Bob Armstrong's Jigsaw Puzzle Restoration Process

My restoration of a wooden jigsaw puzzle begins with making replacements for the puzzle pieces missing or badly damaged. This involves delicate tracing of the outline, precision cutting with a scroll saw under a magnifier and careful reconstruction of the artwork with water colored pencils. But I do not stop there. I also reglue any broken pieces and knobs loose in the box. And then for missing knobs and paper I rebuild the knob with Plastic Wood and reglue the missing paper, touching them up at the end to fit into the surrounding area. My restoration of cardboard puzzles is more limited; I make replacement pieces for them only when feasible..

For boxes, I replace missing parts and rejoin split corners, working from the inside and using archival materials. I do not normally touch up my repair work on boxes or try to improve the appearance of the box, leaving it looking old but once more usable for storing the puzzle in pieces.

My restoration work is the proverbial "labor of love," taking far more time and patience than can ever be economicaly justified. For me it is the thrill of restoring an antique puzzle to a level where it can be assembled and enjoyed and "looks good" that really counts. I limit my work to the puzzles which I acquire; I do not do this work on other collector’s puzzles for a fee. Visit the pages listed below for more detail about my work, and also how to display puzzles safely.