Jigsaw Hints & Tips

Jigsaw – Chaos In Space

You might think that there isn’t a lot you can say about how to complete jigsaw puzzles and you would, perhaps, be quite correct in that assumption. However, as with all pastimes, there are secret little ways and means that make all the difference. Now, where to begin? Yes, once upon a time I spent some time in Nepal, living with Jigsaw Master Lu-Tze, who, strangely enough, works as a street sweeper in Kathmandu, for some reason I was never able to ascertain. But Jigsaw Master Lu-Tze is another story for another day. This is where I share my humble knowledge of the jigsaw, learned the hard way in the dojo and barefoot on the ice fields of Nepal. Well, you need to do something during the long Himalayan winter nights.

First and foremost, you require a suitable base for your jigsaw, usually a large table. And this is where I immediately fall down as I don’t have a large table. I could have a large table but would need either a larger house to go with it or an expensive extension. What I have is a large board, actually the backing from a broken picture frame. It lives on the living room floor but is portable to whatever room I want to work. This is far from a practical situation, mainly because kneeling on the floor is hard on the back, my poor old back in particular. And where do you put the pieces?

I started out with them on the floor but that really doesn’t work very well. Vacuum cleaners are the biggest threat, along with cats, dogs and people with big feet. Then along came the use of a random assortment of boards, which eventually evolved into six simple white plastic trays bought on Amazon for £24.00. The trays allow the loose pieces to be laid out face up, safely contained, easily moved and stored away and viewed with ease. They also help prevent pieces getting lost, always a concern with small jigsaw pieces.

The first task I would suggest when starting a jigsaw is to sort out the edges and corners and start with them. Gives you a framework to work from. Some jigsaw puzzlers like to sort out all the pieces into their different shapes, or colours, or whatever theme takes your fancy. Personally, I like to lay them all out in the trays, select a distinctive area from the jigsaw guide image, for example, a building, weird zombie or something interesting, select all the appropriate pieces and place them on the main board, then work from there. It can be fun sorting the pieces into different shape categories and giving them interesting names, for example, space invaders, sumo wrestlers, lefties and righties, pot-bellied man, baker street irregulars, and so on. Whatever you want.

One key thing I’ve found about doing jigsaws is that plenty of light makes all the difference. This might be down to age, I’m now in my 61st year and the good old eye sight isn’t quite what it used to be. The great thing about a jigsaw is that you spend as much or as little time as you like. There are no rules to jigsaw puzzles, you can do whatever you like.

Copyright ©2022 Gary Buckham. All rights reserved.

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