What should we get to manage jigsaw puzzles?
April 15, 2018 3:35 PM   Subscribe

We want to work on puzzles and sometimes "pause" them and put them away for a while.

The family (myself, wife, and 5 yr old twins) is getting into doing jigsaw puzzles together. We were originally thinking of getting a plain old table that we would put somewhere just to do puzzles on, but then I saw this JigBoard 1500 which looks pretty appealing. I also see there are various purpose-made puzzle tables, some with drawers, some that fold up. And there are of course the felt mats that let you roll up a puzzle in progress.

We don't have experience with any of these fancy gadgets. Do you? Looking for opinions and recommendations.

posted by jclovebrew to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
I am literally reading MetaFilter in a cab while I take a puzzle in progress to my new unfurnished house so I have something to do while waiting for contractors. I use this guy, which fits nicely under my low couch between sessions. (I have cats so I have to be extra cautious)

If I were doing it again, id get the 1500 piece version that comes with sorting boards.
posted by politikitty at 3:43 PM on April 15, 2018 [6 favorites]

The wifeamamphone has that jig board. She likes it a lot.
posted by jeffamaphone at 3:43 PM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

A long time ago (~30 years ago) a good friend had a "puzzle keeper" that was effectively like a very heavy duty pizza box that had dimensions printed on the inside that helped you set the boundaries.
posted by mmascolino at 4:01 PM on April 15, 2018

If you have room for a big map (flat file) cabinet--and many antiques are available now that architects, city planners and mapmakers keep plans digitally--you can remove a drawer, set it on your regular puzzle table and both store the pieces and assemble the puzzle in the drawer itself. Put the drawer back in the flat file cabinet. They make nice big coffee tables, tv stands, etc.
posted by carmicha at 4:44 PM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

The felt rolling matt is crap. Don't get it. Bits of felt poke up when you're trying to join pieces together and you can't slide pieces when sorting, you have to pick each one up.
posted by b33j at 5:42 PM on April 15, 2018 [4 favorites]

The felt mat is cheap and works to keep your puzzle together in storage. It isn't great for actually working on the puzzle. You still need some way to transport or store the piles of pieces because the felt roll only works with a thin layer of pieces.

That board has trays. I'd go for that. Trays rule.
posted by irisclara at 6:01 PM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

I do my puzzles on a plain old piece of 20x30" foam core, which can be moved from surface to surface and room to room, and even slid under the couch when needed. My mom uses a piece of plywood. You can start cheap and work your way up to the $80 thing if you need to.
posted by donajo at 7:53 PM on April 15, 2018 [1 favorite]

Foam core FTW. Use 2 pieces per puzzle, so you can sandwich the puzzle between them to protect it. Use wide masking tape to bind the edges, and for a temporary label to indicate what puzzle is inside. Mark the top and bottom boards, so you don't open it up upside down. You can have multiple puzzle sandwiches, and stack them as needed.
posted by NumberSix at 9:26 PM on April 15, 2018 [3 favorites]

We use large self-healing cutting mats from the craft room to carry everyone's* half-finished puzzles around. We used to use a few giant-ass pieces of cardboard that I kept for this reason, but I think my wife got in a tidying mood last summer and recycled them.

* Well, not mine: if I start a puzzle I FINISH it....which is why I never start a puzzle, only finish yours.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:37 AM on April 16, 2018

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