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Thread: Tips to make old desk into quilting table

  1. #1
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    Tips to make old desk into quilting table

    I have a lovely older wooden desk. The only problem that I have with it is that the top is too tall. Especially when I have a sewing machine on it. That adds what? 4inches? I've been reading how people have built up around the machine to make a flush surface, but I really need to bring it down 3-4 inches instead.

    So I was thinking about cutting the front of the desk. A regular rectangle just a few inches larger than my machine all the way around. Then suspending this cut out with the metal hanging tape that they use to hold your pipes and A/C units.

    That's all I can think of. I don't have a quilting extension table or anything like that. Just big desk and a sewing machine! Oh, the desk does have a drawer right there, and when I pull it out to experiment, I can set the machine right on the drawer and it's a good height. But I don't think it would support the weight of the machine and quilting for long.

    So any and all suggestions are welcome.. no matter how far-fetched or obvious to you (cause it's not to me!)
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  2. #2
    tmw
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    are you talking about the cabinet the machine is on now.? if so, can you cut the legs shorter? the tape you are talking about i s not as strong as it looks. or raise your chair.
    Thelma

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    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    No, the one in the middle. The big one just under the lamps. It's a terrible picture, I know. I tried to add another picture, but it's too big.
    I do raise my chair up as high as I comfortably can. I do have some nerve damage in my left leg so I can't sit with my knees much lower than my hips.

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    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    you could reinforce the drawer to make it strong enough then you could cut a or have cut a piece of plexiglass to fit around your machine

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    If you're talking about modifying the L shaped desk sitting to the left of your sewing machine, it looks like it has a single drawer. Many years ago, I cut a hole in my husband's sturdy1960's era desk for my Kenmore. I placed the piece that I cut out down in the drawer and set my machine on top. It brought the machine bed flush with the surface. I don't remember if it needed a scrim or two. That machine had a drop-in bobbin, so I didn't have to remove the machine from the desk very often except for cleaning. Now I sew with a vintage Bernina 830 with vertical bobbin access below the bed of the machine. If I didn't want the inconvenience of pulling the machine out of the recess each time I needed to change the bobbin, I would have to remove the drawer completely. Then you would have the complexity, relative to the construction of the desk, of bracing a shelf below the desk surface.
    Elizabeth

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    Super Member Momma_K's Avatar
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    I'd hate to make adjustments to the deck! It's so nice looking!
    Thank You Lord for answering my prayers, in this I am truely blessed!

  7. #7
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by elizajo View Post
    If you're talking about modifying the L shaped desk sitting to the left of your sewing machine, it looks like it has a single drawer. Many years ago, I cut a hole in my husband's sturdy1960's era desk for my Kenmore. I placed the piece that I cut out down in the drawer and set my machine on top. It brought the machine bed flush with the surface. I don't remember if it needed a scrim or two. That machine had a drop-in bobbin, so I didn't have to remove the machine from the desk very often except for cleaning. Now I sew with a vintage Bernina 830 with vertical bobbin access below the bed of the machine. If I didn't want the inconvenience of pulling the machine out of the recess each time I needed to change the bobbin, I would have to remove the drawer completely. Then you would have the complexity, relative to the construction of the desk, of bracing a shelf below the desk surface.
    Yes, there is the long, drawer that pulls out into your lap. I'll miss it when I modify, because it holds all kinds of goodies! My bobbin is in the front of the machine, which just adds to the fun of trying to modify the desk! Thats why I figured I'd just cut out from the edge of the desk instead of cutting a machine shaped hole in the desk top.

    I may just start using the lower part of the "L". I don't want to because I love having that there to hold the bulk of the quilt, but my shoulders are telling me to do it anyway! AT least if I do that, I am just going to have to tape some phone books together so I have an even surface!! Actually, I may just do that. The desk is incredibly heavy and I don't want to move it, but oh well! Quilting and comfort come first!

  8. #8
    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Momma_K View Post
    I'd hate to make adjustments to the deck! It's so nice looking!
    It's a good, sturdy piece of furniture! I got it just so I could quilt on it, so I knew some modifications were going to have to be made! I just don't know the best way to make them! And it's all scratched up and covered in shelf paper, it's not as "nice" as it looks!

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    Can you clean out the drawer and place your machine in it? This would lower it a bit. You could remove the feet if they are removeable or cut the legs down if not. You could also have someone build you a platform that does under the desk and about 4 feet out into the room for your chair. Make it big enough that you don't roll your chair off the edge though. Good luck.

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    Super Member AshleyR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tartan View Post
    Can you clean out the drawer and place your machine in it? This would lower it a bit. You could remove the feet if they are removeable or cut the legs down if not. You could also have someone build you a platform that does under the desk and about 4 feet out into the room for your chair. Make it big enough that you don't roll your chair off the edge though. Good luck.
    Cleaning out the drawer would work, but I'm not sure it's a good long-term plan. I think the weight would eventually bend the tracks it's on.
    The desk doesn't have "legs", they are like walls. I've thought about cutting them down and then I remembered the terrible job I did when I cut the bottom of a door. It was terrible! Platform is a good idea but too much trouble. I have a hard enough time keeping my chair on the rug and it not rolling the rug up in the wheels! I'd hurt myself bad!!

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