Pressing Matters

I decided to build an ironing board. “What?” you say. “Just go buy one.” The type of ironing board I need isn’t sold anywhere, so I resorted to my back–up plan, build it. I needed a large flat surface on which to iron flat pieces of fabric used in my crafts. When I use a traditional board, I always end up with that little point on one end and have to jockey the fabric back and forth and wind up putting more wrinkles in than taking out.

.  I perused my vast supple of scrap lumber for a suitable board.  I found a cabinet door I salvaged from my kitchen remodel years ago and thought it would work.
I perused my vast supple of scrap lumber for a suitable board. I found a cabinet door I salvaged from my kitchen remodel years ago and thought it would work.
Now I needed padding.  Off to the drawer full of batting.  I cut a nice new piece from some quilt batting but wanted a little more padding so I pieced together some smaller pieces to make a large mat.  Recycling scraps, yeah!
Now I needed padding. Off to the drawer full of batting. I cut a nice new piece from some quilt batting but wanted a little more padding so I pieced together some smaller pieces to make a large mat. Recycling scraps, yeah!
The fabric cover was easy.  I have lots of plain white muslin scraps and I cut a generous piece to cover my padded board.
The fabric cover was easy. I have lots of plain white muslin scraps and I cut a generous piece to cover my padded board.

By now, I’m thinking, “Wow! This is going together great. Why did I put off this project for so long?” (Cue the proverbial monkey wrench.) I decided to give my board a test run before I put it all together. The fabric needed ironing anyway so I pressed it and the board worked great. Easy to iron a large portion of fabric and no odd-shaped sections.

But a little thought kept nagging at me. Where’s the steam going? I folded back the fabric and batting and found it. A nice wetness on the surface of the board. Hmmm? How to solve this problem? My regular ironing board is made of metal with a surface that would make a slice of Swiss cheese jealous. My table-top board is made from a cheap piece of pressboard with a sad little layer of batting glued on top. So I know a “board” will work since I’ve never had a problem with wetness using my table-top board. Maybe a porous buffer zone between the board and the batting? Back to the garage warehouse. I found some thin sheets of Styrofoam so I cut and glued them to size. Second test run, same as the first. The steam just went through the Styrofoam. I knew the problem was that the board was painted with two coats of glossy paint and the answer was to drill vent holes in my board but I couldn’t bring myself to put holes in a ¾” wide piece of solid wood. So I did the next best thing. I took a break.

While having lunch, my childhood friend happened to call. I explained my problem and, being a retired engineer, she starts talking about heat transfer and thermal properties. After our conversation, I returned to the scrap lumber pile and found a piece of paneling (den remodel, this time). It was almost 2 feet by 3 feet and only ¼’ thick, much lighter than my first selection, and unpainted on one side. I cleaned it up and gave it a test run. When I peeled back the layers of batting, the wood was only slightly damp and dried quickly. No puddles!

But just to be sure, I decided to drill some holes in it to add ventilation.  After a quick sanding, the board was ready.
But just to be sure, I decided to drill some holes in it to add ventilation. After a quick sanding, the board was ready.
I had to piece together some more batting.  My fabric piece just fit this larger board.
I had to piece together some more batting. My fabric piece just fit this larger board
Time to staple.
Time to staple.
And to make it pretty, I added some trim over the staples.
And to make it pretty, I added some trim over the staples.
I decided to add some feet and used some old wooden spools.
I decided to add some feet and used some old wooden spools.
My finished ironing board.
My finished ironing board

I doubt if it will make ironing fun, but it sure will make it easier.

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