I don't like rusty tools, especially if they are my tools and I paid good money for them. Aside from smearing oil all over them, I prefer to cover them when not in use. I got the idea when I bought a drill press about 10 years ago. My Vietnamese neighbor lady is an accomplished seamstress, and I paid her to make a cover for my drill press. It has served well. Unfortunately, the seamstress moved on to better ways of making an income and no longer does seamstress work.
Well, I bought a new benchtop table saw and I wanted to have a cloth cover for it. What to do? Spend a lot of money for a commercial seamstress or do it myself? Well, if you are looking at this website, you know my choice. I'll let you guess.
BTW, this is the same tablesaw for which I made a previous instructable for a table to put it on. It is here: https://www.instructables.com/id/Table-for-Cheap-Tablesaw/.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
If you look at the first photo, you'll see what I'm shooting for. Nice rugged covers for my tools. The drill press is pictured there with the cover partly open to demonstrate the ideal cover for a drill press.
- 2 yards of denim - cost about $13 on sale at a local fabric shop. Note the second picture which shows the backside of the denim cloth. It would look more like the cloth from jeans, if I used the other side. As it is, the backside was the best for matching the decor of my workshop. It's a very drab workshop. Dark blue clashes too much.
- Thread with a color that doesn't clash too much with the cloth
- Scrap pieces of cardboard for a model or mannequin; glue or duct tape to hold the model together
- Sewing machine (I had an inexpensive one I bought from Sears a long time ago)
- Safety pins (the seamster's equivalent of clamps; you can't build anything decent without clamps)
- Ruler (yardstick is best)
- Marking pen
- Box cutter for making the cardboard model
Step 2: Making a Mannequin or Cardboard Model
I'm a lousy person with a ruler. Invariably I get some crucial measurement wrong, so I decided I'd better make a model of my tablesaw to use for cutting the cloth and sewing it.
I used scrap pieces of cardboard cut to the dimensions of my tablesaw and added about an inch to the measurement. Baggy is better than too tight. My tablesaw measured roughly 25" deep x 26" wide x 15" high. I made the cardboard box fit those dimensions. My first use of the cardboard model was as a flat pattern, so I did not tape it into a box shape yet. I did test it to see if my model fit my tablesaw. It did.
Step 3: Cutting Pattern
Using the cardboard model, I figured out a cutting pattern that looks like the diagram above. My goals with the cutting pattern were to minimize the sewed seams and to maximize the efficient use of cloth. It was entirely possible to cut the cloth in a cross shape and eliminate one sewed seam, but that would have made more wasted pieces of cloth. So, I chose this pattern.
I used the cardboard model and traced my cutting outline onto the denim cloth using a marking pen. I did all of my drawing on the light side (finished side) of the cloth. It turned out that final product was a bit baggy; but better baggy than too tight.
The cardboard model made it very easy to trace the pattern onto the cloth. Trying to use a ruler and measuring it would be a lot more difficult.
Step 4: Sewing
I am not a seamster by any means, but I have some idea how to use a sewing machine to patch pajamas and such. I used a stitch that packed a lot of thread into an inch. You can see the stitch pattern in the picture. It is #4 on my machine and is a tight zig-zag. That stitch should hold for a long time.
Notice that I use safety pins to keep things together while I'm sewing. It's the seamster's equivalent of using clamps for wood or welding and is indispensable. Without those safety pins, I'd be chasing cloth all over the room and making a mess of the seams.
Notice also that all sewing for the seams is done on the back side (the dark blue denim side in my case). If you see the finished front side, you are sewing it wrong. Sewing for the hem is done on the backside as well, but you are sewing the finished side against the backside. You'll see what I mean when you work with it. Correct hemming is more obvious than the sewing the seams.
I'm not sure how to explain this part. My biggest cloth pattern was a T-shaped piece, and I had to patch another piece to make it the cross-shape that would fit over a box. A trick I use in the woodshop for centering things is to measure to the middle of the small piece and to the middle of the big piece and line them up that way. In the third picture you can, hopefully, see what I mean. I made a mark in the middle of the small piece and in the middle of the big piece and then used safety pins to line everything up for the sewing machine. This way, there is no question that I got things in the right place and centered.
Once I had the cross shape, then it was just a matter of sewing the edges together and finishing off with a hem along the bottom. That was easy.
Step 5: Test #1
After I sewed all the seams and hem, I tested my product on the cardboard model. As you can see, I turned the model into a 3-D shape and then put the cover over the top.
Lucky again! It worked. Test #1 complete.
Step 6: Test #2 - Does It Really Fit?
Sure enough, it works. Yeah, it's a bit baggy, but it does the job. It covers the saw and protects it from various environmental insults.
Step 7: My Covered Tools
This is a picture of the two tools that I have covered with cloth covers. As mentioned earlier, the drill press cover was made by a professional and is absolutely perfect.
The tablesaw cover was made by me and does the job.
And, it doesn't clash with the workshop decor too much.