I generally keep a pretty busy schedule, but lately I've had more free time, and I moved into an apartment almost a year ago, so I have more space to work. So I decided to take the plunge and buy a 3000 piece puzzle. I was rooming with a German guy in the summer of 2003, and since we were enjoying a lot of puzzles with the kids at the local church day camp, he introduced me to the Ravensburger brand of puzzles. From then until now, I had only seen their puzzles in local board game shops or on their website, but I knew they made one of the biggest puzzles in the world, at 18000 pieces, and I knew that the build quality of their puzzles is among the best out there.
A 1,000 piece puzzle is pretty normal for everyday puzzlers, so I wanted something more substantial than that, but I also knew I wasn't going to come close to the 18000 piece one. I have a thing for maps (I even have a world map shower curtain), so I figured this 3000 piece one would be a good puzzle to break me in.
When I would tell people I was working on a 3000 piece puzzle, they would look at me like I was crazy. After a quick google search on Ravensburger puzzles, though, I think I have found some people way more crazy than I thought I'd find. This site is about a couple who probably assembled the 18000 piece Ravensburger before almost anyone else. Reading the comments on that page show that there are some dedicated people out there. One person spent ~$1900 getting the puzzle and then framing it! I also discovered there is a 24000 piece puzzle called the LIFE: The Great Challenge. There is a family who documented themselves putting this puzzle together, and I think I may use their technique to frame my tiny 3000 piece one.
On several occasions I had groups of people help me put my puzzle together when we'd have movie nights at my apartment, but I probably did about 60% of it myself. I received the puzzle in the mail on 3/16/09 and finished it on 6/4/09. It is still taking up a good chunk of the kitchen table, but at least I have a table I can eat at now. Here's a visual timeline of the puzzling. For the next puzzle I do I think I will hang a camera above the table and make a time-lapse video of the process.