Dab Hand

Summer Holidays 2021

The school summer holidays are here – you’ll find lots of ideas on our website, whether you are going away for the first time in a while or staying local. We’ve just added some Ravensburger titles to our range of jigsaws for younger puzzlers – see below.

You’ll also find some very unusual children’s puzzles in our range of checked & complete used jigsaws. Children 10 years and over can enjoy 500 piece puzzles (12+ for a 1000 piece puzzle). The trick is to select an image that suits their interests or pick one together to complete as a family. Teenagers may enjoy one of our new “Escape Puzzles”. There’s lots of inspiration on our website or feel free to contact us. Just call 07803 203617 to talk through our range.

Accessories are worth considering – how about taking a foldaway puzzle board or a puzzle roll to a holiday cottage or hotel? A set of sorter trays will also make life easier – click here for our full range.

If you’re planning a camping holiday, we offer travel-sized games and quirky playing cards. It’s worth packing a pocket-sized card games instruction book too. Here are just a few examples – click here for all our new and used games.

After a day’s walking or cycling in the sunshine, we at Dab Hand love to unwind with a jigsaw or traditional game. It’s a great rainy day option too! Whatever you plan to do, we wish you a very relaxing summer.

Contact us for orders and enquiries (free local delivery)
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Latest Additions: Ravensburger – July 2021

We’re thrilled to announce that we are Ravensburger’s newest official stockist! This top quality brand offers a diverse mix of jigsaw styles and piece counts, there really is something for everyone. Our first selection of titles is especially for anyone who loves birds and butterflies.

We are delighted to add Ravensburger to our suite of top brands – look out for a selection of their children’s titles coming to our website very soon. We are also official stockists of new puzzles and accessories from Gibsons and Jumbo (including the Falcon and Wasgij brands).

Contact us for orders and enquiries
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Latest Additions – Used Jigsaws: June 2021

We’ve added a batch of quality checked & complete used jigsaws – why not grab yourself a bargain? Jigsaws are eco-friendly too – as well as modern titles we have some that are over 40 years old but still with plenty of life in them yet! If you are in our free delivery area we will drop them off on foot or by bike. When we post parcels we use recycled materials as far as possible.

Here’s a small selection of some of our titles or browse all used jigsaws.

Buy with confidence, knowing that our approved used puzzles have met our stringent quality standards.

Each puzzle is checked for piece count. This is not always the number stated on the box, e.g. Ravensburger’s 1000 piece jigsaws usually have 1008 pieces! We also check piece quality and we bag the main pieces and edge pieces in strong re-usable grip seal bags to keep the puzzle safe.
Choose your challenge:
Puzzle Dabbler – complete the border first
Puzzle Regular – mix both bags
Puzzle Master – hide the picture!

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If you live in our home village Kelsall you may be interested to know that we’ve added some used jigsaws to our local lending library too – see Handy Jigsaws for more information.

Introducing Dissectology – the science of jigsaws

Are you a Dissectologist? You’re probably one if you’re reading this! And in the immortal words of Maureen Lipman in BT’s 1988 TV commercial – “If you’ve got an ‘ology’, you’re a scientist!” – watch it on Youtube

Welcome to a new series of bite-sized articles on the wonderful world of dissectology. Jigsaw puzzles, or Dissections as they were originally called, were invented by British cartographer John Spilsbury in the 1760s. He attached a map to wood and carved out the countries. These “dissected maps” were used to help teach geography. Jigsaw puzzles are now available in a huge range of materials and styles and are mainly completed for fun or for the satisfaction of a mission accomplished. If you have ever stayed up late in the night to put in “just one more piece”, you are probably a dissectologist!

John Spilsbury jigsaw "Europe divided into its kingdoms, etc." London, 1766, British Library (Creative Commons collection)
John Spilsbury “Europe divided into its kingdoms, etc.”, London, 1766 (British Library)

You may have seen our recent article on the various Wasgij puzzle styles. Our next article will be on the joys of circular puzzles and also look out for a review of puzzle piece terminology, including some of our own preferred terms for impressive manoeuvres when completing a tricky puzzle!

In a personal capacity as dedicated puzzlers, we are proud members of the Benevolent Confraternity of Dissectologists, a UK based society for jigsaw followers. This friendly club holds regular meetings (Zoom presentations & Flickr groups in recent times). It’s a great way to see examples of fabulous wooden jigsaws from yesteryear as well as modern creations. Membership is just £12 per household per annum (at the time of writing) – well worth it!

We welcome your views on all things related to Dissectology – please don’t hesitate to email us or call 07803 203617 or 01829 458259. We’d also love to see you on Facebook or Instagram.

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Father’s Day Gift Ideas 2021

It’s Father’s Day on Sunday 20th June. We have lots of gift ideas for every kind of father figure in your life — dads, grandads, step-dads, or anyone who has taken on that role. We offer free local delivery (within 10 miles of our home village Kelsall) or we can post your present along with your special message.

Searching for the perfect puzzle? 1000 piece jigsaws are always popular but some new puzzlers or older dads may prefer smaller piece counts. 636 piece panoramic format jigsaws mean less stretching. Extra large piece jigsaws are ideal for those with sight or handling difficulties. See more tips on choosing a jigsaw.

Here’s a small selection or browse all new jigsaws

Dads love to have all the right kit – a jigsaw accessory may be just the ticket!

Our 3 in 1 Games Set is the ultimate luxury travel accessory for the Great British Staycation. Or how about Dominoes 6×6 or one of our sets of quirky playing cards – you may want to add a little card games book. We also stock checked & complete used games, including some vintage ones!

Contact us for orders and enquiries.
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Handy Jigsaws is One!

Handy Jigsaws – Kelsall’s completely free jigsaw lending library – is one year old! 

Our loan jigsaws are delivered on foot – we’ve covered 232 miles around the village over the last year!

The library stocks up to 100 jigsaws from quality manufacturers. As well as adding Dab Hand stock, we have received a number of kind donations over the year which has helped us keep the library fresh and updated with new titles.

About 80% of loans were for 1000 piece jigsaws, by far our most popular piece count, although 500 and 636 piece jigsaws were appreciated by borrowers new to puzzling or with limited space. Smaller piece counts (often with extra large pieces) have helped those with sight, handling or cognitive difficulties.

Here are some examples of our most wanted themes and titles from our first year:

We offer a wide variety of images and themes – from toys and trains to Shakespeare and sushi! 

Along with other humorous jigsaws, Wasgijs have proved extremely popular. We have added more of these titles recently and have others waiting in the wings. If you have yet to discover the joys of Wasgijs, see our article here.

Falcon’s Up & Away is our most requested title of the year. 

Gibsons’ Albert Dock, Liverpool and Happy Holidays have also been popular, perhaps reminding us of trips past and to come…

Happy Holidays is also a good example of popular montage style jigsaws – lots of images in one puzzle!

Ravensburger’s Retro Revelry is one of our top titles of the year, ideal for puzzlers who like a challenge. One borrower commented: “Great!! Talk about nostalgia!” 

Nostalgia Toys remains a favourite choice but don’t forget that we add stock frequently – click here to see our latest additions, including The World of Shakespeare, a very striking puzzle.

A few comments from our borrowers: 
“Great library of puzzles”
“Such a kind service to provide in these difficult times. Thank you!”
“This is a great initiative for the village…the puzzles have been a great mental exercise and talking point for my 93 year old mother who has dementia. I would highly recommend!”

Would you like a Handy Jigsaw delivered to your door? Find out more and browse titles.

If you know someone without internet access please ask them to call Delia on 07803 203617 or 01829 458259. We can talk through our range and/or take along a few for them to choose from.

Our Markets & Fairs are Back!

Dab Hand Outlets Markets Fairs logo small

Our real traditional village markets & fairs are back! Jigsaws, jam, cakes, crafts and more – what’s not to like?! Join us on Saturday 17th April 2021 at the Barbour Institute, Tattenhall, for our first post-lockdown village market – click here for full details and future dates.

Join our mailing list or follow us on Facebook or Instagram for updates including (fingers crossed!) news on summer & autumn fetes. If you cannot attend our events we also offer free delivery to your doorstep within 10 miles of our home village Kelsall or we post orders nationwide.

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Wasgij: Jigsaws with a Twist

Do you already love Wasgij jigsaws or are you yet to try them? Here’s some background on this hugely popular series of puzzles, including a few examples of our recent additions. Wasgij is of course jigsaw spelt backwards and is officially pronounced “Woz-gidge”.

The first Wasgij puzzles came to the market in 1997 with the aim of offering a new challenge – the puzzle you complete is NOT the picture on the box, you need to use your imagination and the clues provided to piece together the solution. Wasgijs grew steadily in popularity over the years and some older titles have been reissued recently in special “Retro” packaging.

Wasgij Original (and Christmas) titles
In the Original Wasgij concept you don’t puzzle what you see on the box, you puzzle what the characters in the scene are looking at. The jigsaw keeps you guessing until the very last minute. It’s usually best to start with the border and then work on larger areas of similar colours or patterns. The cartoon-style images add to the fun!

Wasgij Destiny titles
Puzzle what the future holds….what has changed and have the characters got older and wiser?! The background of the scene is in the same general proportions, giving you a few clues as you start putting the puzzle together.

Wasgij Mystery titles
Puzzle what happens next…the setting remains broadly the same but things have moved on a bit – usually to a scene of utter mayhem!

If you live in our home village Kelsall, we also stock a selection of Wasgijs in our Handy Jigsaws free loan service, including a 500 piece puzzle. A borrower commented: “A good Wasgij if you are looking for a quicker solution than 1000 pieces!”

Be warned – Wasgijs can be highly addictive!

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Latest Additions: March 2021

We’ve just added some new jigsaw titles from Falcon plus the latest Jan Van Haasteren cartoon puzzle. There’s something for everyone whether you are a country lady, a polar explorer, a dancer, a juggler, a bingo player or a biker! Or perhaps you are longing for the return of the village car boot sale – who knows what you will find on the toy stall?

We’ve also added new Gibsons and Wasgij titles recently – browse all new jigsaws by date

Contact us for orders and enquiries.
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