I decided to do this hack because I needed a sewing / fabric cutting table which was easily moveable and a bit larger than my current one. So I came up with a design which would also allow me to nest the fabric cutting table over the top of my sewing cabinet when not in use.
It took a couple of weekends: one trip to IKEA and several trips to the hardware store as some materials were out of stock on my first visit.
One full day to make the castor boots.
Another day to make and fit the folding extension and tool well, and the varnishing took about 30 min for each coat plus drying time.
IKEA items used:
INGO table 120x75cm + pine panel (shelf from IVAR 50x80cm cupboard) + Allen key
Other materials and tools:
4x 50mm swivel castors with brake
2x spring loaded folding brackets
self adhesive metal tape measure
42x42mm x 1.2m dressed pine
65x12mm x 2.4m dressed pine
140mmx19mm x 1.8m dressed pine
Scrap piece of timber
90x19mm x 0.6m screws (I used 8G button head screws to avoid need for washers)
Bullet head nails to reinforce joints
3x 50mm long hex-socket bolts with matching nuts and washers
Work out how high you want the finished table (mine is 87cm), then subtract the height of the existing table (73cm) and the castors (mine are 66mm) to get the length of the boot’s core (leg raise).
Cut 4 pieces of 42x42mm pine to this length (mine were 75mm).
Castor boot construction
Cut 16 pieces of 12x56mm pine to twice the core length (150mm) and glue them around the core to make a socket at the top for the table leg.
I reinforced the glued joints with tiny dowels made from bamboo skewers — this is probably not really necessary.
Castor boots in place
When glue is dry, turn over the boot and attach the castors to the bottom. Boots can now be slipped onto table legs. You can adjust the finished table height if desired by stacking removable “biscuits” (cut from the leftover 42×42 pine) in the socket before putting them onto the legs. Drill a hole in the centre of each biscuit to aid removal.
Cut the pine panel to the same width as table and to desired length (I used the full size of the shelf I had, 46.5cm).
With the folding brackets in the unfolded position and using a scrap piece of timber the same thickness as the extension panel, position each bracket on the table leg so that the top of the extension will be level with the top of the table.
Table extension bracket showing notch for bracket mechanism
Mark and pre-drill the screw holes in the table leg, then attach the bracket. You will need to chisel out a small recess on the underneath edge of the tabletop where the bracket sits, to allow for the swing arc of the bracket mechanism.
Now lay the extension panel on top of the bracket with the edge of the panel butted up to the main table top (hint: put a folded piece of paper between the two sections to allow for any irregularities in the edges), and mark the screw holes on the underside.
Table extension in place
Turn over and check that the line of screw holes is parallel to the panel edge and adjust if necessary. Predrill holes, making sure not to go all the way through. Attach table top to bracket. Fold down out of the way while you complete the rest of the hack.
Make and fit tool well:
You could make the tool well as wide as the table, but then you’d have to fiddle around trying to make the back piece fit around the table legs.
It’s much simpler to just make the tool well to sit between the table legs (64cm) and add extra pieces to fill out the top to match the table width if you don’t like the appearance of the narrower well.
Cut the 5 pieces of the well from 19mm thick pine.
Back = 600L x 90W
Base = 600L x140W
Sides= 159L x 128W
Front = 638L x 128W
Note: you can either cut the width of the sides and front exactly, or just allow the excess to overhang as you won’t actually see this when it’s finished.
Cut out a rectangle on the top back of each side piece to allow the tool well to slot in under the table top (19mmH x 25mmW).
Tool well construction showing cut out on side piece
BEFORE you assemble the tool well, take the back piece, centre it on the end panel of the table frame, and mark and drill three holes through both pieces for the mounting bolts, making sure that you are well clear of any screws and brackets on the table frame.
Now assemble the tool well
Lay the base right side up on your work surface and glue the back onto the base, aligning the back edges. Allow to dry for 30 min then turn it so the back is down.
Glue the sides on, aligning the top edge of the cut-out with the top edge of the back piece. Glue the front on, aligning the top edge of the front piece with the uncut top edge of the side pieces. Allow glue to dry overnight, then reinforce the joints by nailing.
Punch in all nail heads and fill the holes and any gaps in the joints. Sand down the filler and any other imperfections. Varnish before attaching to table.
Varnish table, at least the top. Varnishing the legs and frame is optional. When the varnish has dried completely, trim the self adhesive tape measure so that 0-100cm is visible and attach a little way in from the long edge of the table. I’ve also added a screw on one of the legs under the tool well to hang a 60cm plastic ruler.
Finished fabric cutting table fully extended
Finished table packed away (sits over sewing cabinet)
What’s the cost?
Total cost $197.10 not counting materials from my stash (would be about $260 if you had to buy everything).
What do you like most about the hack?
The best thing about it is that it exactly meets my needs and a hack was cheaper and less effort than building from scratch, plus it retains the ability of the original table to be disassembled if necessary. The hardest part was planing down the timber used in making the boots by hand, from 65mm to 56mm.
Any other considerations?
If you weren’t confident in constructing the tool well, an alternative would be to cut down a SKÅDIS peg board from 76 cm to 72cm width (the edge to edge distance between the table legs), screw it to the table legs and then use purchased shelves/containers/hooks. The button head screws I used to attach the folding brackets would also be suitable for this purpose. I may add this as an extra feature below my tool well later.