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Making your Puzzle Box Last with Proper Care

The price of a puzzle box will vary dramatically depending on its origin, creator, materials used, degree of difficulty in opening and closing, attention to detail, and much more.  Although some puzzle boxes cost less than $30 and others more than $500, you can keep your beautiful work of art looking brand new with proper care.  In addition to making your puzzle box look better, proper care will also ensure the mechanics of the box continue working. 

Puzzle boxes are made from wood, which differs from one country to another.  Regardless if walnut, persimmon, wax, cherry, or some other type of wood is used, the box will expand and contract with humidity changes.  Typically, the wood will move the most going across the grain with the least amount of movement going with the grain.  Just as with furniture, you will find that some puzzle boxes can withstand much more than others all because of the type of wood used. 

Commonly, cedar is used in the making of puzzle boxes, which is easy to work with.  However, cedar has one major flaw it is not very stable.  Because of this, we suggest you avoid a puzzle box made from cedar, choosing a harder wood instead such as walnut, cherry, or teak.  No matter the type of wood your box is made with, you need to understand that changes occurring in the winter and summer months will have some affect.  Another consideration when buying a puzzle box is how it is stored prior to shipment.  In this case, boxes maintained in a warehouse that is humidity controlled will fare much better than those that are not.  Other tips for caring for your new puzzle box include: 

Keep displayed puzzle boxes behind glass

To maintain proper humidity levels, a glass of water can be placed in the display cabinet, hidden from sight

Make sure the puzzle box does not sit in direct sunlight or where it would be subjected to heat from appliances or furnaces

To keep humidity levels where they should be, a humidifier could be used in the winter months

If the mechanisms for opening and closing the puzzle box have become stuck, simply place the box in a place with proper humidity and it will resolve itself

Never get the puzzle box wet, which could damage the wood with rot, warping,  bubbling, and so on

Handle the puzzle box with a soft cloth, rubber fingertips, or soft grips to avoid scratching the wood

Never use furniture polish on your puzzle box, even if it has a lacquer finish.  Instead, high quality wood wax would restore shine.

When storing your puzzle box, make sure the doors and other openings are in the closed position

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