All the widely available ironing boards have a metal (rather than wooden) base. I suppose that's OK for busy muggles who want to get the ironing done quickly, but it's hopeless for serious pressing. The steam travels through the boards too quickly, and also unevenly due to the holes. The thick padding is another problem, it makes it hard to get things really flat.
So today I went ahead and made my own. Here's how:
1) Take a sheet of plywood, sand it down, and dust it off. I used a wide sheet so I can iron from selvege to selvege.
2) Take an old towel and cut off the edges to make the padding. Anything with some weight to it will do, as long as it can resist high temperatures.
3) Stretch out the padding with the iron, staple it down at one end. Some of the staples didn't go all the way in, so I hammered them the rest of the way.
4) Carefully stretch the padding material and staple tightly at the other end. Do the same for all 4 sides.
5) Also staple it on the underside for good measure. There's nothing worse than having it shift when the board is in use.
6) Iron a sheet of calico (or any other cotton) over the padded board. It's important to completely remove all the wrinkles.
7) Do the same stretching and stapling thing, except this time only staple on the underside.
8) Trim the edges, fold them under, and staple them down.
Job done. If only all sewing could be done by staple gun.