Quilter's Dream Ironing Board with Cabinet

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Project by Jim Bertelson posted 10-14-2018 03:28 PM 2122 views 5 times favorited 18 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Quilters see big ironing boards at the quilt shops and want one like it at home. The boards are big at 2’ by 5’. My wife specified the size, holes for steam escape and drying, and an open cabinet underneath with adjustable shelves. I included switched receptacles and one unswitched for convenience.

Materials 3/4” birch plywood is used throughout, except for the horizontal legs. The legs are a glued-up sandwich of two 24” lengths of 1.5” square radiata clear pine. Nails and Titebond III glue were the fasteners, except for the top that is screwed in place. That allows replacement or modification of the top. The legs were screwed and glued rather than nailed in place. Plywood edges where exposed were covered with iron on birch veneer. The wood was primed, and then painted with a water based latex off-white enamel paint chosen by my wife to match other items in her quilting room.

The wire used to connect the electrical box to the wall receptacle is 12 gauge. The interconnecting wire between the main box on the right and the left sided box is also 12 gauge. For those not familiar with electrical issues, 12 gauge is the size that runs through the walls in your house for most circuits.

The construction is straight forward for the cabinet, using nails and glue. The horizontal legs were shaped for aesthetic reasons, as well as to reduce the profile. The feet are simple commercial screw adjustable items with a metal bottom for placement on carpet. Holes were drilled for adjustable shelves, with the cabinet divided into two compartments with two adjustable shelves on each side. There is a pedestal at the bottom of the cabinet to keep the bottom of the cabinet, that serves as a shelf, away from the floor.

Screw blocks were glued around the inside edge of the top of the cabinet to allow the top to be simply screwed on. I used a large number of screws to counteract a tendency to warp, since moisture is present at times from the steam iron.

The top of the ironing board has spaced 5/8” holes, with the first row 3” from all edges and then the holes spaced 6” in both directions. I used a countersink to smooth the edge of the holes. I painted the electrical boxes to roughly match the cabinet. The padded top is attached with Velcro.

The switched outlets allow the iron to be positively turned off or on. The single unswitched outlet in our case is used for a power strip that powers sewing machines and work lights. The overhanging top allows the ironing board to be placed so that the board actually overhangs a couch and a table in my wife’s quilting room. The legs that extend out to the edges of the board increase stability. The weight of the whole project makes it very solid and immovable. After having it in use for nearly a year, there has been no issues, and there are no changes either I or my wife would make to it. It was difficult getting a smooth surface with the latex paint. If I were to do it again, I would use oil-based paint just because it would be easier to do.

If anyone wants to duplicate this, I could make the Sketchup file or more dimensioned pictures available. I would think it might make a good Christmas gift for a quilter, if you have the space.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

18 comments so far

View lew's profile


13385 posts in 4917 days

#1 posted 10-14-2018 04:06 PM

WOW, Jim! You have been busy!! Beautiful and practical, too! Nice Sketchup drawing.

Glad you are finally getting to enjoy your retirement!

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4326 days

#2 posted 10-14-2018 04:19 PM

You were making me feel guilty with all your posts, so I had to get busy as well… (-:

Keep your keyboard handy, because I have a couple more coming… (-:

Hope all is well there. Winter is a coming, and hopefully the hurricanes will miss Pennsylvania on their way to the sea. Still some of the season to go, however. We are having an extremely mild fall for a change. No sign of snow, but the monsoons have arrived…

Will be in La Conner in three weeks. Have a partially done project to finish there, as well, and will try to post it before we come back.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Woodwrecker's profile


4240 posts in 4737 days

#3 posted 10-14-2018 05:09 PM

Nice job Jim.
Plenty useful and a great design.
I can see you put a lot of thought into this project.
I would be surprised if you didn’t get some requests for the design.
And lastly, it’s nice seeing a project from you.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4326 days

#4 posted 10-14-2018 07:35 PM

This is what my wife wanted, so she pretty much dictated the design, within limits. Things like the legs, the pedestal at the bottom and such, of course she wouldn’t have thought of. The electrical I added on my own volition, partly, because I knew I would have to solve the electrical some other way if I didn’t put it in the cabinet. Believe it or not, I even iron things from time to time, and it is a very nice ironing board to work on.

In case you missed it, check my previous project, a dining room table. I posted it on Friday. See, a couple of projects in two days… (-:

Of course, I am overdue posting them… (-:

Thanks for stopping by. I think the recent hurricane was too far west to affect you, and I hope any others that come along miss you as well.

Best to you and yours…

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10963 posts in 5214 days

#5 posted 10-14-2018 09:04 PM

Jim, That really looks super good!!

My wife used to do a lot of quilting… She also had 1/2 of a ping pong table set (about 5’x5’) for constructing quilts, pinning, etc. She hasn’t done any for some time now… Arthritis is the main culprit… not being able to use stairs & other things… I used to watch a quilting TV show with her where she just throws the scraps over her shoulder; she really made it look SO SIMPLE… I’m sure y’all know who she is… Eleanor Burns or something like that.

I’m glad ur wife can do it… It’s quite rewarding…

This is a COOL cabinet that will really help her iron the stuff… and, there is a LOT of ironing involved! She will really LIKE it a lot!

Thanks for sharing…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:

View Redoak49's profile


5326 posts in 3150 days

#6 posted 10-14-2018 09:59 PM

Nice cabinet and certain your wife is happy.

My wife is also a quilter. The good thing is her machine and tools are almost as much as my shop tools.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4326 days

#7 posted 10-14-2018 10:40 PM

Thanks for the comments, Joe. Arthritis can really limit people, and I am sorry to hear it has interferred with your wife’s quilting hobby. My wife has minimal issues in that regard so she is lucky.

I have done a few things for Sherie to help her with her hobby, but this is the only real woodworking project.

Have a good day, Joe…..

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4326 days

#8 posted 10-14-2018 10:45 PM


Thanks for the comments. My wife’s machines and other tools cost a whole lot more than mine, so I am still in the safe zone… (-:

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View olderkirk's profile


12 posts in 1023 days

#9 posted 10-15-2018 11:52 AM

You are right about the cost of “free hand” sewing machines and other equipment! On the other hand, some of my wife’s measurement tools are also useful for woodworking. We enjoy showing each other progress on projects and enjoying the joy that the other gets from a hobby. This is a fantastic project, custom made for the quilting room my wife is currently organizing in our home. Thanks for the inspiration! olderkirk

View stefang's profile


17040 posts in 4496 days

#10 posted 10-15-2018 02:23 PM

Very nice and neat looking Jim, but more importantly well thought out, totally functional and fit for purpose as your projects tend to be. This probably makes her quilting projects a lot more enjoyable and more productive too.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4326 days

#11 posted 10-15-2018 02:50 PM

Thanks for the comments. I figured there had to be a bunch of LJ’s with quilting wives…both hobbies are just too common. There are lots of things that could be done differently, especially with the cabinet. Mostly a question of specific needs and décor.

If you do something like this, remember set back the cabinet from the front edge to give toe room. The cabinet could be brought more forward if the pedestal at the bottom was recessed. The back is less critical. However, the quilt needs hanging space while it is worked on, so you have to keep that in mind as well. In other words, it won’t be crammed flush to a wall in back.

This project was designed to fit a space, to some extent, since the room is pretty well crammed with equipment, tables, and stuff.

I have done a few minor things for my wife’s quilting hobby. In particular, I reengineered a light box she uses for tracing. I should probably post it, since it is something others could do from scratch if they could obtain the translucent top piece of plastic.

We talk about our projects to each other, and she definitely influences what I make. Next project in a row is a built in set of pull out wire baskets to store veggies and other stuff in our pantry. Again, my wife kinda set the specs and I attend to the details.


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4326 days

#12 posted 10-15-2018 03:00 PM

Pretty much a made to order item, so I couldn’t go wrong. Just had to watch the set back for toe room, use horizontal legs for stability, and make the top removeable if it decides to deteriorate with time.

I actually made another top, without a cabinet, for one of Sherie’s quilting friends. She had a cabinet at home purposed for a large ironing top. I figured the plywood cost for her top was $12, so I charged her $10 and a glass of wine… (-:

This is a person who has been to La Conner with us a couple of times, and comes over to the house to quilt with Sherie on some Saturdays. She will be retiring soon, and will move to a small town south of La Conner. So we will see her on our excursions to La Conner. Sherie goes to that town on every trip because they have a nice quilt store there, so we are quite familiar with the area.

Have a good day…

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View bushmaster's profile


4130 posts in 3444 days

#13 posted 10-17-2018 12:02 AM

Very nice work and presentation.

-- Brian - Hazelton, British Columbia

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 4326 days

#14 posted 10-17-2018 02:52 AM


Thanks for the view and comment.

I try to make the posts easy to skim or read in detail, just like I would like to have it. It’s a relatively straightforward project, but did take quite a bit of work. The most important point is that it is a very practical and useful project, mostly dictated by my wife, strictly for a purpose.

It has worked out well, and as we both know, sometimes things don’t work out quite right.

Sitting at the computer, resting until my wife gets home for dinner. Cooking has become a hobby in retirement, just trying to do things I enjoy. But my back complains after a while, so nice to sit down and converse with friends.

Unusually warm fall for Anchorage, currently 45 deg. Snow might be the common thing about now, but no hint of it yet.

Best to you and yours, best get back to cooking dinner, tough being the house husband… (-:


-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View fiddlebanshee's profile


240 posts in 4107 days

#15 posted 10-17-2018 11:49 AM

Well there’s also a quilting lumberjock, although I’ve not been doing much quilting lately. From the pics I gather your wife has a lot of space in her quilting studio, I wish I had the room for a board like this. But what I want to build most of all is a cutting table that is high enough not to break my back when cutting fabrics standing up. I also make clothes so having a good cutting table to cut out patterns is high on the priority list. Although right now, redoing my woodshop has to take first dibs so that I can actually access the tools I need to tackle a project like that.

Actually, now that I think of it, I may incorporate your design and make into a multifunctional table that can handle ironing as well as cutting, the both require about the same height!

An then there’s restoring my old loom, and all the wool that is begging to be spun, and then all the skeins that are begging to be knitted in warm sweaters and mittens. I just wish there was 48 hours in a day, or I could clone myself!

-- As if I needed another hobby!

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