In the modern era of puzzle lock designers, undisputedly, only one or two names come to mind; Rainer Popp, the master of eleven Popplock designs to date. Dan Feldman is the other with his Danlock variants A & B. Seems like his son Boaz is also following in dad’s footsteps with his own B-Lock. The third puzzle lock craftsman who has made quite a name for himself in recent years is Shane Hales from the UK. Shane has created no less than four puzzle locks in the Haleslock series #1 to #4.
I have been very fortunate to get my hands on Shane’s Haleslock 2 and Haleslock 4 previously as well as a couple of his other non-lock wooden puzzles The Circle and Turn The Plug. All fantastic puzzles! The Haleslock 3 comes to me courtesy of Peter Hajek during the IPP37 Puzzle Exchange in Paris last year.
Shane has based his Haleslock 3 on one of these old lever padlocks. The lock comes with a key and has a shiny brassy looking front plate with a little sliding door. Externally nothing very unusual about the look and feel of the lock, so Shane must have done something to the internal mechanism to make it a puzzle lock.
simple elegant solution…but damn, i am nowhere near!
Having played with Shane’s Haleslock 2 and 4 (and a number of Popplocks), I thought I would have more experience and figure out this one pretty quickly. But apparently not. The key goes in as one would expect and even turn in both directions. At various points there is resistance when turning the key and this was all I managed to find out and the progress I made. Which was not a lot.
I tried the usual prodding of the rivets, maybe something would move (a trick I learnt from one of the Popplocks) but nothing budged. I also examined the lock a lot more closely after my “slip-up” with the Haleslock 2 but there was nothing unusual I could find.
After spending the better part of several days on and off trying this and that without any success, I threw in the towel and emailed Shane for a clue. Over the course of our email exchanges, I realised that the clues he shared with me were already some of the things that I had done, but perhaps not “far reaching enough” or the right way. Finally after some more trying, wa-lah… the shackle unlocked.
Like most puzzle locks, you cannot see the internal mechanism with the lock in the solved state. Re-locking the shackle were the steps in reverse. And I was able to do it without a cinch. Essentially, the solution lies in just a few steps…of course easy to state now on hindsight. A rather elegant solution I might add.