Jigsaw pieces

jigsaw

Have you ever stared at a jigsaw piece and wondered what it is called or looked at the shape that you are looking for and wondered how to describe it? I have and apparently I am not alone.

Despite a few attempts at a comprehensive classification of jigsaw piece shapes and cutting designs, there is still no generally accepted nomenclature.

Here is my attempt at this onerous task.

For the purposes of this blog I am describing a traditional square or rectangular jigsaw, where each of the pieces are normally four-sided.

Each piece is connected to the others using a series of tabs and sockets. Tabs are male and sockets are female. Tabs fit into sockets. Each piece has a combination of four tabs or sockets which gives six piece types in general use. These are my suggested names:

  • Zero-tabs – the butterfly
  • One-tab – the handbag
  • Two-tabs together – the Mickey
  • Two tabs opposite – the hammock
  • Three-tabs – the clover
  • Four-tabs – the jack

Where one side of the piece is flat, that is with no tabs or sockets, then this is referred to as a side piece, which can have a combination of three tabs or sockets giving four types in total.

Where two sides of the piece is flat, that is with no tabs or sockets, then this is referred to as a corner piece, which can have a combination of two tabs or sockets giving three types in total.

Then there is consideration of the positioning of the tabs. These are rarely dead centre of each side. They may be closer to the top or the bottom and may be different on each side. This all depends upon which way up the piece is and referred to as high or low.

As the pieces are rectangles then they can appear as wide or tall and again this depends upon which way up the piece is in relation to the jigsaw.

Finally do not waste time trying to work out if a two-tabs together piece (the Mickey) is handed, that is has a right or left spin, as they are all the same general shape.

This is my attempt at a comprehensive classification of jigsaw piece shapes and cutting designs. I hope it adds to your pleasure and allows improved communication between fellow jigsaw aficionados.

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