A couple of weeks ago I wrote an article about how my brother responds to games which led to a couple of interesting offers, one of which was from a UK Jigsaw company called Wentworth Wooden Puzzles who wanted to send me a puzzle for Andrew to try.
Each of the puzzles Wentworth does is unique to them. They are wooden, made in the UK from sustainable sources and precision cut with a high powered laser. In fact you can see exactly how they do this in this video.
The puzzle that Wentworth supplied for me was the gorgeous Homecoming, an image of Noah’s Arc and all the animals it contained.
I chose this design in particular because there weren’t large areas of flat colour which helps Andrew. Even the water and trees were broken up with animals and butterflies.
The puzzle arrived in good time and in a nice, small box. Inside the box the pieces themselves were held in a drawstring cloth bag. All in all the presentation was very nice. The first thing you will notice upon opening a Wentworth puzzle is the distinctive smell. Because the puzzles are wooden and have been cut using a laser, they have a very noticeable smell of burn. It’s not an unpleasant smell though.
The next thing you will notice is the “Whimsy” pieces. Each puzzle is cut with unusual shaped pieces based on the image on the puzzle. For example our puzzle came with animal shaped whimsy pieces.
These are easily the most interestingly shaped jigsaw pieces I’ve ever seen. With maybe two dozen of these scattered throughout the puzzle, there are some very interesting shaped pieces that fit around them too!
Lastly, Wentworth puzzles don’t follow the normal rules of Jigsaw making. I set about looking for the four corners, but after scouring the pieces and separating out all the edges (with Andrew’s expert help) I realised they weren't there. That is because Wentworth doesn’t use the traditional jigsaw piece shape. Their corners have been bisected into two pieces. In addition you can’t just make the “frame” of the jigsaw either because not all edge pieces are flat edged and not all flat edges are edge pieces.
So how did Andrew get on?
Overall very well. Because we couldn't start with the edge pieces we instead decided to make individual animals. We started with the tigers in the bottom right corner and then moved onto the elephants, giraffes, rhinos etc. I was looking through the box for likely pieces of the animals we were working on while Andrew fitted the pieces together.
Because the puzzle is made from wood and cut with a laser the pieces fit together very precisely and they are very rigid and durable, but they also allow a small amount of movement. This meant that sometimes Andrew struggled to get the pieces in, not realising he needed to manipulate the pieces around to get the piece in (opting instead to push harder to no avail.)
You can see in this picture the small amount of movement available between each piece.
Overall though he had no problems, even the sky and trees, which can often take a long time, came together quickly and easily. From start to finish the puzzle took us about 3 hours, which isn’t bad for a 500 piece jigsaw.
So the question is then, should you buy a Wentworth Wooden Puzzle? What Wentworth does, is supply a quality product, but at a high price. The puzzle they supplied to me retailed at £54.95. However, I believe the price is justified. The puzzles and packaging are environmentally friendly. They are produced in the UK and cannot be produced in volume. Each puzzle piece is individually designed with unique shapes and whimsy pieces. A lot of work and love has gone in to making them. So really the question becomes what are you willing to spend on your puzzling hobby? Wentworth provides a quality product that is beautifully designed and highly durable giving a very interesting and unique puzzling experience and if the price doesn't put you off I can guarantee you wont be disappointed.
www.jigsaws.co.uk kindly supplied a review copy of this puzzle