Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Updating a Cutting Table

My daughter-in-law, Erin, gave me an interesting book for either my birthday or Mother’s Day while we were in the planning stages of the Cedar City house. The book was Creating Your Perfect Quilting Space, Sewing Room Makeovers for Any Space and Any Budget by Lois L. Hallock, Martingale & Company, Woodinville, WA 98072-8478, 2005. It really had some good ideas, and I actually read it completely. While the book was aimed at fitting a sewing room to the needs of its user, a lot of the principles of lighting, space utilization, shelving, etc. could be used in setting up other craft rooms.

I paid close attention to the sections on adequate lighting and electrical outlets. That input helped in making suggestions to the builder when it came to designing my craft room. I wished I’d followed through with more outlets in the rest of the house every time I vacuum.

In the craft room there are 6 cam lights in the ceiling, plus lights in the ceiling fan. I’ve added Ott lights for addition light in specialized areas, like the ironing area, by the sewing machines, and weaving loom. The basement tends to be darker, and as I get older I like lots of light to get rid of the shadows. The craft room outlets are set up on two separate circuits so there is less chance of blowing of a fuse while in the middle of a project.

One of the other sections of the book that caught my attention was the adjusting of tables, counters, ironing boards and sewing machines tables to the height of the user to prevent strain and backaches.

The sewing machine table could be modified by using an adjustable chair, which is what I did using an office chair on rollers. So not only does it go up and down to the correct height, but it will move around on the concrete floor in my craft room.

However my cutting table is a folding table like the ones that used to be used in cafeterias. I like it better than the newer plastic tables now sold at Costco. The plastic tables’ tops aren’t as stable for cutting fabric with a rotary cutter as the older plywood or fiberboard table tops. But my table was too low to use as a cutting table, and I wanted to be able to move the table around in the room. I’d read in Studio magazine by Interweave Press that several crafts people like things in their craft rooms to be on wheels so that they can be more easily shifted around. So I’d been slowly collecting plastic storage drawers sets on rollers to fit under my cutting table for more efficient storage using those coupons from Michael’s and Joanne’s. Now my goal was to come up with “something” that would raise the level of the cutting table and make it easily moveable at the same time.

I came up with the idea of stacking blocks of wood with rollers attached to the bottom of the stack. The top block would have a hole to fit the table leg in, but snug enough so it would stay on. The stack would be wide enough for the wheels to be screwed onto the bottom of the stack.

I got a drill press for last Christmas and finally got it set up in the new workroom in the basement. It worked really well for this project. I have to admit Bob helped drill the holes for the table legs, but I did the rest of the project. The idea worked and the cutting table is just about the perfect height. I was able to pick up a nice stool at Ross’s just in time for Christmas projects.

Here is how the craft room looks today, crowded, and messy, but working out pretty well.

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