Making and/or setting up a Hand Crank Table


One of the complaints that you hear about hand cranking is that the crank is too high for comfort when the machine is set on a normal table. There are two good solutions to this problem.

The first, and often easiest solution, if your hand crank is a Singer and is full sized, is to simply remove the machine from the base and put it in your treadle. Disconnect the treadle belt, and you are set to hand crank at a comfortable height. You will not be able to lower the machine head with the hand crank attached, but you can leave the crank attached with the engagement finger flipped out of the hand wheel and reconnect the belt for treadling. I kept my 115 set up this way for a long time. It was a coffin top machine so I wasn't able to lower it anyway. The coffin top would not go on, but I sewed up a little "machine cozy" (see instructions in The Quilt Shop) and it looked quite spiffy and was always handy for whatever type of sewing I wanted to do.

The second solution is not only convenient at home, but is a good way to take your hand crank to sewing classes or displays, which is something many of us do. This is to adapt one of the collapsing or foldable sewing tables that are often sold in sewing stores, KMart, WalMart, etc., or which often show up in garage or rummage sales. These tables have folding or screw in legs, and usually a flip top with a slot to accept the sewing portion of a modern free-arm machine. I picked up one of these tables at a rummage sale for $8. The neat thing about them is that the table surface that the base of the machine sits on is designed to be lower than the sewing surface, so if you can adapt the cutout to allow the hand crank to sit on the table surface with the sewing machine bed at the upper level surface, you have a very nice arrangement.

Here are some pictures of my adapted "hand crank table".


Here is the table. Note the two surfaces. The machine rests on the lower table, and the upper level is meant to be level with the working bed of the machine. Originally, the upper level had a slot cut in it to accomodate the free arm of a modern machine. I removed the hinged extension piece and band-sawed off the front portion of this slot, making a square corner at the back, then re-attached it. You can see the raw edges of my cut.


Modern free arm machines are deeper than hand cranks, so the hand crank must be raised to make its bed level with the top surface. It just happens that my 201 was exactly 3/4" shy, so I added a piece of 3/4" shelf board, just set loose on the lower surface. If you have only one hand crank, you could screw this down, but I figure I will want to use others, and may have to adjust the height from time to time.


Here you can see the 201 set on the board, and the bed extension piece from the upper level raised out of the way. Note the support foot on the extension.


Here the extension has been lowered and the 201 base snugged neatly into the cut out corner, ready to sew.


And here is an overall view of the whole set-up. This is a really neat way to take a hand crank to a class or on a camping trip (hopefully not back packing!) or to set one up out in the yard. or take