Little Creek Maple Farm

Our adventures around the homestead.

Quilting Table – 1.0

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For those of you wondering what a quilting table is, it’s basically an in-feed/out-feed table like you would see with a table saw but smaller, less manly, and scaled down for a sewing machine.  There are commercially made plastic one, but my client, wants a wood one, hand made by her own wood shop.  As with all of her projects I request a plan/drawing, prior to start of fabrication.  Basically the orange is the sewing machine in plan view and the green is the quilting table.  The size of the table will be 18” x 22” and this will fit snug against the sewing machine “free arm”.  The sewing machine “free arm” or bed as I am going to call it is only about 3-1/2” by 11”, which is tiny in woodworking standards.

The first thing I did was take a large piece of paper and trace a paper template of the sewing machine bed.  Since the quilting table needs to be fairly snug up against the machine a template would help get me pretty close to the final size.

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With the paper template of the sewing bed cut out I decided to make one more template out of 1/4” hardboard.  The hardboard is easier to work with than the 1/2” birch plywood top Wen had chosen for her quilting table and it is easier to fine tune with a coarse file to get the exacting dimensions I am looking for.  Another bonus is that I can then use the hardboard as a pattern/template that I can attach to my plywood and use a router with a flush bit to get an exact copy.

Step #1

I cut a piece of 1/4” hardboard to 18” x 22” per the pre-approved plan.  Next I laid out 3 lines, one 9” from the left side, one 6” from the front, and one 6” from the back.  These layout lines gave me a nice rectangle on which to locate the paper template of the sewing machine bed.  After a brief consultation with the boss it was decided to locate the front of the bed 6” from the front edge of the hardboard.  I held the paper template in place and traced the outline by hand.

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Step #2

With the outline complete, I cut out the sewing bed area with a handheld jig saw.  as you can see below I purposely stayed 1/16” away from the pencil line.  this is so I could fine tune the pattern with a coarse file.

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Wen also decided that the quilting table should have rounded corners so I took a small can of stain and traced around it at the four corners of the table.

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Step #3

After filing the hardboard to the pencil line I had laid out it was up to the sewing machine to check fit. The fit needed to be snug so I erred on the side of caution figuring it was easier to file more material away for a perfect fit, rather that having to add material.

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It’s hard to tell from the photo above, but the first pass was almost a perfect fit.  The hardboard template was a little tight at the back curve and a little tight in the front.  Back down to the garage for some fine tuning with the file.


Once again, hard to see, but this time we had a perfect fit.

Step #4

There were some slight changes to the design of the quilting table so I am glad we mocked it up with hardboard first.  The plywood below is 18”x22”, and after we test fit the hardboard to the sewing machine we discovered the front of the quilting table was protruding a little too much, so with a quick pass at the table saw we took off a couple inches. You can see below that the plywood is oversized partially for the design change but I wanted it oversized so I could screw the template on and have plenty of room to run the router around and get a perfect fit.  I used some 3/4” wood screws with finish washers to attached the hardboard template to the underside of the quilting platform.

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I then took a jig saw and cut 3/8” of an inch away from the edge of the hardboard.  I did this because the plywood tend to want to chip and splinter when using a jig saw.  The goal here was to remove the bulk of the material so I could come in afterwards with my router and a flush cut bit to finish up.

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Above you will see a slight design change, which is too hard to explain, but was needed.  So below I added a piece of hardboard to allow me to run my router right up to the desired dimension.

Quilting Table Pattern

I turned the piece over ran my router around the quilting table top and had an instant copy of my hardboard template.

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Step #5

The last step for today was to to a round over to help prevent fabric materials from catching while the boss is sewing.  I mocked up two round overs to make sure the boss could pick the correct one.  Keep in mind that this edge will be sanded smooth and coated with poly so this rougher plywood edge should smooth right out with a little putty and sanding.

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The quilting table edge below.

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The quilting table top 95% complete.  I just need to remove the hardboard backer, do some final fitting, and then its off to build some adjustable legs.

Quilting Table


December 26, 2013 - Posted by | Woodworking | , , , , ,


  1. As a newbie quilter, I can give this project a big thumbs up. Can’t wait to see the final installation. Your carpentry skills are showing again. 🙂

    Comment by Judy @ GrandparentsPlus2 | December 27, 2013 | Reply

    • Me too, I hope it works as well as it is supposed to work.

      Comment by billcarpenter4 | December 27, 2013 | Reply

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