While you’re struggling to toast bread without burning it, metalsmith Seth Gould harnesses heat and fire to turn raw steel into masterful creations like this lock box featuring a complex series of steps that have to be perfectly executed in order to open it.
It took Gould, who was in residency at North Carolina’s Penland School of Craft at the time, almost two years to design, forge, and build “Coffer” from scratch, using iron, steel, brass, and lots and lots of heat. Filmmaker Jesse Beecher documented the process, and watching Gould make everything from bolts to springs from scratch is just as satisfying as watching him painstakingly walk through all the steps involved in actually opening the box.
Gould drew inspiration by studying the creations of lock makers who honed their designs between the 17th and 19th centuries, long before machines automated the process and removed a lot of the art and creativity from the craft. But he didn’t just copy classic designs; he instead used what he learned as a starting point to make the mechanisms inside his Coffer box truly unique, which added to its complexity. An original puzzle is infinitely harder to solve than one based on tricks and techniques often seen before.
Just don’t expect Gould to sell his puzzle box, or expect one to be even remotely affordable if you somehow convince him to make one for you. Two years is a lot of time (and sweat) to put into a creation like this, so maybe just enjoy the video a few more times while you fiddle with a Rubik’s Cube.