My wife and I average about 6 – 1000 piece puzzles a month. We have gravitated to and I’ve been promoted to “VP of puzzle separation”, starting with the edge pieces.
After approximately 90% of the edges have been found, my wife starts on the border, while the VP begins the sorting according to color, mostly.
On some puzzles, the colors are obvious. For example, if there are several different colored “birds”, those characters are where I begin. Most puzzles carry those same “bird” colors into other items in the puzzle, but still get stacked together.
Then I separate out any black/dark, whites/lights, greens…..etc. It is never perfect, but it is a means of breaking the puzzle down into smaller puzzles.
My style is to start with those separated piles, one at a time. When it’s basically assembled, I use a large egg turner to lift the portion into the general area within the borders.
It is interesting that I like to work in small areas while my wife uses the Columbus method, where she picks up a piece and lands it into the puzzle where it goes. The problem is that there are dozens of pieces scattered in the puzzle, making it difficult to move the parts that I’ve been working on outside of the perimeter.
When we get to the final 250 pieces or so, I start arranging them according to shapes. 4-female, 3, 2-polar, 2 rt angle male, 3 male, 4 male….! (I’m soooooo left brained!)
Most of the puzzles get harder toward the final stages, like sky, trees….etc and it comes down to shape.
The biggest caveat with this method is that there is a better chance of losing pieces as they are stacked in piles and easily bumped/scattered. Our 3 dogs love getting involved.
We love the challenge and spend many hours together with a common goal. When doing puzzles as a team, you have got to learn each other’s styles and work around these sometimes annoying idiosyncrasies.
Covid has allowed us to build around 40 puzzles over the mandated sequestration.
Things have opened up, but there is now, always a puzzle on our kitchen table.