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Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle Board

This sleek puzzle board solves the challenge of a lack of permanent space for putting together a large jigsaw puzzle, and the dreaded thought of losing a piece.

By Rob Brown

This sleek puzzle board solves the challenge of a lack of permanent space for putting together a large jigsaw puzzle, and the dreaded thought of losing a piece. The raised edge ensures no pieces are lost, and a plywood dust cover with finger notch keeps everything in place between sessions.

What You'll Need

Tools Materials
  • 3/4" veneered plywood or particle core
  • 1/4" veneered plywood
  • felt (optional)
  • spray adhesive (for felt) 2020-075
  • polyurethane 1877-259
  • protective felt pads 2327-609
  • tape measure 1049-403

Here's How

  • Break out the long and short sides, keeping them coupled together. 
(photo 1)
  • Shown: long side blank 3" x 40" x 3/4"; short side blank 3" x 30" x 3/4".
  • Machine rabbets in the side blanks to accept bottom panel. If using felt, the rabbets should be slightly larger than the thickness of the bottom to account for the thickness of the felt.
  • Cut the bevels on both ends of the short and long side blanks. (photo 2)
  • Rip the sides out of blank. The outer face of the blanks should be down while ripping, to ensure blank won't rock while being cut. Sand sides.
  • Lay sides end to end, and apply tape across the beveled joints. Apply glue to the joints and bring the frame together. Apply tape to the final joint ensuring frame is square. Let dry. (photo 3)
  • When dry, add round over to inner and outer edge of frame. This can be done with a router table or a hand-held router. (photo 4)
  • Break all edges of frame, and ensure frame is ready for finishing.
  • Apply finish to the frame.
  • Cut bottom to size.
  • If using felt, spray on the adhesive and apply felt on bottom. Trim edges of felt flush with edges of bottom. (photo 5)
  • Glue bottom in the frame.
  • Cut cover panel to fit loosely inside frame. Cut finger notch in cover panel. (photo 6)
  • Sand cover panel and break all edges. Apply a polyurethane finish to both faces and all edges.
  • Apply protective pads to the underside of the puzzle board.

Two Parts, One Blank
Working with narrow pieces can be dangerous so keep both pairs of sides together until all the joinery is complete. Rabbets to accept the bottom are cut on the table saw.
Step 1
Bevel then Rip
Cut bevels on both ends of the two side blanks, and then rip them in half. This way the two long sides will be the same length, as well the short sides.
Step 2
Check for Square
Once the frame has been assembled with masking tape and glue, check the corner-to-corner distances for square before leaving the frame to dry.
Step 3
Round Over Two Edges
A router, equipped with a 1/4" round over bit, will ease both inner and outer front edges of the frame. Rest one side of the router base on a piece of scrap the same thickness as the frame so it doesn't tip over.
Step 4
Trim the Felt
Trim the felt with sharp scissors, or a razor sharp knife to avoid damage. Take small cuts, ensuring the felt is cut flush with the edge of the bottom panel. Overhanging felt will cause problems when gluing the bottom into the frame.
Step 5
Finger Pull
A coping saw will rough out a recess, and a small drum sander chucked in a drill will smooth the shape. If you don't have a small sanding drum, the front edge of a belt sander also works great.
Step 6

Rob Brown designs and builds custom furniture and is editor of Canadian Woodworking and Home Improvement magazine.

Canadian Woodworking & Home Improvement