Full Chisel Blog

April 30, 2012

Traditional Quilting Frame – tension mechanism

With the exception of the two strips of cloth that needs to be attached to the two 10 foot axles, the traditional quilting frame is complete.  The strips of cloth will be held with carpet/upholstery tacks, alder [Alnus spp.] is known for its tack/nail/screw holding properties.

I fitted each gear to the axles and marked them for ease of reassembly.  The gears need to match on each of the axles.  The gears are timed or clocked, so the pawls hold the gears in the same place on each end of the axle.

With the gears on each end of the axles and the axles installed in the frame, I positioned everything and marked the screw holes for the pawls.  I used a gimblet bit to drill the screw shank holes and a 2 burr countersink for the heads of the screws.  I made 4 small leather standoff washers and installed them between the pawl and the frame.  Instead of marking every hole, I positioned the pawls to mesh with the gears properly.  I put a bit of Moses T’s St. John’s Oil on the areas of fresh worked wood.

This project tested the limits of my small shop, with it set up, I can barely make it through the door.



  1. Where can I get a quilting frame like this?!

    I am in need of one and would prefer to invest in a traditional frame.

    Thank you for your post.

    Comment by Maura — May 29, 2012 @ 11:50 am

  2. Maura,

    I can make you one. Give me a call 801-455-8659


    Comment by Stephen Shepherd — May 29, 2012 @ 11:59 am

  3. Where can a person get plans for a quilting frame?

    Comment by Nancy — January 25, 2013 @ 7:38 am

  4. Stephen, Do you sell the plans for this Frame with it’s cog system. My Husband would like to make frames for our daughters and this looks like a great idea for the young mom who is quilting without help.

    Thank you

    Comment by Nettie — May 9, 2014 @ 4:32 pm

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