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Bad (jigsaw) language

Guy Turner

Bad (jigsaw) language

One thing we have noticed since getting into the jigsaw business is how little uniformity of language there is. The biggest issue this poses is how to describe what type of jigsaw you like doing, and identifying this type on the shelf before opening the box. 

Yesterday we bought a Tomax 1500 piece jigsaw - we looked at about 150 choices and struggled to agree on an image (why we started EOG in the first place). We eventually settled on this

As we started sorting the pieces, it became immediately clear that there were some significant differences between the cut of this jigsaw, and the ones I'm used to. Here's a photo of a random handful of sky...

You will notice straight away that the ratio of one type of piece cut is massively disproportionate to other cuts. In a jigsaw with as much uniform colour as this one, it immediately struck me as an issue, as those of you following our earlier post on sorting will see I like to arrange my shapes

So I went searching for a reference guide to different types of jigsaw pieces...and discovered that there was little codification or language consistency. Jigsaws like ours are called 'grid' or 'ribbon' jigsaws, as opposed to 'irregular' jigsaws, but outside this, there's really no classification around the type of pieces. 

This probably isn't surprising given there isn't even an agreed English naming convention on what the interlocking shapes are called. Wikipedia references them as tabs and blanks. However, from this book on the history of jigsaw puzzles:

Despite a few attempts at a comprehensive classification of piece shapes and cutting designs, there is still no generally accepted nomenclature. Manufacturers use a variety of terms, as do puzzlers. Puzzle pieces can have "loops" and "sockets", "knobs" and "holes", "tabs" and "slots", "keys" and "locks", or any of several other alternative designations.

Tasch calls them heads & hugs, which I particularly like. The other fun one is innies & outies, and if we assumed woodworking terms we could use tongue & groove or tenor & mortice(we would love to hear what you call them in the comments below)

So, what I've learned is not all jigsaws are created equal. We take great pride in the quality of our pieces and cut to create an enjoyable and balanced jigsawing experience. My best description is:

Grid cut, seamlessly interlocking pieces with 7 different tab/blank configurations showing rich variations. 

It's a bit of a mouthful...but you know exactly what you are getting - a fair, fun and beautiful jigsaw for all skill levels! 

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