Product Type: Paul Lamond Games Puzzle
Newest Review: ... 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 t... more
Solving The Puzzle of Jigsaw Storage
Paul Lamond Games Jigsaw Roll
Member Name: Hishyeness
Paul Lamond Games Jigsaw Roll
Advantages: Simple and effective. A good budget solution.
Disadvantages: Quite bulky when rolled up. Colour and quality could be better.
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
Summary: A good low-cost for storage solution for occasional puzzle builders.
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