House of Hacks

Friday, July 3, 2020

How To Make A Sewing Room Cutting Table

Description

In this episode of the House of Hacks, Harley takes you on the journey from idea to finished product to show how to make a sewing room cutting table.

You might also like the video How to Make a Sewing Table

Sign up for a 30-day free Audible trial and get 2 books that are yours to keep, even if you don’t continue past the trial. (Affiliate link)
The Art of War by Steven Pressfield (Affiliate link)
Atomic Habits by James Clear (Affiliate link)


About

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Here at House of Hacks we do tutorials, project overviews, tool reviews and more related to making things around the home and shop. Generally this involves wood and metal working, electronics, photography and other similar things. If this sounds interesting to you, you may subscribe here.

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For a written transcript, go to How To Make A Sewing Room Cutting Table

Here's a list of the tools I use.

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 4.0 by Kevin MacLeod at http://incompetech.com.
Intro/Exit: "Hot Swing"

Contents

Transcript

Introduction

I have had that cutting table top for more than 20 years since before we moved here. And it's really hard letting go because I've had it so long... But, I'm getting a much better one and I'm can't wait! It's happening today!!

I think she's pretty excited there! That was some unplanned video that I found when I was reviewing the footage.

If we’re just meeting, I’m Harley, that was my wife, and this is the House of Hacks where I make stuff out of a variety of materials.

In today’s episode we're going to be looking this cutting table that I made for my wife’s sewing room. It's primarily woodworking, but I also want to touch a little bit on some of the resistance we run into when creating things.

In a previous video, I showed how I made a table for my wife’s sewing machine out of largely recycled materials. In this video, we're going to be doing the same for her cutting table.

Overall design

The ends are filing cabinets that my previous employer was throwing away. And they're attached to a base that's primarily 2x4s and some plywood. This serves to hold the cabinets together so they don't move around and also to provide a little bit of a toe kick.

The cabinets were designed to go underneath desks in cubicles, and so they're designed to have things attached to the top which works perfectly for this application with the table top.

Back here in the middle, my wife wanted to use these cabinets that were designed for maps and blueprints. And here we can see see they’re stacked together, they're a couple inches taller than the filing cabinets on the end, so the design will have to account for that.

Since this table is right behind her sewing machine work area, she wanted this one corner to have a cutout in it to accommodate her serger. That adds a little bit of complexity to the overall design.

So, I took some measurements, got the materials and started to work.

Initial Construction

I started with an 4x8 sheet of plywood. This was several inches larger than I needed on both the length and the width and so cut it down to size.

As I did this, I sliced it off in thin strips. I then glued and tacked these strips to the bottom side edges of the table top to give a little more substance for the edge banding to attach to. I mounted these a little bit proud of the edge so when the glue dried, I could use a router bit to make the edges flush.

My wife has some poplar trim in her sewing room, so I cut some banding out of this for the edges to:
  • improve the looks,
  • protect the exposed plies of the plywood and
  • to tie the different elements of her room together.

I then glued and tacked the banding to the edge of the top.

And then the project sat.. and sat… and sat.

Resistance

I ran smack dab into what Steven Pressfield in The War of Art calls “Resistance.”

Eventually I did get going on it it again.

Steven Pressfield sees Resistance as an invisible inner force that keeps us from exercising our genius, from doing the thing that we were born to do. In the book. he talks about the various forms this can take and different ways of overcoming it.

As a Christian, I don’t know that I completely agree with all the things he talks about. In particular, he talks about praying to his Muse. That doesn’t fit within my faith framework.

But the part about Resistance being a force opposing the creative process does resonate with me. He seems to see it as an impersonal force within ourselves that we have to overcome. I’m not sure that’s the whole story.

I believe we are each made in God’s image and part of that is being imbued with creativity. We’re creative because He is creative.

In what follows, I don’t have any scripture for this. It’s based more on general spiritual principles than direct scriptural support, so don’t take it as doctrine. It’s just musing on my part.

I think Steven is right in that there may be psychological, internal reason we face Resistance when creating things. But I can also see Resistance as being a tool the Enemy of our Soul uses to keep us from doing the very things that God has created us to do. He's always trying to stymie God's plans and purposes in our lives. I think this may be one of the ways he does it.

I suspect it’s probably some combination of the two, both the psychological and the external, and the ratio probably varies from one person to the next.

Habits to overcome Resistance

I started a new job at the beginning of the year and now have a longer commute. To make use of that time, I subscribed to Audible and have listened to a number of books that have been on my reading list for quite a while, The War of Art being one of them.

Another one I listened to is Atomic Habits by James Clear. I found it interesting that some of the things James talks about in forming habits dovetail nicely with some of the strategies Steven talks about in overcoming Resistance.

If you’re interested in using your drive time, or chore time, or any other time where you could listen to a book, sign up at the Audible link below. It’s a 30 day free trial where you get two audible books that are yours to keep, even if you don’t continue past the trial period. Or if you’re already an Audible subscriber, there’s a direct link to both these books below too.

Final construction

Getting back to the project, under the plywood, the table top has a skirt that is boxed in on each end.

The boxes serve multiple purposes:
  • they add rigidity to the whole top,
  • they provide a mounting spot to attach to the cabinets and
  • they fill the space difference between the two types of cabinets.

The bottom of the boxes are made with a thinner plywood and have t-nuts in them to attach to the filing cabinets. The thinner plywood also acts as a top in the serger cutout.

After it was all assembled, I painted the main field and then put a polyurethane top coat over the paint, the edge banding and skirt.

Finished product

With a little help, putting it in place was simply a matter of taking out the old top and placing the new one in its place. And a bolt on each corner keeps it from sliding around.

Join me in this video where I show how I put made the table for my wife's sewing machine. And down here is a playlist of other sewing room related projects.

Thanks for joining me on our creative journey, long as it may take some times.

Now, go make something.

Perfection isn't required.

Fun is!