Monday, July 11, 2011

Jigsaw Puzzles

I love jigsaw puzzles and thought I would do a blog about them since they have taken most of my time up now.

What is a jigsaw puzzle?

A jigsaw puzzle is a tiling puzzle that requires the assembly of numerous small, often oddly shaped, interlocking and tessellating pieces. Each piece usually has a small part of a picture on it; when complete, a jigsaw puzzle produces a complete picture. In some cases more advanced types have appeared on the market, such as spherical jigsaws and puzzles showing optical illusions.

Jigsaw puzzles were originally created by painting a picture on a flat, rectangular piece of wood, and then cutting that picture into small pieces with a jigsaw, hence the name. John Spilsbury, a London mapmaker and engraver, is credited with commercialising jigsaw puzzles around 1760. Jigsaw puzzles have since come to be made primarily on cardboard.

During recent years a range of jigsaw puzzle accessories including boards, cases, frames and roll-up mats has become available that are designed to assist jigsaw puzzle enthusiasts. Some jigsaw enthusiasts suggest that it is unethical (against the rules) to look at the picture on the box while working on the puzzle, but most people find it to be perfectly normal to look at the box.

What is a jigsaw?

A jigsaw is a tool used for cutting arbitrary curves, such as stenciled designs or other custom shapes, into a piece of wood, metal, or other material. It can be used in a more artistic fashion than other saws, which typically cut in straight lines only. In this way, it is similar to the rasp and the chisel. Although a jigsaw can be used to cut arbitrary patterns, making a straight cut freehand is difficult even with a guide.

Traditional jigsaws are hand saws, consisting of a handle attached to a small, thin blade. The first jigsaw puzzles were made using this kind of unpowered saw. More modern jigsaws are power tools, made up of an electric motor and a reciprocating saw blade. A Jigsaw may also be referred to, by some manufacturers, as a "bayonet saw".

The first powered jigsaw was created in 1946 when Albert Kaufmann, an engineer of Scintilla AG company in St. Niklaus, Switzerland, replaced the needle on his wife's sewing machine with a saw blade

Construction of Jigsaw puzzles today

Most modern jigsaw puzzles are made out of cardboard, since they are easier and cheaper to mass produce than the original wooden models. An enlarged photograph or printed reproduction of a painting or other two-dimensional artwork is glued onto the cardboard before cutting. This board is then fed into a press. The press forces a set of hardened steel blades of the desired shape through the board until it is fully cut. This procedure is similar to making shaped cookies with a cookie cutter. The forces involved, however, are tremendously greater and a typical 1000-piece puzzle will require a press which can generate upwards of 700 tons of force to push the knives of the puzzle die through the board. A puzzle die comprises a flat board, often made from plywood, which has slots cut or burned in the same shape as the knives that will be used. These knives are set into the slots and covered in a compressible material, typically foam rubber, the function of which is the ejection of the cut puzzle pieces.
New technology has enabled laser-cutting of wooden jigsaw puzzles, which is a growing segment of the high-end jigsaw puzzle market

So really they are Laser puzzles. I have purchased a few that are soy ink and recycled paper.


Puzzle facts:

Jigsaw puzzles typically come in 300-piece, 500-piece, 750-piece, and 1,000-piece sizes, however the largest commercial puzzle has 32,256 pieces and spans 544 cm by 192 cm

The most common layout for a thousand-piece puzzle is 38 pieces by 27 pieces, for a total count of 1,026 pieces

There are also three-dimensional jigsaw puzzles. Many of these are made of wood or styrofoam and require the puzzle to be solved in a certain order; some pieces will not fit in if others are already in place. Also common are puzzle boxes: simple three-dimensional jigsaw puzzles with a small drawer or box in the center for storage.

Another type of jigsaw puzzle, which is considered a 3-D puzzle, is a puzzle globe. However like a 2-D puzzle, a globe puzzle is often made of cardboard and the assembled pieces form a single layer. But mainly like a 3-D puzzle, the final form is a three-dimensional shape. Most globe puzzles have designs representing spherical shapes such as the Earth, the Moon, and historical globes of the Earth.

The uniform-shaped fully interlocking puzzles are the most difficult, because the differences in shapes between pieces can be very subtle.

More recently, technology such as computer controlled laser and water-jet cutting machines have been used to give a much wider range of interlocking designs in wood and other materials. These methods, however, have the undesirable effect of removing a small amount of material giving a loose fit with the adjoining pieces.

Strategies:

The most commonly-used approach to building a puzzle is to start by separating the edges from the inside pieces. Once the edges are connected it is easier to move inward. For those new to puzzles, it is recommended to choose one consisting of multiple areas with contrasting designs and colors. This enables the narrowing down of potential portions of the puzzle where a particular piece will fit.



Another approach is to sort the pieces by color, and work on one color at a time. When working large areas with the same color (such as the sky in many landscape puzzles), shape is important. All the pieces of a particular color can be laid in a grid and tried against other pieces in the grid.
Many large jigsaw puzzles have redundancy in their cut pattern. Many have 180° rotational symmetry around their centre point. Puzzles of 1000 pieces also usually involve a smaller cut pattern that is repeated 4 or 6 times over the whole jigsaw, and that smaller cut pattern usually also has 180° rotational symmetry, so a particular shape may appear 8 or 12 times in the puzzle (although with truncation for edge pieces). It is possible to identify the presence of these symmetries or repetitions relatively early in the process of completing the edge frame. When redundancy is identified, it is possible to use already solved parts of the puzzle to identify the exact shapes of pieces required to complete other sections, greatly simplifying the search.


According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, doing jigsaw puzzles is one of many activities that can help keep the brain active and may contribute to reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.

Jigsaw Puzzle stories:


A story of love and dedication.

Ted Howard's Love Letter Jigsaw Puzzle Takes 15 Years To Solve!


Finally, more than 15 years later, a husband has reconstructed the love letters he sent to his wife. Mollie Howard shredded the letters that Ted Howard wrote into more than 2,000 pieces after she caught someone else reading them.

In 1993, Mr. Howard began rebuilding the letters. (A real puzzle if ever there was one!) He spent five hours per month for 15 years working this puzzle.

Mr. Howard said, "I still miss Mollie terribly but having the memories helps me through. The letters brought back so many good times."

He is writing a book with the stories contained in the letters so that they will not be forgotten and it will be called, A Week At Stanton. He wrote the letters as he travelled throughout Europe as a farmhand in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France and Holland in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

"It was love at first sight. No two ways about it. I was at a village feast (fair) and this girl jumped off the carousel and came careering into me. It turned out to be Mollie. That was July 19th, 1948."

They married in 1955 when Mollie was 18 and Ted was 23 and went on to have three children and six grandchildren. Those grandchildren will be lucky to have this romantic story in print -- maybe one of those letters should be made into an actual jigsaw puzzle.
 
OK so that's not an actual jigsaw story, but romantic enough to post!
 
Gemberly Tan-Cagalingan Solves The World's Largest Puzzle
 
Life, The Greatest Puzzle was created especially by Royce B. McClure of New Zealand. Mr. McClure has had over a hundred puzzles published. To create this one, he used his years of experience in designing puzzles. He strived to make sure that the challenge of this puzzle was equivalent to the pleasure it gave.

If you thought that solving jigsaw puzzles was child's play, think again! At 24,000 pieces, this puzzle was no easy task! However, it was not a match for Filipino Gemberly Tan-Cagalingan. She earned the title of The First Asian who finished the largest jigsaw puzzle in the world.
 
Ms. Tan started doing puzzles when she was 11 and is 26 now. She had done 200 to 300 puzzles (up to 3,000 pieces) prior to tackling this mammoth puzzle. She would love the opportunity, if time allows, to do a bigger puzzle in the future.

Her completion time for Life, The World's Largest Puzzle was 233 hours and 5 minutes.
 
Easy Ways To Increase Your Intelligence

Jigsaw Puzzles boost intelligence

Genes account for 80 percent of your IQ and education follows. Take continuing education courses. Learn one new thing every day! Hobbies such as reading, crossword puzzles logic puzzles and (you guessed it) JIGSAW PUZZLES are all excellent. So whenever you are working that jigsaw puzzle, you are increasing your intelligence!
 
Jigsaw Puzzle Solving Style Reveals Your Personality

Jigsaw style - are you hoarder, border obsessive or opportunist?

Have you ever experienced 'jigsaw rage?' Researchers at the University of Bath studied this issue and discovered that people have different approaches to puzzling and that, when there are two different approaches, there can be trouble.

What sort of trouble you say? Well how about when your brother hides the last piece in order to be the winner? How about when your spouse does not allow you to touch 'her' part of the puzzle. How about when you withhold the extra pieces and refuse to allow your partner to touch them?

 University of Bath researchers used jigsaw puzzlers to study how people collaborate. They had individuals work on a 120-piece jigsaw puzzle, either alone or in a group.

They discovered categories of puzzlers including hoarders, border obsessives and opportunists.

Hoarders will shield parts of the finished puzzles or hide the picture on the lid from others.
 
Border obsessives must complete the border before they move on to the rest of the puzzle. They often dominate groups -- controlling decisions and behaviors.

Opportunists sort piles by criteria. They use different ways to solve the puzzle - from the top to the bottom, from a major part of the picture, etc. Opportunists did better when completing a puzzle alone.

 Puzzlers altered their approach when they were asked to work in a group, especially if the person they worked with was of a different personality style.

The strategy you use to solve your puzzle likely is indicative of your personality and level of skill although in a lesser way than the extremes shown during puzzle solving.
 
I would be an opportunist and my partner in puzzles (my hubby) is a border obsessive.
 
 

 President George Bush's Favorite Jigsaw Puzzles

Artwork by British painter Howard Robinson

President George Bush is apparently a fan of jigsaw puzzles. His puzzle of choice? Puzzles depicting the artwork of British painter Howard Robinson.

He enjoys Mr. Robinson's puzzles so much that First Lady Laura Bush had Mr. Robinson paint the President's dogs, Miss Beazley and Barney, for his 60th birthday.

Mr. Robinson explained, "never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that the President of the United States of America would be sitting in Camp David doing one of my puzzles."

 
laura-bush-puzzle

 
The Presidential Pets 550 Piece Jigsaw Puzzle By White Mountain

The puzzle that was commissioned by Laura Bush for George Bush's 60th birthday featuring their dogs.








Celebrate German Jigsaw Puzzle Day on September 28th . Town of Ravensburg (think Ravensburger puzzles) claims the world's largest puzzle!

This year, the townsfolk in Ravensburg joined together to put together the world's largest jigsaw puzzle with more than one million pieces! 15,000 people participated assembling 1,141,800 pieces in five hours. They would up covering a 6,500 squre foot or 600 square meter piece of town square. 4,000 smaller puzzles were assembled and then joined to create this very large puzzle
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The claim has been submitted to the Guiness Book of World Records but has not been approved yet. (October 2, 2008.)


So what to do with puzzles when you are finished?

You can throw it back in the box, or glue it with puzzle glue. Then frame it and hang it on the wall for everyone to see.

I glued a few puzzles and decided to try a different glue. I do NOT recommend it , it is worth getting the 2- 4 dollar bottle of glue. The others made my puzzle faded in color and gummy like, not to mention the others went everywhere. I used regular puzzle glue to revive this bad choice , but I almost wasted a couple hours of work on nonsense bargaining. What can I say I like to buy cheap.

Some come with an applicator , I was doing one with my husband and used a pan scraper on mine. It did wonderful (Don't use one that's dirty of course).

Some factories do not suggest gluing the metallic puzzle at all.

People suggest using the drop sheets of plastic to glue your puzzle. I bought a 50 cent poster board for mine. I figured if it glued to it it would make it sturdy, but it came right off. The newspapers stuck to them though.

I have seen some wood frames for about 15 dollars form major puzzle sites, but I have seen poster sides as well. I think these are much more cheaper and easier, depending on where you buy them.

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