I'm thinking the solution requires a hammer.
July 14, 2005 12:25 PM   Subscribe

This puzzle is driving me nuts! A glass bottle, bolts, and a wood rod.

My mom picked this up at a garage sale for me. There is a picture here but mine has 3 bolts and a much longer neck, like a wine bottle. The bolts aren't tightened completely so they can shimmy from side to side but the width of them is such that they will not fit through the neck of the bottle. The say the hardest part is getting the rod back in, but I can't even figure the first part of getting it out. I know i'm not explaining it well for someone who hasn't seen it, but has anyone come across this and know the trick?
posted by Ugh to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total)
This page has a related puzzle. Any chance the marble fell out?
posted by mzurer at 12:37 PM on July 14, 2005

Maybe you have to put a marble in it? Potential solution.
posted by driveler at 1:00 PM on July 14, 2005

Response by poster: I thought that too until I found the one I linked to. Seems as if a marble doesn't come with that one either.
posted by Ugh at 1:13 PM on July 14, 2005

How long are the bolts, how tight are the nuts, and how much wiggle room is there between the rod and the neck? I mean, puzzles like this take a lot of experimentation, and I don't know what you've tried. Can you pull the rod partially out (so the top nut is flush with the bottom of the neck) and get enough traction to turn it there? That would be the first thing I tried.
posted by muddgirl at 1:15 PM on July 14, 2005

It would seem that getting it out requires twisting the nuts off the bolts and then letting the bolts slip out of the holes -- freeing the stick. However, if that is the correct way of beating this puzzle, then how the hell will you get the bolts back in the holes of the stick, and then screw the nuts back on from inside the bottle?

There has to be something else to it.
posted by pmbuko at 1:33 PM on July 14, 2005

Probably not, but wouldn't soaking the wood make the holes bigger as the wood swells? Whether it works depends on how big the holes are already. Does seem like rather a long shot.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 1:49 PM on July 14, 2005

Best answer: My grandfather made one of these (non marbel version) and after I fooled with it for a while he showed me how to get the stick both in and out. His version has three nuts and bolts.

Getting the nuts off the bolt is easiest. Turn the bottle horizontal and rotate the stick around so that the bolt closest to the bottom of the bottle is horizontal as well. Then pull the stick as far out of the bottle as you can and hold it so that the nut is not contacting the wall of the bottle. Quickly move the stick in and down so that the nut strikes the wall of the bottle. It takes practice, but eventually you will be able to roll the nut off the end of the bolt. You should try to catch the "corner" of the nut on the wall of the bottle. Spin the stick 90 degrees and repeat for the other nut.

To get the nuts back on the bolt, again turn the bottle horizontal. You will have to use the stick to stand up one of the bolts on its head and then carefully lower the stick over it. Rotate the stick 180 degrees so that the bolt is hanging down. Position a nut underneath it, lower the end of the bolt onto the nut, and then move the stick in a counter-clockwise circle to get the nut started on the bolt. Once it is on, rotate the stick 90 degrees and roll the nut on in the same way you rolled it off.

Be patient...you will eventually learn the right touch.
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 1:56 PM on July 14, 2005

I should say that my directions for rolling the nut off assume that the nut is on the left side of the stick as you are looking down on the bottle. Otherwise you will be rolling it the wrong way!
posted by mbd1mbd1 at 1:59 PM on July 14, 2005

Response by poster: Thank you! It took a while to understand what you were saying, but i've already started to get the bolts off.
posted by Ugh at 3:08 PM on July 14, 2005

A faster way might be to snake a rubber band into the neck of the bottle, get it round the nut and then work the nut loose by pullying the rubber band over the nut.
posted by jimfl at 9:10 PM on July 14, 2005

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