Wednesday, July 17, 2013

The Creme de la Cutting Table, Finished At Last!

My Finished Cutting Table: 97" x 42" top, 38 3/4" height
My cutting table is finally finished!  Well, mostly, anyway -- I still haven't gotten around to ordering the other two cabinet knobs for those red drawers, and Bernie hasn't finished the little shelf that goes on top of the red drawer base unit, either. 

The red drawers are a Kraftmaid kitchen cabinet that we ordered from Home Depot in white and then painted red ourselves.  All of the white units were built by my husband from scratch out of MDF, sized to perfectly fit the 17" x 21" double-depth (7" deep) wire baskets from ClosetMaid.  The surface is a John Boos 1 1/2" thick solid maple butcher block counter top, unfinished so it "grips" my cutting mat and won't let it slide around.  We ordered that from Butcher Block Co. online.
New Base in Place, Old Dark Brown Table Top

In the photo above, the new cutting table base is in place but the countertop hadn't been delivered yet so we just had the old top from my previous temporary cutting table in place.  See how much smaller it was?  The surface of my new cutting table is 42" x 97", and the height of the table is 38 3/4".  I'm about 5'8" tall and this puts the cutting surface about 4 or 5 inches below my elbow when I'm standing -- perfect for rotary cutting as well as for cutting with scissors.  I need lots of space in this area, because I don't just cut on my cutting table -- I pile all the fabrics and supplies I'm using around the perimeter.  I also discovered that, now that I have that fabulous 200 watt Ivanhoe Sky Chief pendant fixture from Barn Light Electric, I really like sitting at the cutting table for things like hand hemming, cutting and tracing applique templates, etc., so we incorporated an open space in the center for a stool. 

Another change from my previous cutting table designs is that this one is up against the wall rather than floating and accessible from all sides.  It won't work as well for basting quilts, but I only have to do that a couple of times each year and I think I can come up with a temporary setup for that when the need arises.  Meanwhile, I gained back a lot of floor space by putting the table against the wall.

I really love the built-in storage in this table.  I keep my scissors, rotary cutters, cutting templates, and tailor's ham in the red drawers.  I have plenty of room for my fabric stash in those breathable wire bins, and I have ClosetMaid metal base units with more wire bins at the back of the table, on both sides.  No wasted space!  I really love how this turned out.  The lighter color of the maple surface (compared to the dark brown finish on the old tabletop I had before) reflects light without any glare whatsoever, and it will last forever. 

As you can see, a lot of thought went into planning this table.  The size, location, lighting, materials and finishes were selected with great deliberation and care.  A lot of thought was NOT given to the weight of a 97" x 2" solid maple countertop, or to how we would get this behemoth up the stairs to the studio once it arrived.  According to the Bill of Lading from the commercial freight carrier, this countertop weighs 364 lbs!  Yet somehow, Bernie and I managed to get it up the stairs, around the corner to the studio, and then heaved up onto the base without damaging the butcher block, the walls, or either of our backs.  I think this must be one of those phenomenon where women acquire a burst of superhuman strength in an emergency situation, like when a car must be lifted from a child, or when a long-awaited countertop must be lifted onto the cutting table base. 

So, next?  Well, the little shelf surface for the unfinished top of the red base cabinet needs to be made, painted, and installed.  That will be a great place to store the extension bed for my big, bad Bernina sewing machine.  I'd like to find a more comfortable stool.  Also, once I have emptied the shelving unit on the adjacent wall and moved it to the other side of the room, we can install some white pegboard on the walls adjacent to the cutting table for storage of my acrylic rulers and machine embroidery hoops.  No wasted space!  I also have another piece of furniture in this room that I want to repaint and repurpose for storage.  But meanwhile, I've been working on the design for a new, improved sewing cabinet with back-to-back work stations.  Stay tuned...


Jenny K. Lyon said...

Oh I am sooooo jealous! That table is fabulous. Just because of you I now lust after the red chair too. Just bought a new machine and wanted the chair with it but it just put the $ over the top so I didn't. But it's still your fault!!

Unknown said...

Luv, luv everything that you write about. I am looking for lighting above my cutting table and really like yours. I'm in Hickory so my ears perk up when you talk of things in this area!

Rebecca Grace said...

Jenny... Which machine did you buy?

Shelor: Yes, I love my light, too. There are a lot of similar looking fixtures out there, but the one I bought from Barn Light Electric Co. is 200 watts, which is why it gives such fantastic task lighting. You can read about that light fixture in this post:

Lane said...

Oh, I am jealous. I just want to move some furniture around and can't quite get up the "gumption" to even get started. Take care and enjoy that new cutting station. Lane