“ Brand: Gibsons Games / Age: Adult / Pieces: 1000 „
After finding my old jigsaw puzzle game for the computer (see review - shameless plug!) I really felt like doing an actual puzzle. Unfortunately, in my house there is only one table big enough. Also a shame is the fact that this table is permanently covered with laundry (we do not exactly hold dinner parties on a regular basis).
So I decided that I would use part of my Amazon voucher (thanks Dooyoo!) to buy a puzzle board. I knew that there were puzzle rolls, which are cheaper and take up less room, but that would mean making up the puzzle on the floor anyway - being as I didn't have a big enough surface. So in the end I chose the Gibson puzzle board, which comes in various sizes - I opted for the 1,000 piece version. At the time (around two weeks ago) it cost £13, but it has now gone up to £19.95, which I think would have been a bit of a deal-breaker! But I'll get onto where else you can find it later.
A puzzle board is basically a hard board covered with a non-slip surface, with a raised edge so the pieces don't fall off. I wasn't actually quite prepared for how large it is (it holds puzzles up to 750mm x 520mm), and it was very heavy in the packaging!! Fortunately once I got over the shock and took it out of the box, I realised that it was quite easy to rest on my knees and didn't feel heavy, although getting up quickly, eg for the phone, is a bit of a pain. I would recommend "settling in" while using this and getting your phone, remotes, etc next to you!!
The board is made of thick MDF, and covered with a material I can only describe as a cross between velvet and felt. It really is non-slip. I often sit at with it a funny angle resting on my knees if the light is bouncing off the pieces making them hard to see, and you can rotate it almost 45 degrees from flat without as much as a piece sliding. I wouldn't recommend testing this out too much, I mean the laws of gravity still apply and I would hate for you to see your hard puzzling work on the floor!
It does look well made, although the join of the covering in the corners could get a tad pulled at after a while I think. Nothing a dab of glue wouldn't solve though. The instructions say that if the surface itself gets buckled you should put some heavy books onto the board to settle it..I'm not sure how well this would work because surely if it's buckled this means it is loose, and books are only going to shift the excess somewhere else, however I must say that it is completely smooth at present and I can't see this changing unless you sit it next to a radiator or somewhere really damp.
The board does work best if you are doing a landscape puzzle, as most are, but I have done a portrait puzzle on it with my feet resting on a small table in front of me and resting it on my knees. It is a lot easier to complete a puzzle on this, because you can spin the board round to work on another side, whereas you cant always get to the other side of a table. Of course, you don't have to work on the board on your knees, you can put it on a table and pick it up and move it when you need to, but it is certainly comfortable to do so.
There are three sizes available - 500 piece, 1,000 piece and 1,500 piece (which is slightly different and has a carry handle). I would recommend going for the 1,000 piece. I have made 500 piece puzzles on the board and still not had too much room to put pieces I was sorting on. It's nice to have some space around the edges to put pieces so you can come back to them. For the 1,500 piece board - I think this might be getting a little TOO big and uncomfortable to use.
Currently at Amazon.co.uk the 500 piece is going for £9.99 and the 1,000 piece, like I said, has gone up to £19.95. You can find it cheaper at www.jigthings.com for £17.50, although the 500 piece is more expensive than on Amazon here.
I will definitely continue to use the board, and it will probably be useful for other things I want to do on my lap, such as scrapbooking (providing I don't make too much mess). I think these new higher prices might have put me off, however. It makes it a lot easier to work on a puzzle, and I can just sit it in a corner when I'm done. I do remember eBay having it for about the same price as I paid, so shop around, although shipping is likely to be a fair bit for something so big (mine was free with Amazon). If you like puzzles and don't have a table big enough, I recommend it, but if you have a table buy a (cheaper) puzzle roll and roll it up when you're done!
The Jigboard is made of very rigid MDF (not soft cardboard) and is completely covered in a special soft fabric that makes them a joy to use. They can be placed on any table or shiny surface without the least fear of scratching. The fabric covering keeps the jigsaw pieces âgrippedâ to the surface. This, combined with a raised edge around the tray, ensures that individual pieces cannot slide away and get lost. Most importantly, the boards (complete with a partly assembled puzzle) can easily be moved around from place to place in the home. At the same time they are light enough to rest on your knee or to make jigsaws whilst sitting in bed. Other uses for the Jigboard include playing Patience and other solo card games.