Monday, January 12, 2009
Mona Lisa Puzzle
I got a new puzzle for Christmas from Diana. I set up the old gate leg table in the living room. Off and on I have been working on it, trying not to become addicted. Nevertheless, it turned out that there were too few hours of daylight to satisfy even my limited time allotment. Artificial light makes it hard to distinguish small variances in color, which the practised puzzle aficiado knows is absolutely necessary.
So I decided to move the furniture around in the living room so that I could put the table in front of the bay window. That way I could extract as much light out of the day as possible. This old table belonged to my mother's mother, and was never any prize to begin with. One of the leaves had snapped in two during my last move and I had glued it together. As I started to pull the table into position, the glue let go and part of the leaf fell to the floor. About a third of the puzzle, most of it assembled, went with it.
Irritated but not discouraged, I picked up the pieces and placed them back on the table. I glued the piece of wood back in place and set about replacing the pieces that had come apart. Forgetting everything but the task ahead, I leaned on the table, breaking the new seal and spilling the puzzle again.
Duct Tape was my next idea, but that didn't work. I knew that I could nail the broken board in place with strips of wood, but I would have to turn the table upside down. That meant moving the puzzle. Finally, I decided that it had to be done, so I scooped up the pieces with a piece of paper, trying to keep at least some of them together. I put them on a piece of masonite I had in the studio.
The search for wood proved unsuccessful, so I ripped one of the stretcher strips off one of my canvases and sawed it into small lengths with my wonderful little hand saw, nailed them in place, and the table was fixed. I even thought not to put the supports in the way of the gatelegs as they swing out. With the table repaired, I continued to rearrange the room until everything was in place. I put the wrecked puzzle in its new place (including the masonite backing in case I have to move it again) and now have spent a few hours re-doing what I had done. It's amazing that it is no easier the second time.