I quite enjoy doing jigsaws, and living in a flat in London with limited storage space I had a look at the best way to tidily store the half done puzzles. My mum has a jigsaw board which is great, but I wanted something more compact so I chose a Jigsaw Roll. There are quite a few different ones around but they are all pretty much the same. I chose one made by Paul Lamond Games as it was one of the cheaper options. It is basically a large piece of felt on which you do the puzzle (for some reason they all seem to be green) with a 'telescopic tube' which the felt is wrapped around.
The felt measures 835 x 1270mm and can be used for puzzles of up to 2000 pieces. It may be worth ironing the felt before use to avoid any creases and keep the felt nice and flat for the jigsaw. The telescopic tube means that you can change the size of the roll, so when not being used it is smaller. I have just measured mine and rolled up it measures 400mm in length and has a diameter of 140mm. I store mine under my sofa so it is totally out of the way.
When you are doing the puzzle, and decide to put it away for the day, all you need to do is place the tube at one end of the felt mat, roll it up and wrap the elastic band around the tube and fasten with the velcro- simple!
Is it any good? It does the job, but it's not perfect. It can be quite difficult to do the puzzle on the felt. It's difficult to move pieces around, it's a pain having to iron it, and the pieces don't always stay in place when you unroll it, but it is compact and easy to store.
Is it worth the £9.99 price tag? I would say no! It would be so easy to make your own, just go and buy a piece of felt and find a tube from somewhere. A cardboard roll used for posting things like posters would be ideal.
Overall, I prefer the boards, and would purchase on one of these when I have a bigger house but in the meantime I will continue to use my jigsaw roll. Only 3 stars from me.
Jigsaw puzzle roll is a simple and effect device which lets you roll up a jigsaw knowing it will remain in the same condition as when you rolled it up.
Irritating as it might be when you do a jigsaw this happens the same with this item because the jigsaw is done on fabric which can easily become worn out and stretched causing the jigsaw to bounce and flip.
You still need a flat surface to do the jigsaw on to otherwise you end up losing out. Losing out would be if a pet jumps onto the jigsaw fabric the entire puzzle disappears. You also get sections which seem to be big and stand out so it means the jigsaw is never flat but quite high up so it means pieces do not always fit together the best.
The item can be useful if you make sure you do the jigsaw on a flat service and you roll up the material which is easy and when finished rolling the fabric together you get a nice tie back to tie everything up with and place inside a box again and you get it out next time you want to do the jigsaw.
I was bought this Jigsaw roll for Christmas as I love puzzles and jigsaws when I actually have time to do them. The thing that I've always hated is the room they take up on a table, so if you don't finish it then it can get moved or everyone gets frustrated when it's still there and not done. However, this prodcut solves all that and is great for storage too. I believe you can pick one of these up for around £6.50 on Amazon which is not bad value.
So in the box it comes in you get a felt mat that is green in colour a bit like the colour of a subuteo mat and it measure 33 inches by 50 inches. This in turn comes in a sturdy cardboard tube that is about 6 inches in diameter. Then you also get three black elastic velcro straps. So, the idea of this is to make the puzzle on the mat supplied and when you have fnished for the moment or given up for a few days as you don't have the time you can just roll up the puzzle in the mat and hold it in place with the straps. So therefore you eliminate what I was saying about needing to keep space and getting in everyone's way with a puzzle that's only half finished. I have managed to do puzzles of around 2000 pieces on this mat already and they fit on it fine.
I have to confess I wasn't sure at first about it as was fairly dubious how the puzzle would stay together in the mat and thought the pieces would just become dislodged and you would lose all the work you'd put in. However, from experience now over the last few months I can say that it does work and so far the pieces have all stayed together until the next time you want to tackle it.
Now, the roll itself is not that small so you have to think about where to store it but it's still better than having the puzzle lying around in everyone's way. Plus, until you get used to it the felt can be a bit irritating as it's not easy to just slide pieces on to it.
However, in my opinion this is a great little product for all jigsaw enthusiasts and will mean you don't have to finish a puzzle in one sitting which I doubt many of us can do or have the time to do. The price is okay and it's a very simple idea. I would recommend this as a Christmas gift under the tree or a birthday...
A PUZZLING PROBLEM
This past Christmas, I was struggling to find a modest gift for my wife that didn't come across as a rushed afterthought. I find shopping for her difficult at the best of times, as the usual sorts of things (jewellery, interesting evening wear, DVDs and books) are entirely predictable.
After careful deliberation, I decided to surprise her with a thousand-piece personalised jigsaw puzzle. We have put together a few puzzles in the past, and always enjoyed making a family activity out of it, as it's far more social than staring goggle-eyed at the idiot box all night.
Having taken a great snap of our young daughter in front of the impressive National Trust maintained country house at Polseden Lacey, I sent the photo to an on-line service that specialised in these things, and, at the point of purchase, was "recommended" a handy-looking product called a "Jigsaw Roll" at a substantial discount.
I had not, at this point, considered any of the practicalities of assembling a fairly large jigsaw puzzle that would obviously take a fair bit of time to complete (the picture I had selected ensured a fiendishly difficult time of it). However, seeing the Jigsaw Roll advertised made me think about how it would be stored between puzzle-making sittings. Making a snap decision based on nothing but its on-line appearance and description, I decided to take a punt on it.
WHAT IS IT?
In the box, you get a green felt matt that measures 33 inches by 50 inches (or 835 x 1270m), a sturdy "telescopic" cardboard tube about six (6) inches in diameter - which opens up to match the length of the felt, and three black elastic straps secured with Velcro. The idea is to make the puzzle on the mat (it comfortably accommodates most-standard sized puzzles up to 2000 pieces), and then, when you have finished your session, you open out the cardboard tube, simply roll the puzzle up into the mat, secure it with the straps.
DOES IT WORK?
At first glance, I was very sceptical. I was convinced I'd been conned - I could not get my head around how the puzzle would stay together when rolled up and it seemed just as counter-intuitive for the puzzle to remain intact when it was unrolled. However, as unlikely as it looks, in practice, it works brilliantly. As long as the puzzle is rolled in quite tightly, and the rolled up tube is not unduly troubled when it is stored, the roll does a really good job of keeping the pieces firmly in place. The elastic straps and the Velcro fasteners provide a fair bit of tension and ensure a snug and secure fit.
Previously, we have had to try and carefully transfer sections of made puzzle to and from the box - a tricky operation that was unreliable at best and usually meant that a fair bit of time had to be invested in reconstructing parts we'd already put together before. The Jigsaw Roll has largely put an end to that frustration. When it has failed, it's mostly been because we've not rolled it or secured it tightly enough.
On the downside, the assembled roll measures around three (3) feet long and six (6) inches thick, so you need to think about where you'll put it as it's not exactly unobtrusive. However, if our previous experiences are anything to go by, it's a heck of a lot better than having a half-finished jigsaw occupy one end of a dining room table for the best part of three months.
Another drawback for more dedicated puzzle devotees is that the quality of the felt used leaves something to be desired. The main problem is that it is quite clingy (ironically, that's why it such a good medium for storage) making it difficult to slide individual pieces, or blocks of pieces, around. In addition, the forest green colour is not particularly easy on the eyes, and can make it hard to pick up darker colours in the jigsaw. A more neutral shade - like a light grey or beige - would have been more practical.
PRICE & AVAILABILITY
The Jigsaw Roll is manufactured and marketed by Paul Lamond Games (http://www.paul-lamond.com) a London-based company with over 25 years experience of making games and puzzles. It is currently available from Amazon.co.uk and Play.com for around £6.99 (a significant discount on the £9.99 RRP). Although the full RRP sounds pricey for a bit of felt, cardboard and elastic, put into context it's very good budget solution, especially given that other "puzzle storage solutions", such as carry cases, sell for upwards of £25.
Given this was an impulse buy, and my ambivalent first impressions, I was pleasantly surprised at how simple and effective the Jigsaw Roll is to use. If you are into making occasional puzzles and need somewhere to store them this is an ideal, low-cost solution. However, it is unlikely to meet the needs of the more frequent and discerning puzzle-maker, as the felt is a bit on the rough and clingy side, making it less than perfect as a puzzle-making surface.
Recommended (with reservations).
© Hishyeness 2010