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This week seemed like a good time to start in on the treadle cabinet restoration project for a 4 drawer cabinet that will house my Singer 66.  I bought the cabinet from e-bay, knowing it needed some TLC.   It was missing the center drawer, but I was able to replace it with one found on e-bay.  The drawers all had their original hardware, which is somewhat unusual for vintage pieces, but the case was missing a piece.  The price was very right, so I figured I could put some elbow grease into it and have a nice cabinet.  (I'd searched in this area for a long time for a functioning cabinet, but all the folks here seem to take the tops off the treadle bases and turn them into side tables.  Nothing wrong with that, I just wanted one that worked as an actual treadle.) 

So far, I've used denatured alcohol to take off the shiny finish (I'm not totally stripping it down), and glued where the veneer was separating from the wood.  I still have a place where the veneer will need to be patched in, a piece to make for case that holds the drawers, and then refinish it.  A retired shop teacher in our area will help make the missing drawer case piece and most likely help with the veneer patch.  DH cleaned up all the iron pieces and helped with the glue.  

I'm looking forward to putting it all back together and start treadling away.  I'll post a picture when it is (hopefully) restored to its former glory.

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Comment by Joanna liguz on June 20, 2016 at 12:51pm

You sound like my kind of girl..restoring old furniture...You must be so happy! Lets see the pictures when it's done.!

Comment by Shannon, ON on June 18, 2016 at 3:02pm

pq what a wonderful project! i just attended a workshop about distressing furniture. it was mega fun. have only done 2 framed mirrors so far as i need to get to home depot for a mask before i start sanding. so satisfying to restore an item. please post a pic or 2! hope things are well with you.

Comment by Sandy Larkey on June 16, 2016 at 4:00pm

I have my paternal grandmother's first sewing machine, a Mason Rotary treadle machine with the original instruction book, complete with the "lifetime guarantee" on the back page, singed by my grandfather in 1918.  I'm sure the machine still works, but probably needs a new belt.  The cabinet is in pretty good shape, except the veneer has peeled off some of the drawer front.  There is no hardware for drawer pulls; instead there are cavities with (probably) papier mache decorations (I don't know what else to call them) that form the drawer pulls.  Some of these have broken or missing. I'd rather like to restore the cabinet, but at my age, with so many other projects, 'tain't no way.  I don't know what will happen to the machine when I'm gone, but think it would be a pity for someone to take the machine and cabinet off the legs and turn it into a side table.  Of course, that's more o less what I'm using it for now!  It's not even in my sewing room.  But then, I "only" have seven sewing machines, including this one.  My husband says sewing machines are too big to be a good collectible.  However, I do have to agree with you that the old treadle sewing machines are good things to have.  Sometimes they will sew material the modern machines just won't.  I made a fake fur jacket for my husband, with multiple quilted linings, and the only machine that would sew the waistband on was my old treadle machine (not Grandma's).  I gave that machine away to my sister-in-law when we moved to the houseboat, but when my father's last sister passed away, I acquired her "stuff", including Grandma's sewing machines.  Good luck with your restoration project, and maybe it will inspire me to attempt something with mine.

Comment by Sandra Paananen on June 15, 2016 at 3:13pm

Can't wait to see a picture of the finished piece!

Comment by Prairie Quilter Jan/NE on June 14, 2016 at 12:47pm

Irene - I didn't get any "before" pix while it was together, but I'll try to take a few now to show some of the water damage that I'm dealing with which lifted and cracked the oak veneer.  I've glued most of it down along the edges, but still have the most challenging parts to do - and some veneer patching to do before I start putting a finish coat on it.  

Comment by Irene Gallway on June 14, 2016 at 11:39am

I'm anxious to see it when you get it all done.  Did you get any "before" pics? 

Comment by Barb/WI on June 13, 2016 at 6:14pm

Thanks, PQ, good advice.  I will beware of buying anything that needs more work than I can do on my own.  Sometimes I need the reminder that my skills are more limited I want to think.

Comment by Jodi Cramer on June 13, 2016 at 5:16pm

I learned to sew on a treadle machine in the 7th grade at Byers Junior High School in Denver. Does that give you a clue to my age?? I've always loved a treadle. Wish I had one now.

Comment by Carol Ann Hinton on June 13, 2016 at 4:50pm

Sounds like a terrific project, PQ!  Send pictures!

Comment by Prairie Quilter Jan/NE on June 13, 2016 at 4:03pm

Barb - maybe one with a little less elbow grease would be my recommendation now, but I'm still thrilled with the results I'm seeing so far.  It won't be a perfect, heirloom piece by any means - it's had too many years of neglect and hard living to ever be a showpiece without a complete restoration by someone who knows a lot more about it than what I do, but it will be functional and beautiful to me.  :)  

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