2014 | The Mad Puzzler | A Jigsaw Puzzle Blog

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Under the Sea Day "50"

We have been getting settled in our new house, and my new office/puzzle room is coming along well.  I have my new puzzle tables set up.  I use 2' x 4' adjustable height folding tables.  I have four of them, but I'm just using three right now to create a 4' x 6' puzzle area.

I reset the days counter to 50, because moving counts, right?  :)  I've gotten the puzzle unboxed and reassembled, but I haven't actually put in new pieces yet.  Things will probably go slowly until after the first week of January due to family in town.  We were supposed to have family members staying with us today, but many of them have the flu and/or bronchitis.  So far we have avoided the plague.

Ravensburger Under the Sea - 5000 pieces
Started 8/10/14
Sort time: 5 hours, 56 minutes
Assembly time: 51 hours, 54 minutes


Ravensburger Under the Sea 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Hiatus - I'm Moving!

puzzle pieces We found out today that we will settle on our new house on November 13th!  We are so excited!  I haven't had much puzzle time lately due to getting ready for the move.  I certainly won't have any now and need the space, so I am carefully packing up Under the Sea so that I can pick up where I left off once we get settled.  My new puzzle room (which will double as a home office) will have more puzzle space, so I'll be able to fit all of Under the Sea on the same area at once.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Under the Sea Day 43

Wow, it's been a while!  I haven't been able to put in much puzzle time lately due to work and preparing for our move in November.  There is so much to do!  I've been focusing on the darker coral areas and the water near the top.

Ravensburger Under the Sea - 5000 pieces
Started 8/10/14
Sort time: 5 hours, 56 minutes
Assembly time: 51 hours, 54 minutes


Ravensburger Under the Sea 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Ravensburger Under the Sea 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle close-up 1

Ravensburger Under the Sea 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle close-up 2

Ravensburger Under the Sea 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle close-up 3

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Under the Sea Day 29

It's been a while since my last update!  I haven't had a lot of time to work on this puzzle lately due to work and the holiday weekend.  I haven't gotten too many more pieces put in, but arranged a lot of the assembled sections near where they will go.

Ravensburger Under the Sea - 5000 pieces
Started 8/10/14
Sort time: 5 hours, 56 minutes
Assembly time: 43 hours, 35 minutes


This is the bottom left corner along with some other random assembled areas.


Not much more is done on the right side yet.


There isn't a lot of change to the top left corner.  I might loop back to working on this section again next.

Ravensburger Under the Sea 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Friday, September 5, 2014

Don't Mount an Unframed Puzzle Where Cats Can Reach It

The Dots puzzle has been hanging unframed-canvas-style, with the bottom about a foot and a half above the sofa where our cats love to sleep.  Over the summer we've gone to visit the in-laws several times over the weekend.  The only problem seems to be over 3 day weekends.  After July 4th, we came home to one piece torn out and a few others messed up.  At that point it was probably salvageable.  But when we came back after the Labor Day weekend, it looked like this:



Our cats are really well behaved and don't mess with furniture like your average cat, so this has been really surprising.  At first I thought it was out of spite for us being gone for 3 days, but my husband had the thought that since they love to sleep right under where it was, that maybe they were waking up, stretching, and looking for the nearest textured surface to scratch on.  It makes sense since we have one that they haven't messed with that hangs above a bookcase.  I'll still be weary in the future and won't be hanging any unframed ones less than 3 feet above any surfaces.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Under the Sea Day 16

I didn't get as much time as I thought I would to work on the puzzle over the weekend, but I made some good progress on various fish and corals, at least partial areas.  I'm going to keep working on some of the darker coral areas and then switch back to working on the water.

Ravensburger Under the Sea - 5000 pieces
Started 8/10/14
Sort time: 5 hours, 56 minutes
Assembly time: 36 hours, 56 minutes


Ravensburger Under the Sea 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Under the Sea Day 12

I am still really loving this puzzle!  The turtles have been the hardest part so far.  I think I mis-sorted some of those pieces into a "corals" bin, so I'll be coming back to it.  I started on some of the red/pink/purple shade and yellow fish, which have gone pretty quickly.  The bright colors really make this one fun.

Ravensburger Under the Sea - 5000 pieces
Started 8/10/14
Sort time: 5 hours, 56 minutes
Assembly time: 28 hours, 45 minutes


Ravensburger Under the Sea 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Ravensburger Under the Sea 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle close-up

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Under the Sea Day 8

I was able to put in some more time on this puzzle over the weekend.  I got some more of the top water area done, some parts of which go towards the right, which doesn't fit on my table right now.  I also got the pink fan coral and lionfish mostly done.  I am really enjoying this puzzle!  Next I will be working on the sea turtles, which will be fun because I love sea turtles.

Ravensburger Under the Sea - 5000 pieces
Started 8/10/14
Sort time: 5 hours, 56 minutes
Assembly time: 18 hours, 42 minutes


Ravensburger Under the Sea 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle


Here is my cute little "helper", aka piece thief - she's more mischievous than her sister.  They both love to hang out with me thought and would be really upset if I shut them out when I'm puzzling.  I just have to keep a really good eye on them.  I cover the puzzle if I'm going to turn my back for even a moment, and they aren't allowed in the room if I'm not there.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Under the Sea Day 6

It's been a busy week at work, so I haven't had a lot of time to work on it the last few days, but I'm really loving this puzzle.  I don't have room to fit the whole puzzle on my table at once (until we move), so this is the top left section.  I decided to start with the water area at the top.

Ravensburger Under the Sea - 5000 pieces
Started 8/10/14
Sort time: 5 hours, 56 minutes
Assembly time: 9 hours, 17 minutes


Ravensburger Under the Sea 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Under the Sea Day 1

I started sorting this puzzle after the mishap with Neuschwanstein Castle last night.  I am loving the bright colors, and have found the fit to be tighter than other Ravensburgers that I've done.  The whole thing won't fit on my current puzzle table, so I'll be working it in sections.  At least that won't be a problem once our house is done!

Ravensburger Under the Sea - 5000 pieces
Started 8/10/14
Sort time: 5 hours, 56 minutes
Assembly time: 1 hour, 37 minutes



Other Ravensburgers that I've done have had very regular piece shapes.  This one has some fun, slightly irregular piece shapes.  Below are most of the variations.


This one also has a nice snug fit, definitely tighter than what seems to be your average Ravensburger.


There were also more "freebies" but this was mostly due to the tight fit rather than them not being cut all the way through.


The edges are done!

Ravensburger Under the Sea 5000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Neuschwanstein Castle - The End

I had a mishap with this puzzle last night.  I was moving some sections around and I guess I wasn't careful enough.  The top left section slid off of the table, and since it's so loose pieces went everywhere.  After working on that area Friday night, that part was almost done.

Normally I'd be pretty upset, but I hadn't been feeling very motivated to work on this one, and found myself working on it to try and get it done, not because I had an urge to work on it.  I think it's mainly because of the large dark areas, which I think made me not as in love with the image as I would have been otherwise.  A large section of the same color or pattern doesn't bother me, but since many of the pieces were almost black, it was so hard to see them.

I took these two factors as a sign and decided to break it down and put it back in the box.  I didn't want to be "a quitter" but if you aren't excited to work on a particular puzzle in the first place, then you probably aren't going to be excited to re-do a bunch of lost work.  I started sorting Ravensburger's Under the Sea, which is 5000 pieces, and I'm very excited about it, which is the feeling that was missing with this one.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Neuschwanstein Castle Day 13

Progress on this one is still slow but I made some decent progress on it tonight.  I was under the weather the last few days, but tonight I got back to work on it and was able to fill in a good part of the mountain area.  Next I'll probably try to work on the dark areas around the edges again.  That's the hard part!

Clementoni Neuschwanstein Castle - 2000 pieces
Started 7/19/14
Sort time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Assembly time: 28 hours, 57 minutes


Clementoni Neuschwanstein Castle 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Neuschwanstein Castle Day 9

Progress has been slow but I was able to get most of the sky done, the tops of the mountains, and some other random pieces filled in.  Tonight I started trying to fill in some of the dark pieces along the edges.  So far that's pretty slow but I haven't been at that too long.  Tomorrow night I'll probably switch back and work on the mountains some more.

Clementoni Neuschwanstein Castle - 2000 pieces
Started 7/19/14
Sort time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Assembly time: 20 hours, 57 minutes


Clementoni Neuschwanstein Castle 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle


There's a weird circle by the bottom of one of the towers.  I found one of the pieces early on and then found the other half last night.  I still don't know what it's supposed to be, but I did find it on the box.  Really strange!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Neuschwanstein Castle Day 6

I was able to get most of the castle together last night, and worked on the sky tonight.  I decided to split it into sections so that I can move the top sections closer.  Believe it or not, the darker solid areas of the sky have been easier than the clouds.  Once I have the sky done, I think I've move down to the mountain before tackling the trees.

Clementoni Neuschwanstein Castle - 2000 pieces
Started 7/19/14
Sort time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Assembly time: 14 hours, 53 minutes


Clementoni Neuschwanstein Castle 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Apologies to Anyone to Was Linked to Linkwithin

Last night I noticed in my reporting some traffic sources from linkwithin.com, which is where I got the widget that I was using to show related posts at the bottom of a post.  Upon further investigation, I found that some viewers may have been getting redirected to linkwithin.com in between clicking on a related post, and viewing the actual post.  I wasn't aware that this was going to happen, and I would call that "not cool" and not the user experience I was going for.  I have replaced this with a different widget, which shouldn't have these issues.  Sorry to anyone who experienced this!

Neuschwanstein Castle Day 4

Even though it's been several days since I've been able to work on this one, I'm counting it as day 4.  I spent most of last week working on the blog and was away over the weekend.  Last night and tonight I was able to get a good portion of the castle done.  This is on a working board but the main board still just has the edge right now.

Clementoni Neuschwanstein Castle - 2000 pieces
Started 7/19/14
Sort time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Assembly time: 9 hours, 25 minutes



Clementoni Neuschwanstein Castle 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Thursday, July 24, 2014

New Blog Features - Including Disqus Comments


Welcome to the new look and feel of my blog!  The biggest change is the move to Disqus comments.  I experienced issues with both the built-in Blogger comments and Google+ comments where comments wouldn't show up and/or notifications wouldn't be sent.  I tried out Facebook comments on a test blog but had issues with duplicate notifications and reply lists not expanding.  Anyway, it was a bit of work but I was able to get Disqus comments working, and on mobile as well.  A Disqus account, Facebook, Google, and Twitter are accepted, along with commenting as a guest.

Note: If you comment as a guest, you won't automatically receive a notification if there is a reply to your post, but you can click the Subscribe button at the bottom of the comment box.

I have a "Recent Comments" box for the sidebar that I'll be activating once there are a few Disqus comments.  My other favorite new feature is the "featured" post area under the header.  Here I will select an important post to feature, which will probably usually be the latest completion or mounting of a large puzzle.  Part of the reason for the template change is that on my old template, the width of the main column was a bit too narrow, such that it limited the width of images.  I'm looking forward to being able to post larger images again.

The mobile view is also now improved, with a navigation menu that pops up, and widgets for labels, etc. will display on the mobile site as well.

I hope you like the changes!  I'll be working on a few additional new features on a test blog, and if I can get them working, those will be coming soon as well.

Update: Last night I was able to get the related posts area and additional sharing buttons working correctly, so that should be it for a while!

Blog Maintenance

Please bear with me while I perform an upgrade to the blog template and comment system.  Great changes coming shortly!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Neuschwanstein Castle Day 2

This one was pretty hard to sort!  Progress has been slow and I can tell that this one is going to be challenging.  I plan to start on the castle next since that should be easier than the surrounding areas.

Clementoni Neuschwanstein Castle - 2000 pieces
Started 7/19/14
Sort time: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Assembly time: 2 hours, 53 minutes


Clementoni Neuschwanstein Castle 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle

Saturday, July 19, 2014

How to Mount Large Jigsaw Puzzles Without Glue in Panels - African Animals

How to mount a large jigsaw puzzle in without glue - African Animals thumbnail This jigsaw puzzle mounting strategy builds off of mounting attempt 4, but with 4 panels.  I will soon see how this scales up with 6 panels when a do a 5000 piece.  I use 3M 568 Positionable Mounting Adhesive which is a double-sided dry adhesive, which requires no puzzle glue or spray adhesive.  Another great thing about it is that there is no time rush when using it.  You can apply the adhesive to a section and then go make a sandwich before doing the next section if you wanted to.  This adhesive is positionable until you apply pressure, which makes the bond permanent.

By mounting large puzzles in sections, they are easier to handle, hang and transport if you move, and you could also rotate them out if you don't have room on your walls for all of them.

I haven't had an issue with flipping 1000 pieces at once, and when I went to flip African Animals, I had it split into 4 sections of 750 pieces each.  On the third section I must have been a little too slow, because this happened:


I was able to carefully pick up the parts that were still connected and get it put back together pretty quickly.  For mounting this puzzle I used four 20" x 30" foam boards.  I decided to tape them together a bit to keep them from shifting when drawing the lines used to cut them to size.


Here I have drawn the lines which will separate each section.  The strip in between will not be covered with adhesive or the foam boards.  This allows the sections to separate.  As I found in mounting attempt 4 and fixed in part 2, this gap is needed so that the pegs from one side can go behind the holes from the other side.


This is a close-up of the center of the puzzle where the gaps in the foam boards will meet.


I didn't realize until after the fact that this picture came out a bit blurry, but you can see the outlines drawn where each piece will be cut.



Here the foam boards and cut and lined up where they will be once the mounting is complete.  On the sides you can see the notches I made such that you don't see the gap between the foam boards from the sides.  I goofed and forgot to make these for the top and bottom, but since this is a large puzzle you can't tell.


Here I have wrapped the edges with black duct tape to give them a nice finished look.


This is a close-up of the notches where the gaps meet. It's not necessary to cut away the foam board between the edge and the first peg on each side.  This allows the gap to not be seen from the sides.


Here the adhesive has been applied and the backing paper is still on.  This is the gap between two of the sections where the adhesive will not be placed.


Here the adhesive has been applied to most of the puzzle.  I prefer to roll it out on the puzzle and then cut it with an X-acto knife, instead of measuring it out and then laying it down.  For the smaller sections you can overlap the adhesive off of the roll and then cut away the overlap, since the adhesive does not stick to the backing paper.



Once the adhesive has been applied to the whole puzzle, you use the supplied squeegee to apply firm pressure (in both horizontal and vertical directions) to the adhesive.  This makes the adhesive permanently bonded to the back of the puzzle.


This is what it looks like as you peel back the backing paper.  The adhesive is transferred to the puzzle, and the backing paper will no longer be sticky at all.  If you see the adhesive not transferring (pulling up too much, a little more than seen here), you can simply lay the backing paper back down in that section and apply more pressure, and then try again.


Here the backing paper has been removed from a section.  I've found that I prefer to apply the adhesive to the whole puzzle, then remove the backing paper and apply the foam board to each section one at a time.  This way you don't have the adhesive exposed on the whole puzzle at the same time.  Here the foam boards have been applied to two sections, the adhesive is exposed on one, and the backing paper is still on the fourth section.


A close-up of the adhesive on the back of the puzzle.  You can see that it fills in the gaps.  This makes it such that even with a loose-fitting puzzle, the pieces don't move as the backing paper is removed.


After applying the foam boards to each section, I applied firm pressure to the back of the foam boards.  You could use a rolling pin on the back of the foam boards to apply the pressure.  I then very carefully separated the sections.  With a smaller puzzle it's possible to flip it all at once, but with a large puzzle you can't flip the whole thing while all of the sections are connected.  Once the sections are separated and flipped, the supplied protective sheet is used between the puzzle and the squeegee to protect the front of the puzzle.  Firm pressure is applied in both horizontal and vertical directions.  Along the seam edges, don't apply pressure to the half of the pieces which hang over the edge of the foam boards.  If you lightly press on these overhanging edges, they do move a bit, but I think part of this is that Ravensburger pieces aren't as stiff as other brands so they flex a bit.


Here, pressure has been applied to the front of each section, and the mounting is done!

How to mount a large jigsaw puzzle in without glue in panels

A close-up of the edge where two of the sections meet.  If you wanted to, you could use a small strip of tape over the seam on the edge, and then just slice if when you need to take the puzzle down.


The sections re-assembled:


A close-up of separating the sections:


I used the "large" size Command strips, which are rated at 16 lbs each, so they're a bit overkill but that's not a bad thing.  I avoided placing them near the seam edges on purpose so that when the puzzle is take down, force won't be applied near these edges as it's pulled off the wall.


Mounted on the wall!

How to mount a large jigsaw puzzle in without glue

Read about additional mounting projects here.