Quilting with Wood

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Blog entry by Dave Owen posted 01-23-2010 12:15 AM 52613 reads 37 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

A friend asked if I could help come up with a good way to create a ‘wooden quilt’ wall hanging about two feet square that his wife wanted for her sewing room. The picture above is one of four identical 3-1/2” square x 1/4” deep patterns that are located near the corners of the larger pattern. While different size members are involved in the larger pattern, the jig I came up with can be used to make the entire quilt pattern.

The pattern is quite interesting in its 3-dimensional look. If it looks the same each time you look away and look back again, there’s something wrong with your eyes – or with mine. I never know for sure what I’ll see, but usually it’s either – a downward view of three identical 3-D blocks coming together at their bases – a symmetrical 3-D ‘hip roof’ over blocks in the shape of a cross – or a pair x-shaped, 3-D “><” shaped blocks with a higher triangular-shaped block rising out of the “V” in the back of the other blocks. You may well see a different pattern.

To make the block pieces easier to cut in multiples, I made a few adaptations to a fairly common miter sled as shown below. Hidden by the slotted hardboard stop is a short section of aluminum track. The combination of the track and the slots allows the that stop to be placed anywhere in its range. For this pattern, the stop is so located that its bottom edge is the stop for some of the cuts – while the edge parallel to the blade is used for others. There is another slotted, adjustable stop secured to the front of the sled using two round-head bolts into two barrel-bolts. The latter is used for cutting the square members of the pattern.

To use the jig for this pattern, two different widths of wooden strips are cut as a preliminary step. Then, by using two edges of the top stop and the front stop, all of the pieces of this pattern can be cut accurately – and in any quantity desired, without further adjustment to the jig. The sample pattern shown above was cut with an 80-tooth blade, and assembled and glued without the need for edge sanding.

The jig is made to run in the single miter slot I have on my saw – and works quite well. Still, I would have used two slots if I had them. The base is 3/4” MFD; the angled pieces and ‘blade block’ are scrap pieces of Philippine Mahogany; and the blade guard is 1/4” plexiglass. To avoid cutting too deeply into the ‘blade block’, I place a stop block on my table saw fence which is then located about a quarter inch off the right side of the sled. This sled is not limited to cutting ‘quilts’ of course, and works quite well on any 45 deg miter cut up to about 4” in length.

If anyone has questions, please post them.

-- Dave O.

11 comments so far

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 4497 days

#1 posted 01-23-2010 12:36 AM

Great jig…thanks for posting

View Gary's profile


9416 posts in 4233 days

#2 posted 01-23-2010 01:12 AM

That’s cool. Drives my eyes nuts tho

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 3964 days

#3 posted 01-23-2010 01:50 AM

Nice pattern…..yup, drives my eyes nuts to, but since it is small, I don’t think it will do that on a wall. It would be nice to see your jig modifications with a piece of wood being cut, and a front angle on the pic to display the front stop.

Remember, LJ’s love pics, the more the better, and I am no exception (-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View CreekWoodworker's profile


409 posts in 4098 days

#4 posted 01-23-2010 02:09 AM

Very cool pattern! I like it. It seems to change shape as my brain tries to interrupt it as a 3D object but cannot figure out the aspect. Sometimes the corners look like they come out other times it looks like the corners are part of the background.

-- Mike ...Success is often the result of taking a misstep in the right direction

View Dave Owen's profile

Dave Owen

254 posts in 3874 days

#5 posted 01-23-2010 03:25 AM

Thanks for the commentsl. I thought everyone might like the 3-D of the pattern. Interestingly, I made a 2nd one (never glued together) and discovered that the same pattern can look considerably different depending on which way the grain runs. If I had more personal interest in completing the entire wall hanging, I believe it could really be striking. Perhaps someday.

Jim – I’ll see what I can do in the next day or so regarding the pictures you suggested.

-- Dave O.

View Tim Dahn's profile

Tim Dahn

1600 posts in 4365 days

#6 posted 01-23-2010 12:58 PM

Thanks for posting the jig, may have to do this.

-- Good judgement comes from experience and experience comes from poor judgement.

View Dave Owen's profile

Dave Owen

254 posts in 3874 days

#7 posted 01-23-2010 10:01 PM

Jim Bertelson wanted additional photos and information about the jig and the pattern – so here goes.

The following photo shows the strips I cut for this ‘demo’. The narrow oak and walnut strips will be used for the ‘triangles’ and ‘parallelograms’ – while the wider dark strips will be used for the ‘squares’. Note that any width can be used for the narrow strips – that the length of a 45 degree diagonal across the narrow strips determines the size of the squares.

The next picture shows the first diagonal cut for both triangles and parallelograms.

The next picture shows the 2nd and subsequent cuts for the triangles – using the ‘bottom’ edge of the top guide. Note that the strip is flipped over after each triangle is cut.

This next picture shows the 2nd and subsequent cuts for the parallelograms – using the edge of the top guide parallel to the blade.

The next picture shows the front stop, and it’s use to gauge the cuts for the squares.

Below are the 16 pieces of the pattern arranged by shapes.

Finally, the following shows the pieces roughly pushed into position. I apologize for the poor fit. In my hurry to get a response out, I didn’t fine-tune the settings for the stops as I should have. The pattern would also have been considerably more interesting if I had used another color wood for the triangles.

-- Dave O.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 3964 days

#8 posted 01-24-2010 12:51 AM

Thanks Dave, nice jig additions. Now I can see what you were saying. Good pictures, nice explanation. Some of us who haven’t done a lot of fancy cutting need more help….(-:

I’m in the process of building a quick and dirty circle cutting jig for the band saw, then going to make a gizmo to help me move sheet goods around, and the begin work on my super sled. So back to the shop. Will be around later today.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dustbunny's profile


1149 posts in 4095 days

#9 posted 01-26-2010 04:33 AM

This is a nice jig. I like the fact that you can cut miters with larger pieces as well.
Quilting with woods is a favorite of mine.
I try to incorporate patterns into projects as often as I can.
Thank you for sharing your jig and process, well done.


-- Imagination rules the world. ~ Napoleon Bonaparte ~

View a1Jim's profile


118079 posts in 4377 days

#10 posted 01-26-2010 05:19 AM

Wow Dave
This is a great jig super photos and well done blog.


View Darrell Feltmate's profile

Darrell Feltmate

9 posts in 1718 days

#11 posted 11-21-2015 12:06 AM

I am impressed with both the project and the jig. I can see this as a trivet inset my wife would love. Most of my stuff is round but this would be a great adaptation. If I get a chance from redoing the kitchen so I can get to one of the lathes again, I am really going to have to try this. If I do I’ll shoot a picture for you. Thanks.

-- Darrell, Nova Scotia, Canada,

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