Making A Small Table Top

We have an antique sewing device stand that has the foot treadle to work the sewing maker. I have actually wished to make a top for it so it can be a small table in our basement family room. I have a piece of red alder that I cut into much shorter lengths and turned the live edge inward to form a valley in the center of the brand-new . I then stitched the 2 halves together with walnut bone shapes that I cut out on the maker. On the top of the table I eliminated an area for a piece of to cover the valley formed between the 2 pieces. The table looks rather nice however in some way I feel it is nearly too delicate to put anything on.

After I finished this and had actually edited the video together, my partner explained that it's on a sewing table and I should have done some kind of sewing pattern like a stitching machine would do. How did I do a about putting 2 pieces of product together on a sewing maker table and entirely miss the idea of stitching the 2 pieces together ?!?!? So pretend the bones are some sort of sewing sort of shape. It's the very same project, however perhaps it has some type of cohesive idea.

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  1. I think a treadle powered desk lamp would be fun. You would have to keep your feet going to read a book.

    1. I was thinking that too: an led lamp and some electronics to smooth things out and you wouldn’t have to work too hard to get a nice steady light.

    2. Yes, or run a computer. Couple it with a UPS (uninterruptible power supply). 😜

    3. Or a phone charging station that you have to sit there and pump. ‘come on, let’s get to 8%’

  2. Maybe you could make the pedal mechanism turn one of your earth spheres sitting on top of the table. You’d need to make a little transmission to adapt it…maybe some more gear work. 🙂

    1. @frank howarth or perhaps even a series of seasonal options. A merry go round, a little Christmas train, etc.

  3. Your wife said exactly what I was thinking. We can pretend they are lousy thread stitches or staples. Love your work.

    1. I was thinking of going with slightly oversized disconnected feather stitches. 😂

    2. @frank howarth LOL I was closer. I thought perhaps shapes resembling different sewing machines, but stitching is so much better.

  4. I expected you to flip one side over so the beveled live edges would match up closer. The plexiglass was an interesting solution to the gap. I hope you will revisit this project. A foot-powered generator hooked up to an NFC charger for your phone would be cool. For the swimming fish thing, you could use those stickup LEDs, and they could “flow” from one end to the other.

  5. Here’s a tip for you. The liquid ceramic coating that you can buy for your car works great for preventing scratches on plexiglass and other clear plastic. I use it on for my reading glasses and any plastic that I want to keep looking new. I bought a 2 oz bottle 3 years ago and have hardly put a dent in it. A little goes a long way. So in that sense it’s pretty cheap too.

  6. The cross members could have additional detail (either CNC or just glued on) to make them look like foot bridges spanning the valley. Even better if they are a little more random in their placement.

  7. I too have one of those sewing machine stands – a Singer in pristine condition. I still don’t have “the right idea” for a top for mine but it was definitely very inspiring to watch this video. Though I don’t have a CNC, the idea of a cross-stitch really appeals to me.
    Funnily enough, it is only a few hours ago that I (temporarily) bolted a piece of laminated chipboard to my stand, allowing me to put things on top of the stand which otherwise has just taken up space in my shop.

  8. Frank, thank you so much for your creativity and videos. You are an inspiration to me and many others.

  9. There was a sewing table in my house just like this growing up. It was incredibly fun and relaxing to pump that foot pedal while sitting there. Smooth and mechanical, kept the mind going the same way a fidget spinner might.

  10. Frank, Great job on the river table! The treadle mechanism would be ideal to power a scroll saw.

  11. I always appreciate the extra little sound effects you put in, Frank. The little pops you put in when picking up the table top on the CNC table were funny.

    1. Yeah I loved that. Like the workpiece was stuck to the table. Also a nice pop for the otherwise fluid jumpcut in which the cat disappeared.

  12. My mother dressed our whole family on such a treadle sewing machine. Out of respect for her work, I donated the machine after her death to an association that collects non-electric sewing machines for Africa, where it can provide useful services for many years to come.

  13. Brilliant techniques. Some people think all you have to do is push a button on a CNC.

  14. To keep the textile theme going, you could set up a circular knitting machine and when people use the treadle it makes a scarf or hat. I saw where someone did this in a train station with a bike – you pedal yourself a scarf.

  15. This is definitely one of your more … odd … projects 😀

    I’ll likely never have use for it but your comment about CNCing the bones upside down because the router bit deflects and creates a taper is FANTASTIC “master’s knowledge”. Cheers for including that.

  16. Beautiful work as usual! Although, I feel like hindsight usually has some of the best solutions, the bones are really cool too! Love your videos.

  17. When you said the “live edges make a nice valley” I thought for just one second that we were going to see a classic Frank magic stop motion of the table making itself into an epoxy river.

  18. Love your work, Frank. Greetings from Downunder. Had you cut some 1/4” MDF instead of the plexiglass, then taken that to a glass supplier, they could laser-cut, then temper a glass river to last forever. Spectacular with a green tint. This is how river tables originated. I’d also consider a hard-wax finish (like Osmo or Rubio Monocoat). Much easier to maintain and repair, over time. As for the treadle, a dynamo driven desk lamp would be brilliant for a notebook computer workstation, where lighting is only needed when keying, but not so much when clicking.

  19. I’ve always loved your projects and this one is no exception! A good idea for the machine is to make it a manual cell phone charger. Just hook it up to a 5 volt motor/generator.

  20. I have one of these sewing machine bases too that was my great grandmother’s and I’ve been trying to figure out what type of top to mount to it (wood, granite, marble, etc…). I like the look of a slab, so thanks for pushing me in a direction~!

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