Handcrafting the world's finest wooden jigsaw puzzles since 1974

A Stave Puzzles Glossary

Are you new to Stave? Or just need a little help? We know our world can feel like a box full of perplexing pieces — some might say it’s downright puzzling. We can help you put the pieces together. Here’s a guide to our puzzle types, cutting styles and other playful lingo. If you still find yourself confused, give us a call. We love to chat.

  • all items
  • puzzle types
  • cutting styles
  • techniques
classic Our standard cutting style with heart-shaped interlocks. Our crafters strive for two pieces per square inch. Traditional type puzzles have the option of being crafted in Classic, Nightmare or Fantasy. All other puzzle types are generally crafted in Nightmare style.
color-line cutting This is our maddening habit of cutting precisely between two different colors so you can’t depend on color clues when hunting for nearby pieces.
corporate and event puzzles We can design and create puzzles for many purposes: team building devices for company retreats, souvenirs for special seminars, and appreciation gifts for guest speakers or donors. They also make unique commemorative gifts for weddings, reunions, birthday bashes or whenever a high quality gift is required. Learn more about our corporate and event puzzles here.
crazy clawsTM These horseshoe-shaped loose interlocks connect to each other in two distinct ways making it difficult to know which way is correct.

Crazy ClawsTM are found in Trick puzzles.
custom photo puzzles Want to get really personal? From something as simple as adding a frame to creating an elaborate collage, our Stave artisans will magically turn your photos, cards and other memorabilia into a one of a kind custom puzzle to be treasured for generations to come. You can request names, dates, and special figure shapes (called silhouettes) to be crafted into the puzzle. The perfect gift for the person who has everything.
dropout Empty space is used to create a vignette or window adding an element of surprise and challenge to your puzzle.

Dropouts are generally found in Traditional style puzzles.
edge silhouette Just when you thought you were missing an edge piece, guess what...? A silhouette piece fits into the edge! We’ve outlined the sailboat for you as an example.

This feature is generally found in Traditional style puzzles.
enlarged silhouette Multiple pieces which form the shape of an object. Fun discoveries can be made when you flip the puzzle to look at it from the wood side.

This feature is found in Traditional style puzzles.
fantasy cut Fantasy cutting has semi-circles and arrow interlocks. Don’t be fooled by the larger pieces in this cutting style, it’s no easier to put together.

Traditional type puzzles have the option of being crafted in Classic, Nightmare or Fantasy. All other puzzle types are generally crafted in Nightmare.
interacting silhouette Two or more related silhouettes that touch each other. This is one of the “games” you’ll be asked to find to earn Prize Points.

This feature is found in Traditional style puzzles.
irregular edge Puzzle border that is not straight, but which relates in some way to the image of the puzzle, such as ocean waves, flowers, animals, etc. With no picture on the box, an irregular edge is a mystery that unravels in the doing.
Limited Editions Stave Limited Editions are our masterpiece puzzles, pure and simple. They are a favorite with many of our collectors, for sure! Generally, we craft only 50 of each, so their rarity is guaranteed. All are created from commissioned artwork specifically designed for jigsaw puzzling. Each design goes through months of conceptualization, creation, and fine-tuning, until we are certain we have a puzzle that will thrill you with its art, its cleverness, and its overall puzzlement. Limited Edition puzzles offer a variety of puzzling elements including Trick, Double-Decker, Mystery and Riddle. Some are even hand-painted!
monkey fist TrickTM Picture this! You have multiple, identical open spaces, you also have multiple pieces that will fit into those spaces. Your challenge is to find just the right combination.

This feature is found in some Trick puzzles.
nightmare This is a cutting style with semi-circular interlocks; considered more difficult than our Classic cutting style. All Trick puzzles are cut in Nightmare.

Traditional type puzzles have the option of being crafted in Classic, Nightmare or Fantasy. All other puzzle types are generally crafted in Nightmare.
personalization Your choice of names, initials, dates or special pieces to be crafted into your puzzle. You may request silhouettes that reflect your hobbies, pets, sports, family members, trips, or special events. Be creative and fun, this is your opportunity to make the puzzle uniquely yours.

Written personalization - Sometimes, simple and imaginative changes can be made to a puzzle image to make it personal to your family. For example, if the image has signs or shops, they might be able to be renamed for your family members. We’ll write a name, special date or short message on the sign. Learn more about personalizing your puzzle.
phony corner Phony (or fake) corner pieces look like the real deal, but they're not. Gotcha!

This feature is generally found in Traditional style puzzles.

prize points When you lift the lid of your new Stave puzzle box, you’ll find a white note card on the top that says Prize Points. Keep track of it— this is a valuable document that leads to Stave cash!

Prize Points are worth one dollar each and earned by solving your puzzle and the games within.

rebus A rebus is a picture-riddle within the puzzle. Word game enthusiasts enjoy this unexpected “find” buried inside their jigsaw puzzle. You earn Prize Points for solving the rebus.

This feature is found in Traditional style puzzles.

Have you solved the rebus to the left? The answer is “Four Seasons”.
sculpt Slivers of wood removed from the puzzle that form an image or accentuate the image in the print. Once the puzzle is complete, a spectacular design appears! This is sometimes used to carve names or words into the puzzle for a proposal.

This feature is generally found in Traditional style puzzles.
silhouette A puzzle piece crafted in the shape of a person or object. You may request silhouettes to be crafted into your puzzle that reflect your hobbies, pets, sports, family members, trips, or special events. Our crafters will also surprise you by including silhouettes inspired by the puzzle image or colors.
split corner Pieces that don’t look like they form a corner until....THEY DO!
Stave Clown It’s our trademark, you’ll find it in every puzzle we craft. The clown piece is initialed and dated on the back by the artisan that crafted your puzzle. Here’s your connection to the hands and creative mind of the person who is puzzling you.
Teasers TM Teasers were invented by Stave to give you more challenge per puzzle piece. The artwork is specifically designed to maximize befuddlement and minimize solving clues. The exterior pieces interlock together as one snug frame, but the center is where you’ll find your challenge.

The interior Teaser pieces nestle together, while still leaving some void (or empty) space between each piece. Think this sounds easy? Think again! Teasers are just enough to tempt you, clever enough to challenge you, yet manageable enough to solve. A surprising challenge you wouldn't expect for this size puzzle.

Teaser puzzles are rated from 1 to 4 swords in difficulty.

SWORDS
Requires extra concentration
Requires extra concentration & patience
Requires extra concentration, patience & aspirin
Requires extra concentration, patience, aspirin & Valium
Tidbits TM Small in size, BIG in fun! Tidbits are the right amount of puzzle for when you have just a few moments to relax. Tidbits make great gifts for any occasion OR no occasion at all. Available in 25 or 50 pieces and have room for us to hand-letter your personal message, up to 20 characters.
Time Share Stave Time Share is a popular “work six-keep one” loaner program that enables you to work a set of six different Stave Traditional puzzles at a fraction of what it would cost to buy them, then you get to keep one.
Traditionals Traditional puzzles start with the finest art available. We offer a vast array of categories and themes — beautiful landscapes, colorful florals, or muted impressionist scenes, for example. Traditional puzzles are often crafted with an irregular edge that may vary depending on the size of the puzzle. You may request names, dates, and special figure shapes (called silhouettes) to be crafted into your puzzle. We will fill it with charming, clever, and elegant silhouette pieces according to your wishes OR you can just let us surprise you! The number of custom pieces depends on the size of the puzzle. The larger the puzzle, the more special pieces you can request. You'll also discover special cutting features within the puzzle designed to surprise, confound, and delight you!
Treasures TM Treasures are a celebration of our many years of bringing you entertainment and fun. They combine many of our tricky, intricate, and most devious puzzling elements together with the elegance and artistry of our Traditional puzzles. Treasures have a combination of difficulty ratings.
Treats TM Treats are more than a Tidbit, but not quite a Teaser - no trick pieces or devilish teaser elements here. Treats offer a wide range of challenge and puzzlement. Some are designed with solid areas and offer room for personalization. But don’t let the name fool you — others are designed with repeating colors and void spaces for an extra puzzling wallop!

Treat puzzles are rated from 1 to 4 hearts in difficulty.

HEARTS
Good for your heart.
Gets your heart racing.
Your heart might skip a beat.
Time to monitor your heart rate.
Tricks TM This is how Steve Richardson, our Chief Tormentor, earned his title. Trick puzzles are a diabolically difficult genre in which some pieces will fit in more than one place. Think about it. A puzzle like this will have multiple ways of fitting together - but only one correct solution. We’ve cooked up lots of Trick designs at different levels so you can pick your poison according to how smart, or shall we say brave, you’re feeling.

Trick puzzles are rated from 1 to 5 lightening bolts in difficulty.

BOLTS
Hors d'oeuvres-taste Stave shenanigans.
Faint of heart? This may be your limit?
Be prepared to do battle.
If they made Pepto Bismal for the brain, this is when you would need it.
What part of "impossible" don't you understand?
TroubleMakers TM TroubleMakers are a mind-boggling experience that will baffle, bemuse, and bring you hours of entertainment. Simply put, a magic piece acts as a keystone allowing you to swap it with other pieces in the puzzle. This in turn creates several completely different puzzling solutions. Easier said than done!

TroubleMaker puzzles are rated from 1 to 4 forks in difficulty.

FORKS
Holy Smokes! You did it!
You feel feverish as your temperature begins to rise.
Requires you to loosen your collar and let out some steam.
Be prepared for an eruption, you might as well throw yourself into an inferno!
whammy edge Adjacent edge pieces that do not interlock. It will take a third piece to hold them all together. One of the classic fake-outs in Stave puzzle crafting.