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Work/Cutting Table Questions

Work/Cutting Table Questions

Old 09-20-2012, 04:37 PM
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Anyone know the rule of thumb for height on cutting tables? I know it is a formula using my height but not sure how that goes, also any suggestions on width from front to back of table?My biggest cutting mat is 36" so I was thinking 36" wide from front to back. I have a chance to have a custom made work/cutting table, my girlfriend owns a shop and I was down there today. She has someone make her work tables for her, he either uses finished plywood or laminate counter top for the top, adds shelves underneath, has sides and a back on the shelves so nothing can slide off from the side or back. I have 2 cabinets from Home Depot (those cheap ones made of particle board with 2 doors on them) they have 3 shelves in each cabinet and I think I could get a work/cutting table with shelves and have as much storage space as the 2 cabinets plus have a cutting table and more wall space for more shelving etc. I have a place for the cabinets in my "Loom Room" for weaving supplies and that will leave more room in the sewing room. Now I just have to figure out the height and width I want and see how much he charges.
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:46 PM
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I don't know the rule of thumb, but I had one fixed for me that is about 7 inches higher than normal table height. I can do this by adding removable plastic pipes to the legs of the table. You just don't want to have to bend over too much if you are doing a lot of cutting.
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Old 09-20-2012, 04:49 PM
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I can not remember the book but I read somewhere that depending on the type of cutting (shear vs rotary) would effect the height of a cutting table. The problem I ran into is that I cut both ways, an equal amount of the time. Another source recommended that you stand, bend your arm so that your forearm runs parralell with the floor/tabletop. have someone measure from the floor to your elbow. drop down 3" and that is the height they suggested. If you are of average height usually 36" is recommended. I am 6' tall so my typical cutting height is quite a bit higher than my husband who is only 5'5"(thankfully he doesnt use my cutting table, much less sew )
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Old 09-20-2012, 05:53 PM
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I like my rotary cutting table height. Just measured it, and it is 3.5" below my belly button. If I bend my arm at the elbow, it is at least 5" below that; I think any higher would make it more difficult to exert pressure when rotary cutting.

My table is 40" deep, which is way more than is necessary for rotary cutting. I always end up with plastic bins stored at the back end of the table (which is against a wall). I consider it a huge advantage to have a cutting table that is free-standing with access from all 4 sides; mine is in a corner, so I only have access to 2 sides. It still works great, but 3 sides would be better. Your proposal of 36" in depth is good.

My table is 70" wide, which again is more than is necessary. The extra width is nice when handling large pieces of fabric or bolts.

Aside from cutting, I use this table for machine quilting while standing up. My dh made me a styrofoam table that fits around my domestic sewing machine. I place both on my cutting table, and I have a large flat surface for machine quilting. Standing up while quilting means I can quilt much longer and do not develop the pain in my back and shoulders that I used to get when machine quilting while sitting down.
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:16 PM
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Lotsa good ideas, where are you from in Wisconsin??? I am from Dodgeville area, Southwestern Wisconsin. Ready for the cold weather????
Thanks for all the tips and suggestions.
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Old 09-20-2012, 06:48 PM
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I had my brother build my cutting table (he's my 'cabinet guy'...). It is 38 inches high which is about two inches higher than the ones you buy at JoAnn's or wherever. I have lower back issues, and the extra two inches in height seems to help. In fact, my brother built all the cabinets in our house and all the countertops - kitchen, bath, laundry - are 38 inches high (standard ones are 36"). Makes a huge difference in terms of back pain caused by bending over.

The top of my table is big enough to hold two 24x36 cutting mats taped together, with a couple of inches extra top and bottom, and about 6 inches extra side to side. That way I have room for rulers, pin cushions, rotary cutter, etc., off to the side of the cutting mat.
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:13 AM
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My friend made my cutting/sewing table for me. It is 4 ft. by 8ft. with 2 shelves underneath. It has a well that my sewing machine sits down in. I especially like it when Im quilting large pieces. My 36 x 24 cutting matt sits on one end and I have access to it from 3 sides. Wish I knew how to post pictures.
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:44 AM
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My cutting area is kitchen cabinet height, with a pre-made counter from Lowe's on the top - its absolutely perfect. I used the old cabinets from our kitchen (we remodeled it, so when the new cabinets arrived from Kraftmade, the old ones went into the garage to be painted for my quilt room). At each end of the 10' counter is the base cabinet, with about 4' of open area in between. We used that area to build shelves between the two base cabinets, which I skirted with a skirt that has velcro on the top, so I can rip it off to wash or open it up. The wall cabinets went above - one set at each end, and we built open cabinets in between to store the shoe size plastic boxes with lids for misc. A mini flood light set up from Ikea is mounted so I have tons of light onto that counter, and cutting is a breeze now.
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Old 09-21-2012, 05:57 AM
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I have an Ikea table - Vika Artur trestle legs and a standard top. It is adjustable up to 36" which I found a bit too high for me so I lowered it a bit. I love love love my table! If you have access to an ikea, I can not say enough nice things about this set up.
Okay. I was going to post a picture of it but I got a failed message...
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Old 09-21-2012, 06:49 AM
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I want the height of my cutting table to be where I can stand perfectly upright and lay the palms of my hands on the top of the surface in the middle of the table without any bending at all to my spine or arms. I would have to bend my arms to put my palms down on the nearest edge of the table and bend my spine to put my palms down on the furtherest edge. I would want the legs to have the height adjustable, so that it at some time in the future I wanted to use it to put another sewing machine on and sit and sew, the height could be lowered and adjust for that also. My current table is 36" high and 36" wide but it is not adjustable. I find it is perfect for my height.

Last edited by TanyaL; 09-21-2012 at 06:51 AM.
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