Local Calgary Pickup & Store Hrs: Mon-Sat 9am - 4pmD2 - 6115 3 Street SE
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FAQ - September 1, 2021

First off, thank you so much for your continued interest in StumpCraft Puzzles!

September 1, 2021 marks our shift to a new look StumpCraft. We hope you love the new look as much as we do.

In an effort to reduce distractions and focus on puzzle production ahead of the busy fall and holiday season, we've temporarily disabled our website chat function as we felt we couldn't respond in a timely, adequate manner. That said, if you have a question regarding an existing order, please reply to the invoice email or SMS you received. You can also reach out to us at our dedicated patron delight email (puzzled@stumpcraft.com) Otherwise, most of your questions should be answered below.

Thank you for your continued support. Wishing you and yours a healthy and happy 2021.

A number of your puzzles appear as sold out. When will these sold out puzzles be available again?

We've caught up on production and currently have most puzzles in stock. Our intent is to re-print any out-of-stock puzzles as soon as possible, although with priority given to our most recently released designs in the catalog. At a minimum, the webstore inventory will be updated on a weekly basis, on Monday mornings at 10 am Mountain Time. Any puzzle you currently can add to your cart is available for purchase and will be processed within 2 business days.

We are currently cutting and boxing:

  • Happy Holidays
  • Morning

Are you available in any stores?

StumpCraft has existing relationships with the following retailers:

Which puzzle should I get? How would you rate the various StumpCraft puzzles in terms of challenge?

In general, StumpCraft Puzzles are more difficult than your standard ribbon cut jigsaw, especially if you have never done a wooden laser-cut puzzle before. Expect to go through a learning curve on your first go. A useful rubric for comparing a StumpCraft Puzzle to a standard ribbon cut is to expect your 1st StumpCraft solution to take twice to four times as long as you would expect given the piece count. That said, there's also the matter of how piece count itself (or puzzle size) has an impact on the overall difficulty level of a puzzle. 

Our trusted sources suggest that StumpCraft Puzzles have an average solution speed between 2.5-3 pieces per minute for expert puzzlers. Those times can get better with proper StumpCraft cross-training.

Those caveats aside, our current ranking of puzzles by difficulty is as follows (starting at most difficult):

Help we've been Stumped! Any tips for solving a StumpCraft Jigsaw Puzzle? 

First off, don't be too hard on yourself! StumpCraft Puzzles are designed to be challenging and rewarding. Striking that careful balance to maintain a flow experience is what I'm striving for during the design process. Ultimately I want to maintain peak engagement and enjoyment, while also pushing you towards that feeling of earned achievement!

In general with my puzzles, I'm using every possible tool at my disposal to make the puzzles interesting, fun, and (yes) challenging. I often end up playing with typical solving strategies and turn them on their head. So tricks in traditional puzzle solving can sometimes turn into traps...

With that out of the way, here are some basic tips:
  1. Ignore the edge: as you no doubt discovered, I often hide edge pieces and corners, and also include straight edges on the inside. 
  2. Find and build around unique shapes: rather than use the generic straight edge of the exterior to start the puzzle, it is generally much easier to start with a unique whimsy shape and then build around it. The easiest start in many of my puzzles is the maple leaf. The jagged edge is usually unlike any other shape in the puzzle and you can generally find the surrounding 5-6 pieces. Repeat this process with other unique whimsies and those become nodes of solution. In this way, the solution works kind of like crystal growth and eventually the clumps of nodes gradually merge together.
  3. "Blocking": this is a fairly standard puzzling technique, either used to segregate pieces by colors or by shape. I use this technique extensively, constantly refining as I work through a puzzle. Beyond colour segregation, you may also be able to separate pieces by "texture" (bubbles, leaves, hair, text, etc.) or painting brush stroke style.
  4. Don't use the reference image: your mileage may vary on this one but I generally don't use an image when solving. I find the image gets in the way as you end up often searching the reference image for quite some time trying to find where the piece goes within the frame, rather than using techniques like block to find the pieces that go together. This is often the habit that is hardest to break.
  5. Use shape: The biggest advantage you have with my puzzles are the very unique puzzle pieces. Over time, you'll train yourself to see shapes within the negative and positive elements of the pieces. If you let your imagination come to your aid, you might be able to name certain locks or puzzle pieces (kind of like cloud watching, aka pareidolia), and then later be able to find the right piece because the location of that "giraffe" or "teapot" piece has locked in your brain.
  6. Better out, then in: in some case, I'll have internal pieces, within an inner core. In those cases, you'll want to place the outer piece first and then the inner.
  7. Use the Claw: over time, you'll develop a single handed and double handed "claw" technique to move clumps of pieces to another location within the puzzle. With practice, you can move bigger clumps - it's all about applying the Goldilocks amount of pressure.
More tips to come...

 

If I'd like to permanently mount and frame a StumpCraft puzzle, what would you suggest? 

We would recommend adopting non-destructive methods of framing. This reflects our own preference with doing our wooden puzzles several times, and treating them as ephemeral displays of table art. That said, many prefer a more permanent wall display.

If you count yourself among the latter, we would recommend using puzzle tape to secure the back. At the time of this writing, Amazon carries two well-reviewed versions: Buffalo's Puzzle Presto, and Eurographics Smart Puzzle Glue Sheets.

To access the back of the puzzle, you'll need two firm sheets of MDF, thick cardboard or coroplast. On one sheet, carefully slide the puzzle off your table surface and place the stack back onto the table. Then with the second sheet, form a puzzle sandwich (sheets are the bread, puzzle the PB&J). Carefully flip the puzzle sandwich over and return to the table in order to access the back for taping.

Some customers have used glue to mount their puzzles, and they claim it worked well. We generally recommend the tape as a non-destructive method, just in case you ever decide to do the puzzle again. We don't recommend the "Modge Podge" method, as the weight of the wooden pieces would likely exceed the bond strength of a surface coating like one would do with a cardboard puzzle.

Once the puzzle back is secured, it is then time to bring it over to your local framer to do the rest. Speaking of which, Frame of Mind in Edmonton does great work. Check out their Facebook page to look at their handiwork.

When will you be offering custom wooden puzzles again? 

We are no longer printing custom puzzles as a result of the recent increase in puzzle production demand. We will be evaluating over the coming months but don't expect to offer custom puzzles until February 2022 at the earliest. For more details on our past Custom Puzzles, read this.