First of all you have to determine what shape you will need that you can make accurately and repeatedly. This is where my jigs come in. I was to poor to buy several miter gauges so I made mine out of angle iron and bar stock. I made them set close to a certain angle, adjustable just a little. This first picture shows the back side of one of my jigs on the saw. This one is set at 45° like 4 of my jigs are;
(Now on any of these pictures if you want to see something closer just click on the picture and it will take you to my Flickr site at that picture. You can then click on the “ALL SIZES” that is at the top of the picture, then you can, at the top, click on the size you want the picture to be. Also I added “notes” to the picture on Flickr so when you hold the cursor over the box on the picture it will tell what that is. You can also make a note asking what something is, if you have an account with Flickr).
Now you can make something to go on your miter gauge that comes with your table saw and get it adjusted to cut a particular piece. You will just have to do it all over when you change to a different piece, but it will work. Or some Quilt Patterns can be made with only one type of shape.
Let’s start off with that. The basic piece for the Tumbling Block is a diamond that only takes 6 to complete the circle instead of the 8 that I normally use on most items, like my 8 pointed stars. This will entail setting the miter gauge to 60° instead of the 45° as on my other jigs. You will need a stop on the jig so all the pieces will be uniform, similar to the stop on this Jig;
After you have the angle set on the miter gauge exactly you will need to set the stop so the piece will be as long as it is wide, whatever you decide those measurements to be. In setting up the jig to cut right I always use some scrap wood and plan to discard the first few pieces until you get it set right. You will need 12 pieces for the basic first piece.
To cut the diamond, you just keep sliding the strip right on in to the stop each time you make a cut.
They can all be the same kind of wood or 4 pieces of 3 different kinds of wood. You may think differently but I almost always want the grain of the wood to be uniform in the direction it is going as you lay each piece down. When you look at each piece on the following picture, when the points of the piece are up and down, I have the end grain coming out of the piece at the top right and the bottom left. To me it has a more pleasing look to it; you may think differently which is your choice.
As you turn the piece it will look different;
Now on this small Tumbling Block pattern it is maybe easier to see the star in the center that has 6 points. And turned again;
Now to make a bigger Tumbling Block pattern you have two choices. You can plan on cutting off half of a diamond on each side or you can make a jig to make a triangle. I make the stop for the triangle like in this picture;
The jig in this picture is for my regular triangle which is set on a 45° angle. For the tumbling block pattern you will want the jig set on a 60° angle, otherwise it will be the same as in the picture.
To cut the triangle after each cut, you turn the strip of wood over and slide it into the stop for the next cut. When you hold two of these triangles together you will want them both to measure the same length as the diamond.
Now whether you make the triangle or just cut off half of the diamond on the outside edge you can make something like this;
Again in gluing in the triangle I make sure the grain is going the right direction. You can see the triangle on the top is like the bottom half of the diamond below it just as the bottom triangle is like the top half of the diamond above it. To me this keeps it all uniform.
In checking to see if you have the pieces in right, an easy way is to run your eye along each row of diamonds, point to point, and see if there is no brake in the line. Hold the board up at a slant if nothing else, and sight down the line, there should be an unbroken line of diamonds point to point on all 3 lines. One thing I watch for is having ALL of the wood grain going the same direction on each type of wood; this will give the finished product a woven look.
Below is the same pattern turned 4 different ways to make it appear different;
Another quilt pattern you can make with one shape is the Tree of Life. It is made with a triangle cut on a 45° angle. It will be like this;
Now to make most other quilt patterns you will need to make both a diamond and a triangle. Depending on the wood you use, they can have completely different looks.
Compared to this;
Compared to this;
You can even make people wonder if they are seeing an X with red ends, or a plus sign with white ends, like this;
Or an Aunt Sukeys Choice Quilt Pattern;
These last 6 items are all the same size across.
These next two are a bit bigger, the Morning Star;
And the Carpenters Wheel;
I even extended the Carpenters Wheel on out to Two sizes of Lazy Susans
My Small Carpenters Wheel Lazy Susan;
And my Medium Carpenters Wheel Lazy Susan;
On this next item, the Sampler itself is all triangles but the border incorporates the diamond to give it a feathered look around it, so again the diamond has to fit the triangle.
My Sampler Quilt Block;
Maybe this will give you some ideas and some help if you would want to give it a try.
Thank you for looking,
-- It’s not so much what we know that causes the trouble, it’s what we know that’s not so.