I want to make a great ironing board, not warp one.
March 2, 2010 8:02 AM   Subscribe

I want to do this Ikea hack , but I have some questions about how to make it durable, since I will be, well, ironing on it.

If you click through, you will see that's a side table that's been re-purposed into an ironing board. Since we're *finally* getting a sewing studio for our costume shop, I really want to do this hack for the storage and the size of it, but I have concerns about the wood underlying the ironing board pad.

If we want to paint the body of the thing, I'm not worried about that, but am unsure about the best course of action vis a vis sealing the top of it. I don't think polyurethane would be the best option, since it's going to be subject to heat and steam. Shellac? Thompson's watersealer?

Hit me with your best shot. I'm also open to hearing about why this is a bad idea, or that I should cover it with some kind of hard plastic first, or whatever. We're collectively pretty awesome with the DIY, so we're game.
posted by Medieval Maven to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
That's pretty sweet.
For protecting the wood underneath I am clueless.

But you could make it more durable by using an ironing board style fabric-something heat resitant, rather than the thin calico they use in the demo.

Also, use a staple gun to pin it on tightly and immoveably. But be sure you have the padding right and the fabric properly stretched before making it so permanent.
posted by SLC Mom at 8:17 AM on March 2, 2010

You can put poly on the top of it, but you will need the cover to be a better heat barrier and possibly a moisture barrier as well.

One of the ways to remove dents from table tops is use an iron on it on low for 15 seconds, so I'm thinking with appropriate insulation, you'll be in fine shape. Maybe some thin batting and interfacing?
posted by plinth at 8:29 AM on March 2, 2010

I don't know about the warping, but with a sealer or shellac I'd be concerned about it releasing volatiles during heating that might stain or damage the fabric. What about using a sheet of aluminum flashing on top of the wood, wrapped around and secured to the underside of the top with nails?
posted by Bardolph at 8:41 AM on March 2, 2010

Prior to your final covering, you might try putting a plastic table cloth on it. If you use one, plastic side down, and then a layers of thick heat resistant fabric, it would probably be ok.

When I looked at that I was at first quite excited, but then I thought about how often I need the tapered end of the ironing board. I use if with every piece of clothing I iron. The only things I don't need a taper on are tablecloths.
posted by OmieWise at 8:47 AM on March 2, 2010

Response by poster: I am going to use ovenmitt batting or similar for the batting, and probably will do an elastic so that it's washable. Mainly I'm concerned about the wood getting odd from all the heat and steam.

Omiewise, we will have tailor's hams and sleeve boards and whatever, so the tapered thing is not so important, and we have yards and yards of stuff to iron sometimes. Hopefully it will be awesome.
posted by Medieval Maven at 9:10 AM on March 2, 2010

I think I would just remove the wooden top and add an ironing board top in its place.
posted by orme at 9:12 AM on March 2, 2010

Mainly I'm concerned about the wood getting odd from all the heat and steam.

That's actually why I was suggesting the plastic table cloth. The batting will protect from heat, the plastic should protect from steam. If you're really worried (because I know those tables aren't exactly cheap), you could cut a piece of masonite to fit the top of the table, tack it down, and then cover with the plastic and batting.

Although, once you get into all this, and if you're doing that kind of "construction" to protect the top, it might make sense just to build the damn thing yourself, out of 2X2 and marine plywood for the top. It would be cheaper and more sturdy, although not as pretty. You wouldn't get the easy drawers out of it, but it would be easy to build in shelves.
posted by OmieWise at 10:47 AM on March 2, 2010

wood getting odd from all the heat and steam

This is absolutely a concern with this. Wood will warp heavily at 100°C, the temperature at which steam is produced, let alone the higher iron temps needed for linens and such. You also want something fireproof so that you don't get scorch marks or burn your house down.

Most plastics will be right out. I would not at all trust it to be safe, most especially teflons and the like. Some plastics can be toxic if heated, most will deform and warp, and ignition is always a concern with high density flammable materials.

You want a fire break between the wood and the iron surface so that heat isn't conducted down into the table. This will need to be composed of several layers to be effective.

Here's a guess at one:

Fire-resistant treated batting
Aluminum Foil layer
5/8" Concrete board (DUROC or similar)
Wood Table

Then wrap all that in your fire-resistant fabric cover. You can buy the cement board at a building supply store. It's sold as drywall for bathrooms. The aluminum foil does two things: it prevents water permeation and reflects heat back up to the surface. Buy the heaviest 18"-wide roll you can and use it shiny side up.

Try to avoid using non-fire rated glues or adhesives (like No More Nails or caulking). They will outgas with heat and can be ignition hazards.

Good luck. This shouldn't need to cost a lot.
posted by bonehead at 11:39 AM on March 2, 2010

Best answer: A kiln dried piece of lumber has the lignum bonds permanently set and cannot be steam bent. You are not going to warp this top with just an iron. Under normal ironing use even a heat shield isn't warranted. A good sealer is all that's necessary. I recommend Waterlox. I use it on all the counter tops I build.
posted by woodjockey at 4:18 PM on March 2, 2010

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