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Thread: Sewing Machine Cabinet

  1. #1
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    Sewing Machine Cabinet

    OK my lovely wife got a good sewing machine, a Toyota TM780, and I want to build here a nice workstation for it.

    A couple of questions.....

    The lift kit that Rockler sells, anyone have it?



    How do these work, do you just pull it up, and it locks in place, and then push a button or something and it drops back in place?

    I see various plans like this one............



    I like the idea of some more storage, the drawers to the right, and I'm assuming that the supports on the left pull out of the cabinet?

    This unit is good too, but I do not think there are any plans for the second machine, at this time.. ???



    If any of you have some pics and or ideas, please share.

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  2. #2
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    Stu, I am among other things, in the process of building that sewing machine cabinet you have pictured. I am building it out of oak and using a frame and panel construction however I am using raised panels instead of the flat ones in the plans. My wife does not want the lift but would rather just have the sewing machine sitting on the top and moveable.
    A very wise man once said.......
    "I'll take my chances with Misseurs Smith and Wesson. "

  3. #3
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    Stu,
    I just recently finished building a big sewing machine cabinet for the wife. At her request, I used the air lift mechanism from "Horn of America." They make a very high priced line of sewing cabinetry, but will sell the lift mechanism separately. It cost me $200.00, which is a bit more than the Rockler mechanism, but it is an air cylinder assisted lift, and not just a spring mechanism. It has stops for ful up, full down, and an adjustable intermediate stop.

    The cabinet I built is 24" deep, 29" high, and 62" wide, with a 24" drop leaf on the back. It's all oak and oak ply, with full extension Accuride drawer slides and 3" locking casters from Hartville Hardware.

    The wife loves it!

    Last edited by Jim DeLaney; 04-01-2007 at 12:35 AM. Reason: make correction to image source
    Jim D.
    Adapt...Improvise...Overcome!

    It seems to me that the whole premise of "Political Correctness," however well-intentioned it may be, runs the danger of uniform mediocrity becoming the norm.

  4. #4
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    What................ NO pics Steve............?? Sorry, isn't happening

    Jim, nice cab! No wonder your wife is happy with that!

    I think I might forgo the lift and just do the swing up, lift the back thing and then swing down cab.

    It has to get out of sight, as this will be in the living room, as until the girls leave for collage, we don't have a sewing room for my wife

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Ablett View Post
    ...I think I might forgo the lift and just do the swing up, lift the back thing and then swing down cab.

    It has to get out of sight, as this will be in the living room, as until the girls leave for collage, we don't have a sewing room for my wife...
    Stu, your first image:



    would seem to be the most practical for a small area. However, that image has the work area on the wrong side of the machine. You'd want the 'deck' to be on the left side of the needle, to support the clothing/quilt/whatever that's being worked on.

    I'd definitely use the lift, though. It'd make it a lot easier to stow the machine or bring it out for work.

    BTW, the lift - at least the one I used - works by just pushing down firmly on the machine for about an inch to release the lock. Then, you just continue pushing it down to lock it in the lower position(s). To raise the machine, you again push it downward to release the lock, then just let it rise upward. The air assists lets the machine come up smoothly, and not too fast (important!). It'll support up to about a 40 pound (18.1 kg) machine.
    Jim D.
    Adapt...Improvise...Overcome!

    It seems to me that the whole premise of "Political Correctness," however well-intentioned it may be, runs the danger of uniform mediocrity becoming the norm.

  6. #6
    Stu
    I built the third one you show with a Rockler lift. I takes a bit of effort to push but not to bad.
    In addition to the stowed position it locks in at 2 positions full height as shown in my photo and about 4 inches (adjustable for your machine) down so the machines bed is level with the cabinet top. In the 4" position the plans have an insert that slides in so the cabinet top and the sewing machine bed are a 'smooth' surface.


    Attachment 6639 Attachment 6641

  7. #7
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    I used the Rockler lift - the sewing machine shop was willing to order the same one for over $200.

    One of the things that turned out to be important, that I didn't think would be, is that there are three positions, not just two.
    1. All the way down (to close the cabinet). Push down an inch and the sewing machine comes up to
    2. A position even with the sewing surface. Some of the store cabinets have a plastic piece that bridges the inch or so gap between the machine and the table top, but Jenny doesn't miss it - no problem. From here you can push all the way down (to a click) at position 1, or push down an inch and the sewing machine rises up to
    3. tabletop height, for use with some of the options such as free arm or embroidery. Push down to either positions 1 or 2.

    Needless to say, position 2 is adjustable (with tools) for a specific machine.

    The unit closes up pretty small (don't look at the wood - I didn't know how it would come out, so I used up all the old ugly walnut in the shop. It came out good, so now I have something with ugly wood in our house.) The drawers remain accessible when the unit is closed (good).



    The front and left side are a rigid unit, L shaped, that opens to become the support for the work area (the top flips open). Be sure to use double pin hinges for the top (also available from Rockler). Unlike the store-made cabinets, I put storage at the bottom of the doors (should have been taller for cutting boards, etc.). Note the machine is at the middle position (2) in this picture.



    The sewing machine comes to the upper position (3), in this case for free-arm use. Leave an opening or something in the side of the elevator platform for the power cord (so the machine can be left plugged in). Note that I got a shallow drawer at the front (can't be deep - that is where the machine is), but Jenny loves that center drawer. See the upper right drawer (you will see it again below), and one of the other drawers is open. In the background is an old lingerie chest, which Jenny uses for project storage.



    Note that the right part of the top flips open, like an arm, using more of those double pin hinges, and is supported by the top drawer. This seemed like a really neat idea, but Jenny never uses it. (That part of the top accumulates junque before it gets opened, so that may be the reason she never bothers to open it).



    Of course, if the top arm is supported by the top drawer, how do you get into the drawer? This was a fair amount of work... (and since she doesn't open the arm, well... you know), but the drawer that opened to the front, can also be opened from the side.



    Only a woodworker would care how that works. The top drawer only pulls half way out, and is very stiff (almost no vertical play). When the lid flips open, the outside is now down against the top of the drawer. So far, ok. But a lot of fiddling made the drawer stiff with a hole in it's side, and the "inner drawer" can be accessed normally, or from the side.



    Enjoy your project!
    Last edited by Charlie Plesums; 04-02-2007 at 02:39 AM. Reason: clarity
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  8. #8
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    Sewing machine cabinet

    Stu

    I have built one of the Wood Magazine cabinets in your third picture with the lift from Rockler, for my wife. The second machine is a surger machine, it will come later, just like wood turning. I used cherry for her's, have enough plywood in the granary for a second cabinet for #1 daughter, I had planned to do this one this past winter, still not started.

    This cabinet folds up to a space about 40 some inches when closed up.

    Jim Sample

  9. #9
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    Thanks guys!

    Charlie, my wife is blown away by your unit, the right side drawer suppor with the two way opening drawer really impressed her, I think I got the job!

    Cheers!
    The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
    William Arthur Ward

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Ablett View Post
    It has to get out of sight, as this will be in the living room, as until the girls leave for collage, we don't have a sewing room for my wife
    ...

    Charlie, my wife is blown away by your unit, the right side drawer suppor with the two way opening drawer really impressed her, I think I got the job!
    I've seen those lifts, and they look good, but they're pricey. My mom's sewing machine "cabinet" was an 8x10 room, so there was really no need for the lift. (She had an old cabinet from the 50's/60's where the machine could tilt forward and flip upside down inside the cabinet for storage. And in 20 years I never once saw her flip it.) My wife's sewing machine "cabinet" is also a similar sized room.

    But for Stu, I can understand your lack of space.

    I agree that Charlie's cabinet looks very nice. However, I would caution that you also need to always have about 2-3' of clear space in front and to the left of that cabinet, in order to swing it open. Have you got that in your living room, Stu?

    My wife's sewing room is in the basement, which is not the best. (next house, it better having a sewing room with big windows and natural light or I'll be in the dog house for sure. ) So she will sometimes just grab her machine and tote it upstairs to our family room (which is mostly a craft room / homeschooling room for us) and plop it on the craft table and work there. She loves having a BIG table on which to lay out patterns, fabric, and other stuff as she works.

    Stu - are you sure it wouldn't work better for you to just have a nice compact rolling cabinet with doors and storage to hold the thread, scissors, and other supplies, and then just lift the machine up onto the kitchen table when she wants to work? That would take up even less space, and perhaps work just as well. Just trying to think around the problem, as usual.

    ...art

    ps: Toyota? I love my minivan, a Toyota, but I didn't know they made sewing machines. But then, in my family, we're Pfaff bigots when it comes to sewing machines and sergers.

    pps: anyone else notice that a disproportionate number of woodworkers seem to have wives who sew? Sure seems that way to me. I think that the "can do" attitude must be catching or summat.
    Last edited by Art Mulder; 04-02-2007 at 01:56 PM.

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