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Archive for September 16th, 2015

Sears Sewing Table: Shortened Legs With Levelers

Mary picked up a sewing table at a tag sale:

Sears Sewing Table - installed

Sears Sewing Table – installed

It has a number of shortcomings (notice the padding taped to the corner of the useless drawers), but the most pressing problem was that it didn’t quite line up with the table top in the Basement Sewing Room. After some pondering, we decided to shorten the legs and install leveling screws.

The first problem was figuring out how to dismantle the thing. It turns out the legs have completely hidden joint hardware:

Sears Sewing Table - leg joint hardware

Sears Sewing Table – leg joint hardware

They’re obviously intended as assemble-only fittings, but prying from the inside of the corners will put the tool marks where they can’t be seen:

Sears Sewing Table - leg removal

Sears Sewing Table – leg removal

The legs taper below the fittings and require shims to prevent horrible saw accidents:

Sears Sewing Table - leg shortening

Sears Sewing Table – leg shortening

Another in my continuing series of Why You Can Never Have Too Many Clamps shows the square section of the leg aligned with the saw fence:

Sears Sewing Table - leg clamps

Sears Sewing Table – leg clamps

And when the cuttin’ were done, it turned out that the table had two different types of legs with (at least) two different lengths:

Sears Sewing Table - leg cutoffs

Sears Sewing Table – leg cutoffs

I have a bunch of 5/16 inch feet from some random industrial hardware, so I drilled a 5/16 inch hole into the legs, using a doweling jig and more shims:

Sears Sewing Table - leg drilling setup - overview

Sears Sewing Table – leg drilling setup – overview

Normally, you’d bang a T-nut into each leg, but I thought those spikes would split the minimal wood remaining around the hole, so I turned the corners off a quartet of ordinary hex nuts and laid a coarse groove along their length:

Sears Sewing Table - preparing nut inserts

Sears Sewing Table – preparing nut inserts

The modified nuts are 1/2 inch OD and you should drill that hole before the longer 5/16 inch clearance hole. I’ll eventually dab some epoxy in the holes, seat the nuts, and that’ll be a permanent installation with no risk of cracking the legs.

The snippet of tape on the doweling jig remembers the drill guide position, but the legs were sufficiently different that each one required different shims and some hand-tuning:

Sears Sewing Table - leg drilling setup - detail

Sears Sewing Table – leg drilling setup – detail

I dry-assembled the table in anticipation of more modifications. Basically, you wiggle-jiggle the leg studs into their latches, then whack the end of the leg with a rubber mallet to seat it against the underside of the tabletop.

Slicing another half inch off the legs seems like a Good Idea that should better match the upstairs table. Mary also wants to round off the drawers and remove a bit of the front panel, which will require dismantling the entire table, but that can wait for a pause in the quilting.

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