Cutting table (discussion & pledge)

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Wren Montgomery

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Sep 11, 2011, 9:44:24 AM9/11/11
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With increased interest in knitting and sewing of late, the hackspace needs something along these lines: http://www.notmartha.org/tomake/cuttingtable/ 

This is a DIY version of a professional cutting table, which is used by costumers and tailors to trace, lay out and cut fabric.  I don't have enough flat table space with 360 degree access at home, and I'm guessing many others interested in sewing don't either.  I could also, with some care (don't get it too wet), be used to block knitting.

It needs to be slightly modified to suit the hackspace:  it must be storable (since taking up an entire table all the time is unfeasible.  I propose building a top sheet consisting of a backing layer underlying cork, to be wrapped in kraft paper in- or ex-situ,  which can be clamped onto one of the tables when needed.  The clamps will be dedicacted to this equipment. 

A budget is laid out below, a pledge page is set up here: http://wiki.london.hackspace.org.uk/view/Pledges/Cutting_Table

I am not sure what material is best to use as a backing; homosote doesn't seem to have  a UK equivalent.  It needs to be available as a single piece the size of the table, be sturdy enough to survive being stored flat in the wood pile, and be light enough to be moved around by one person.  So far, I haven't found anything which meets these reqirements and is orderable in single unit quantities.

The tables are 75 cm x150 cm x 3.25 cm.

Costs:
Cork:  http://www.corkstore.co.uk/bb14-cork-roll---60mm-x-122cm-x-24m-276-p.asp  122cm x 250cm x 6mm.  (surplus cork)  £116.80

Backing material: options:  MDF?  Fibreboard? 

Adhesive:  Wood glue  approximately £5

Clamps: G-clamps, 4 or 6x. http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B000OIRVSC/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_sr_3?pf_rd_p=103612307&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=B000LFRWBO&pf_rd_m=A3P5ROKL5A1OLE&pf_rd_r=069R2K0V7C16277PRFAF < £1 each.  = £6 total

Wrapping paper: Something like this: http://www.londonofficesupplies.co.uk/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=137827&Category_Code=&oct=ba1  £40

Total: £168 + cost of backing material TBD.

Wren

cepm...@yahoo.co.uk

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Sep 12, 2011, 3:54:52 AM9/12/11
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While this looks like an excellent addition to the space, I fear that it
will be too bulky and delicate to just put in the woodpile when not in
use! It might be better to have a semi permanent one with a cover/lid
that doubles as an ordinary table in the social area or perhaps a folding
version?

From the description and pictures of homosote on various sites I think the
best match would be Sundeala <http://www.sundeala.co.uk/sundeala.htm>. I
last bought some about eight years ago when it was £38:00 per 1220x2440
sheet.


--
" et cognoscetis veritatem et veritas liberabit vos. "

Charles Yarnold

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Sep 12, 2011, 4:08:08 AM9/12/11
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From my experience, even one being covered for dual use will quickly cause enough small bits of damage to render it unusable as a fabric table. Much better to have a dedicated suffice that is attached to another table with its own storage place.

Wren Montgomery

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Sep 12, 2011, 4:20:00 AM9/12/11
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A folding version negates part of the purpose; if there are any discontinuities in the surface, it will introduce jogs in the cuts. 

I am open to storage places other than the woodpile (or even a complete table, yes, sol), but am conscious that dedicated storage in the space is at a premium.  Something that could be stored in the woodpile seems like the best compromise.


Adrian Godwin

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Sep 12, 2011, 7:52:00 AM9/12/11
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On Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 9:20 AM, Wren Montgomery
<wren.mo...@gmail.com> wrote:
> A folding version negates part of the purpose; if there are any
> discontinuities in the surface, it will introduce jogs in the cuts.
>
> I am open to storage places other than the woodpile (or even a complete
> table, yes, sol), but am conscious that dedicated storage in the space is at
> a premium.  Something that could be stored in the woodpile seems like the
> best compromise.
>

How about storing it flat against the ceiling ?

-adrian

Wren Montgomery

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Sep 12, 2011, 8:25:25 AM9/12/11
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Assuming the dropped ceiling could support it, wouldn't it block the ceiling lights?

(I don't have a clear mental image of the lhs ceiling, it must be said.)

W

SheraDreaming

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Sep 12, 2011, 8:33:15 AM9/12/11
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I built myself one of these using these plans a few years ago.

If I remember correctly it was plywood layered with homasote layered
with thick cork on the top. I found that wood glue wasn't enough to
keep the cork from slipping and used rubber cement with a paintbrush
to great effect. After the "pancake" part was complete I glued
rounded wood moulding with 45 degree corners along the edges, and
finished them with finishing nails. Yes (beaten) Phil is right that
homasote is called Sundeala here.

One thing to note is that for pins to "take" properly, you want the
cork + homasote surface thickness to be wide enough to take a whole
pin--otherwise you will go to pin your fabric and find the pins only
go in halfway before hitting the wood. This militates somewhat against
the ideal of keeping the surface lightweight.

I had a similar problem to what you are describing with space. I made
mine rather too big in retrospect, which is easy to do. But the legs
I used for mine I purchased separately from Ikea, and they were screw-
ons which were height adjustable--just screw the plates into the
bottom of the table and then the legs can be added or removed for
storage at will. Maybe this would be an idea here?

I know people like to paper the table surface to use in cutting, but I
always found that a pain as it just dulls your rotary cutter (which I
suggest for use with this table). Assuming people are not going at
the surface too hard, and the cork you choose is dense enough and
thick enough not to flake, I would recommend dispensing with the
paper.

Another idea regarding space might be to hinge one of the shorter
sides of the table to a wall, and fold it up out of the way when not
in use. The surface would then be protected against the wall. Yes
you'd lose the 360 degree aspect, but if it's done along the short
side it shouldn't be too bad. Safety in putting it up and down would
have to be addressed though.

Love to see anything that makes the space better for crafters.

Shera

On Sep 12, 12:52 pm, Adrian Godwin <artgod...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 9:20 AM, Wren Montgomery
>

Wren Montgomery

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Sep 12, 2011, 8:49:43 AM9/12/11
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Thanks for sharing your experience -- particularly the bits about glue!

Wall mounting is an interesting idea; where in the space would you see it fitting?

It would need to be mounted on one of the cinderblock walls for stability, I think.

I think the paper is going to be important because:

* let's be realistic: people are going to go at the surface too hard. Maybe only once, but once is enough. 

* it keeps the whole setup clean.  Accidents happen.  If there's brown paper, the cork is protected.  If your fabric/knitting sheds, cleanup is simple. 

*It will allow for the use of tracing wheels without excessively damaging thecork.

I have carefully avoided discussion of cutting tools because I believe this is first a personal choice and second will succumb to the tragedy of the commons (see the tips of the soldering irons) so should be left to individual choice.

Wren

Adrian Godwin

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Sep 12, 2011, 11:10:41 AM9/12/11
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I've only seen rotary cutters used on self-healing mats, which are
usually a lot smaller than this proposed surface. I would agree that
paper might blunt them, though. What's the ideal large surface for
rotary cutting ? some sort of lino ?

-adrian

Nick Leaton

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Sep 12, 2011, 8:58:35 AM9/12/11
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As an aside. The Green mats that you can buy for cutting using stanley knives etc. Can you get them in any size?

--
Nick

SheraDreaming

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Sep 12, 2011, 1:17:15 PM9/12/11
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@Wren,
Not really sure about location, just throwing ideas out there. For
some reason I've always visualized the area where members' boxes are
(if they're still there, to the left of the workshop door) as a
dedicated crafty area surrounded by extensive wall storage--but I'm
sure there are plans in place for it already? In that scenario we'd
have to be amazing about efficient storage of items that would use
vertical space brilliantly...

Up to you about the paper of course, you're right people prob won't
restrain themselves ;), but the paper drove me nuts and would fold
itself into cuts in the cork and be a general pain in the butt to
replace etc. If paper is to be, we should consider putting a roll
holder on the end of the table and ordering the right paper roll size
to fit it. Maybe a more resilient surface than cork is needed though,
hadn't considered tracing wheels.

@Adrian,
If the cork is dense and thick enough, rotary cutters work fine on
it... but granted the table I had was not for public use and I assumed
I'd have to replace the cork eventually. The trouble here is that we
need a surface that will both take stickpins (cork will, self-healing
mats won't, lino may in the right density), that will resist rotary
cutters, and that tracing wheels won't rip chunks out of. You may be
right that lino is the way to go but I would worry about tracing
wheels, whether we could get it in the right size, and whether it
would be deep enough for pins?

@Nick,
The green mats come in some enormous sizes, but it takes some
looking. I have a pretty big one, 35" x 23" (89cm x 58cm), and it was
mid-range in terms of size...I think they go up to about 6 by 12 feet
or so (1.8m x 3.6m). See here for a place that does custom mat sizes.
[1].

[1] http://bit.ly/nC7Lyy

Adrian Godwin

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Sep 12, 2011, 1:04:25 PM9/12/11
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A0 and bigger

http://www.parker-photo.co.uk/shop/product.asp?P_ID=10809

Olfa are (or were) the brand leader but there are many cheaper manufacturers.

-adrian

Wren Montgomery

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Sep 12, 2011, 6:12:07 PM9/12/11
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Cutting tables and rotary cutters represent two different disciplines in textiles.

Cutting tables come from the traditions of  tailoring, couture fashion and costuming.  They are actually designed to work with *good* scissors and pinking shears, especially the kind with angled handles.

Rotary cutters and self-healing mats (the cutters predate the mats but didn't come into wide use until the mat technology matured and cheapened) come from the more modern quilting community.  As such, rotary cutters and mats are optimized for cutting lots of straight, predictable lines.

In the original post I linked to, she mentions using a rotary cutter with her table by sliding the mat along under the cloth to be cut, around the pins I presume.  This sounds workable if requiring some practice to me.

If there is interest in a large self-healing mat (I had no idea they came in Very Large), I don't see any reason it couldn't be folded into this pledge/infrastructure, since if we successfully find storage for a 150x75 cm hmosote/cork/paper unit, storing a 1.5mm self-healing mat with it probably isn't an issue, but let's remember that a self-healing mat alone will not be suitable for either tracing or pinning patterns down to be cut out.

W

Nick Leaton

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Sep 13, 2011, 3:50:29 AM9/13/11
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Thanks on the custom mats.
--
Nick

SheraDreaming

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Sep 13, 2011, 11:11:11 AM9/13/11
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Yep I'm aware cutting tables aren't really designed for rotary
cutters. And given the population at the space that should probably
stay the official line ;)

Worth noting that neither the table nor the self-healing mats can be
ironed on without creating buckling. Tried it...

Is ironing something that's already catered for in the space? I know
it's beyond the scope of your post W, but it's central to most sewing
so maybe we should design around it? Ironing boards certainly lend
themselves to wall-mounting as well, so maybe the table could fold
down on one side, ironing board on the other, and sewing machine in
the middle? Say a C shape. When not in use the table and ironing
board would fold up against the wall, and the sewing machine and iron
could be stored inside the wheeled box the sewing machine sits on and
rolled out of the way?

Sorry don't mean to highjack. We could do the table now and just mark
the wall in chalk as an FYI for the other future parts, for example...

S.

Wren Montgomery

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Sep 13, 2011, 11:50:11 AM9/13/11
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Shera:

Inasmuch as the physical space allocated for resources in the hackspace mirrors the interests and needs of the hackspace members, I very much doubt any kind of dedicated wallspace is likely for a sewing machine cabinet, wallmounted ironing board, *and* a cutting table.  It would be nice, I agree.

At present, I believe every single inch of wall space which could support this (I mean structurally) is occupied.  Short of shoving the wood pile into the center of the shop (not a serious proposal, gang) and staking out that wall area, if this is to be successful, it needs to fit over/into the existing arrangement.

I think many of the LHS users who sew have their own sewing machines and ironing setups at home, configured to their own particulars, so those aren't in high demand.  The hackspace isn't somewhere people come to sew large projects. 

A cutting table, on the other hand, might be of service to all these people.  And, if we were to set things up so that the huge plotter could be used to print out pattern pdfs pre-assembled, the hackspace could become somewhere one goes to print and prepare patterns and cut fabric.

So, yes, if we could return to the original thread of a cutting table, and whether one can be modified to fit within the LHS, that would be good.

Wren

Wren Montgomery

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Sep 13, 2011, 12:50:11 PM9/13/11
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Along those lines:  could we make an existing table *flippable*?  Either by flipping the entire table top, or inserting an axis and locks so that the central part (the bit within the legs) can be rotated.

Wren

SheraDreaming

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Sep 13, 2011, 3:25:25 PM9/13/11
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I don't think anyone is hurt by a mention of what an ideal world would
look like. Who knows when this information might incite some genius.

S.

Michael Shiloh

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Sep 13, 2011, 3:57:55 PM9/13/11
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hear hear!!!!

--
Michael Shiloh
KA6RCQ
www.teachmetomake.com
teachmetomake.wordpress.com
Interested in classes? Join http://groups.google.com/group/teach-me-to-make

Michael Shiloh

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Sep 13, 2011, 3:59:11 PM9/13/11
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in fact, with your permission, i'd like to forward this to the makezine
blog.


On 09/13/2011 12:25 PM, SheraDreaming wrote:

--

Wren Montgomery

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Sep 13, 2011, 5:04:08 PM9/13/11
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Forward what, exactly?

Sam Kelly

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Sep 14, 2011, 9:12:47 AM9/14/11
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That's an interesting idea. Another option that occurs to me would be to make one which folds up against the wall (maybe on two posts attached to a long side, rather than directly on a short side) and which has an undersurface that's useful for something else. Noticeboard? Lightweight securely-clipped tool storage? Or possibly a few rows of cupboards/drawers hinged at the top, so they stay vertical when it folds down, and perhaps even form the legs for it in its downwards position.

Sam
--
Sam Kelly, http://www.eithin.co.uk/

That's it.  We're not messing around anymore, we're buying a bigger dictionary.  -  Tibor Fischer, The Thought Gang.

Wren Montgomery

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Sep 14, 2011, 9:22:55 AM9/14/11
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For a folding-against-the-wall arrangement, the short side on the wall would be indescribably preferable, due to the all important ratio of armlength to table half-width.

Can we combine this with component storage?  they're light,  Although they might be too frequently accessed...what's something currently taking up wall space that might not be used frequently?

Come to think of it, what's the status of the kitchen area(s)?  I've kinda lost track now. 
The "old" kitchen has unclaimed wall space, doesn't it?

I may have found a cheaper source of thinner cork.  Anyone got thoughts/experience on the feasibility and stability of stacking cork?
Wren

SheraDreaming

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Sep 14, 2011, 1:04:01 PM9/14/11
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@Michael, if you mean me, yes go ahead.

@Wren, I feel sure there must be some way to incorporate the table.
I've got some loopy ideas if the old kitchen has wall space--double-
sided cork/healing mat table mounted on the wall? ;)

Maybe we're overthinking this. If there's no wall space, what about
something like this? [1] [2] Yes this is ridiculously expensive but
could we make our own and store it behind a couch maybe, if the
castors were flat to the ground enough? Failing that, what's wrong
with a simple folding-leg meeting table stored at the back of the
woodpile.


[1] Table: http://bit.ly/pgeb3f
[2] Another one: http://bit.ly/pbMmaC

cepm...@yahoo.co.uk

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Sep 18, 2011, 5:35:48 AM9/18/11
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Dear all

By one of those wonderful coincidences that only favour the pure in heart,
the day after replying to this original post I unexpectedly took delivery
of 25 sheets of 10mm Sundealea at my workplace. Sadly, these were
accounted for as part of refurbishments and so have been screwed to
various walls.

Do not despair! The pallet they came on was made of Sundeala! There is now
in the space a large (900x1200x25)piece of Sundeala. This is twice as
thick as is normally supplied and will suit our purpose admirably.


The board is thick enough to be used on a flat surface without needing a
permanent backing. My guess is that a layer of thin cork tiles will finish
the surface nicely, the self adhesive ones stick like the proverbial to a
blanket and butt up to each other almost invisibly. To stop erosion around
the edges a wooden strip frame might be required but only if you are being
really fussy...probably not needed.

Phil


On Sun, 11 Sep 2011 14:44:24 +0100, Wren Montgomery
<wren.mo...@gmail.com> wrote:

Nigel Worsley

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Sep 18, 2011, 8:53:30 AM9/18/11
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> To stop erosion around the edges a wooden strip frame might be required but only if you are being
> really fussy...probably not needed.

A few layers of paint should be sufficient, it is probably worth painting the reverse side as well.

Nigle

Wren Montgomery

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Sep 18, 2011, 1:19:44 PM9/18/11
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Thank you soooo! Much!  That is awesome.  I will pop by the space tuesday if not earlier and put a big do-not-hack sign on it. 

Cork tiles will unfortunately not be smooth enough (going by the experiene of others on the internet) but I'm thinking its time to order the super-cheap cork off ebay and see about gluing two layers together. 

Let me think about the pros and cons of painting the cork surface.

Wren

Wren Montgomery

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Sep 18, 2011, 2:40:51 PM9/18/11
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Does ayone know, how will painting affect the texture of the cork?

Wren

cepm...@yahoo.co.uk

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Sep 18, 2011, 3:29:13 PM9/18/11
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No problem, "Do Not Hack" applied, leaning against the new box L/H side of
entrance to workshop. Suggest using contact adhesive for the cork.
Phil

Wren Montgomery

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Sep 20, 2011, 3:48:05 PM9/20/11
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Phil --  I understand you're the expert on suspending things from the LHS ceiling.  How good do you think our chances are of suspending the lovely (slightly slimmer, 75cm) board + some cork are? 

I imagine that it would be on pulleys and some kind of release so that it could be stored and lowered and used and hooked back up and restored...this would keep it safe out of the way but easily accessible.

Wren
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