle to the group.

The Dovetail T looks quite doable at first and then you look down on it from the top and it really starts to play tricks on your mind. 
When you look at the two separate pieces it at first appears as though the tongue cannot be pulled either backwards or upwards out of the mortised piece. How can they possibly separate?

Size: 50mm x 35mm x 20mm

Like all Wil’s puzzles, they are precision made from anodised aluminium.
Wil is a true puzzle solver and has the philosophical view that puzzles should not come with solution sheets. So, if you purchase one of these puzzles there will be no solution supplied.

Additional information

Weight 0.1 kg
Dimensions 6 × 5 × 4 cm


Difficulty Level

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5 out of 5 stars

2 reviews

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What others are saying

  1. Bob Gallant


    Bob Gallant (verified owner)

    The craftsmanship is flawless, and the fit is perfect. So perfect that I have no idea how to separate the pieces, but I have only been working at it a few days. The piece is simple, so well made, and elegant, I think I would be fine if I never figure it out. Bravo Wil!

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  2. Michael Texler

    Great machining, lovely demonstration of maths...

    Michael Texler (verified owner)

    This trio of puzzles works very nicely. The machining of these puzzles is part of the solution.
    Yes they do come apart, some pre-steps are required before the solution is reached.
    The solutions require lateral thinking.
    Beware small parts (don’t lose them)!
    Like all of Wil’s works, there is deceptiveness at play.
    My only quibble is that a choice of colours would be epic.

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