Putting together puzzles is a treasured family pastime, but when you're piecing together those monster puzzles that take days, weeks or even months to complete, having a place to store the puzzle makes it so much easier. A strong puzzle board you can lift off the table and put away for safe keeping ensures that your work-in-progress doesn't get scattered every time dinner rolls around.
Visit your local lumber yard and have the salesman cut a 50" X 25" piece of hardwood in the variety of your choice. Handle the wood carefully as you load it into your car, as the edges may be coarse, and you could get splinters.
Sand the entire board with 80 grit sandpaper. Be sure to sand all in one direction to avoid creating unwanted scrapes and nicks in the wood while you're working. Sand along the edges to get rid of roughness and possible splinters.
Use a sheet of 120 grit sandpaper to refine your first sanding. This will work out minor scrapes and nicks, creating a smooth surface all around for you to work with. Again, move the sandpaper in one, continuous direction, and be sure to cover the entire board to keep it even.
Smooth over the entire board with 240 grit sandpaper, creating a complete, smooth finish.
Use a damp cloth to clean the board of debris and sawdust left behind during the sanding process. It is essential to clear all debris from the area before staining the wood, in order to avoid unwanted rough spots from left behind sawdust and debris.
Sponge the entire visible surface of the wood with the stain color of your choice. Make sure you work on a flat surface, and apply the stain evenly to avoid drips on the surface.
Allow the stain to dry for 12 to 24 hours, and apply a second coat. Allow the second coat to dry for 12 to 24 hours. Stains that are not dry will be sticky to the touch. Avoid touching the surface to keep from adding unwanted fingerprints.
Spray a coat of sealant evenly across the surface and allow it to dry for 8 to 12 hours.
Create a long lasting decorative piece by using puzzle glue to mount completed puzzles on the surface of your storage board.
Things You'll Need
- 50" X 25" sheet of hardwood (variety oak, maple, ash, mahogany, walnut...)
- 80 grit sandpaper
- 120 grit sandpaper
- 240 grit sandpaper
The convenience of a wooden puzzle storage board will allow you to work on your puzzle anywhere, as the hard surface provides a strong base for connecting your pieces.
Stains and sealant are both produced from harmful chemicals, which can cause health problems, or even result in death if inhaled in a closed environment. Always wear a safety mask and make sure there is constant air flow in your work area to avoid inhalation of toxic fumes.
Jennifer Hudock is an author, editor and freelancer from Pennsylvania. She has upcoming work appearing in two Library of the Living Dead Press anthologies and has been published in numerous print and online journals, including eMuse, Real TV Addict and Strange Horizons. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English/creative writing from Bloomsburg University.