Making Wood Quilt Blocks

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Blog entry by WoodMosaics posted 11-02-2008 08:12 PM 68108 reads 97 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

First of all you have to determine what shape you will need that you can make accurately and repeatedly. This is where my jigs come in. I was to poor to buy several miter gauges so I made mine out of angle iron and bar stock. I made them set close to a certain angle, adjustable just a little. This first picture shows the back side of one of my jigs on the saw. This one is set at 45° like 4 of my jigs are;

Making a Lazy Susan #4

(Now on any of these pictures if you want to see something closer just click on the picture and it will take you to my Flickr site at that picture. You can then click on the “ALL SIZES” that is at the top of the picture, then you can, at the top, click on the size you want the picture to be. Also I added “notes” to the picture on Flickr so when you hold the cursor over the box on the picture it will tell what that is. You can also make a note asking what something is, if you have an account with Flickr).

Now you can make something to go on your miter gauge that comes with your table saw and get it adjusted to cut a particular piece. You will just have to do it all over when you change to a different piece, but it will work. Or some Quilt Patterns can be made with only one type of shape.

Let’s start off with that. The basic piece for the Tumbling Block is a diamond that only takes 6 to complete the circle instead of the 8 that I normally use on most items, like my 8 pointed stars. This will entail setting the miter gauge to 60° instead of the 45° as on my other jigs. You will need a stop on the jig so all the pieces will be uniform, similar to the stop on this Jig;

Making a Lazy Susan #3

After you have the angle set on the miter gauge exactly you will need to set the stop so the piece will be as long as it is wide, whatever you decide those measurements to be. In setting up the jig to cut right I always use some scrap wood and plan to discard the first few pieces until you get it set right. You will need 12 pieces for the basic first piece.

To cut the diamond, you just keep sliding the strip right on in to the stop each time you make a cut.

They can all be the same kind of wood or 4 pieces of 3 different kinds of wood. You may think differently but I almost always want the grain of the wood to be uniform in the direction it is going as you lay each piece down. When you look at each piece on the following picture, when the points of the piece are up and down, I have the end grain coming out of the piece at the top right and the bottom left. To me it has a more pleasing look to it; you may think differently which is your choice.

Tiny Tumbling Block Pattern Weight 1

As you turn the piece it will look different;

Tiny Tumbling Block Pattern Weight 2

Now on this small Tumbling Block pattern it is maybe easier to see the star in the center that has 6 points. And turned again;

Tiny Tumbling Block Pattern Weight 3

Now to make a bigger Tumbling Block pattern you have two choices. You can plan on cutting off half of a diamond on each side or you can make a jig to make a triangle. I make the stop for the triangle like in this picture;

Making a Lazy Susan #17

The jig in this picture is for my regular triangle which is set on a 45° angle. For the tumbling block pattern you will want the jig set on a 60° angle, otherwise it will be the same as in the picture.

To cut the triangle after each cut, you turn the strip of wood over and slide it into the stop for the next cut. When you hold two of these triangles together you will want them both to measure the same length as the diamond.

Now whether you make the triangle or just cut off half of the diamond on the outside edge you can make something like this;

Tumbling Block Trivet 1

Again in gluing in the triangle I make sure the grain is going the right direction. You can see the triangle on the top is like the bottom half of the diamond below it just as the bottom triangle is like the top half of the diamond above it. To me this keeps it all uniform.

In checking to see if you have the pieces in right, an easy way is to run your eye along each row of diamonds, point to point, and see if there is no brake in the line. Hold the board up at a slant if nothing else, and sight down the line, there should be an unbroken line of diamonds point to point on all 3 lines. One thing I watch for is having ALL of the wood grain going the same direction on each type of wood; this will give the finished product a woven look.

Below is the same pattern turned 4 different ways to make it appear different;


Tumbling Block Trivet 2


Tumbling Block Trivet 3


Tumbling Block Trivet 4


Tumbling Block Trivet 5

Another quilt pattern you can make with one shape is the Tree of Life. It is made with a triangle cut on a 45° angle. It will be like this;

Tree Of Life Quilt Block

Now to make most other quilt patterns you will need to make both a diamond and a triangle. Depending on the wood you use, they can have completely different looks.


Walnut and Oak Trivet

Compared to this;

Oak and Walnut Trivet

Or this;

Satinwood – Purpleheart and Oak Trivet

Compared to this;

 Satinwood – Purpleheart and Walnut Trivet

You can even make people wonder if they are seeing an X with red ends, or a plus sign with white ends, like this;

 Illusion Trivet

Or an Aunt Sukeys Choice Quilt Pattern;

Bright Aunt Sukeys Choice Quilt Block

These last 6 items are all the same size across.

These next two are a bit bigger, the Morning Star;

Bright Morning Star  Quilt Block

And the Carpenters Wheel;

Bright Carpenters Wheel Quilt Block

I even extended the Carpenters Wheel on out to Two sizes of Lazy Susans

My Small Carpenters Wheel Lazy Susan;

LS Sm Carpenters Wheel 1

And my Medium Carpenters Wheel Lazy Susan;

LS Med Carpenters Wheel 1

On this next item, the Sampler itself is all triangles but the border incorporates the diamond to give it a feathered look around it, so again the diamond has to fit the triangle.

My Sampler Quilt Block;

Sampler Quilt Block

Maybe this will give you some ideas and some help if you would want to give it a try.

Thank you for looking,
Robin Tucker

-- It’s not so much what we know that causes the trouble, it’s what we know that’s not so.

16 comments so far

View CoolDavion's profile


482 posts in 5166 days

#1 posted 11-02-2008 08:36 PM

Very interesting.

-- Do or do not, there is no try!

View Woodhacker's profile


1139 posts in 5065 days

#2 posted 11-03-2008 01:13 AM

Robin, that’s a great technique you have there.

Thanks for posting it.

-- Martin, Kansas

View RAH's profile


414 posts in 5218 days

#3 posted 11-03-2008 01:22 AM

I would like to give this a try thanks for sharing.

-- Ron Central, CA

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 5441 days

#4 posted 11-03-2008 02:42 AM

Those are some amazing patterns.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View jim1953's profile


2744 posts in 5183 days

#5 posted 11-03-2008 02:46 AM

Thats A Lot Blocks Great Job

-- Jim, Kentucky

View dewoodwork's profile


273 posts in 5297 days

#6 posted 11-03-2008 03:45 AM

I like them all. Thanks for sharing. Some day I’ll have my honey-do list finished and I can play with fun projects like this.

-- Express creativity with wood, Dewayne. Vacaville CA.

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 5668 days

#7 posted 11-04-2008 04:06 AM

it’s amazing to me how much the same pieces can look so different just by turning them a little!
thanks for sharing a little insight to your work.

View Rustic's profile


3260 posts in 4938 days

#8 posted 11-04-2008 05:55 AM

just beautiful

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View degoose's profile


7286 posts in 4696 days

#9 posted 04-03-2009 12:50 PM

I just finished my first tumbling block board and I love it.. so simple. I used Tasmanian Blackwood, NG Rosewood and European Cherry and it came up a treat!!!
You are a true inspiration and I thank you dearly

-- Be safe.

View WoodMosaics's profile


111 posts in 4873 days

#10 posted 04-03-2009 03:32 PM

You almost have it down pat.

-- It’s not so much what we know that causes the trouble, it’s what we know that’s not so.

View spanky46's profile


995 posts in 4732 days

#11 posted 04-15-2009 07:33 PM

Very Special!

-- spanky46 -- Never enough clamps...Never enough tools...Never enough time.

View SheriDi's profile


147 posts in 4645 days

#12 posted 05-17-2009 04:38 PM

Absolutely gorgeous! I’ll be reading and re-reading your post here before I give it a try myself. Thanks for posting this.

-- A Veteran is someone who, at one point in their life, wrote a blank check payable to the United States of America for an amount up to and including their life. That is beyond honor

View a1Jim's profile


118309 posts in 4919 days

#13 posted 05-17-2009 04:49 PM

you are the master of mosacs Robin and it only took 29 years . This is a great blog thanks so much. it is so kind of you to share your know how.


View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 5095 days

#14 posted 08-11-2009 05:20 AM

Thanks for posting this blog, it is exactly what I am looking for!

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View Grumpy's profile


26812 posts in 5193 days

#15 posted 01-01-2010 05:19 AM

Good one.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

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