Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The Process of Working on the Cabinet

During the interim of working on the actual machine--I have also been working on the cabinet.  It appears to have some kind of varnish/lacquer finish over the original wood finish.  It is much darker than the orginal--which you can see when you open the cabinet.  I would like to take the darker finish off, but am worried about somehow messing it up altogether.  Below are some pics to show you the difference in the finishes, including the last picture of the varnish on the side of a drawer.  These pictures are AFTER using Murphy's Oil Soap and Old English Scratch Remover for dark woods.  I have two more finish steps to go.  I am hoping that when I use the Howard's Restore-A-Finish with steel wool that it might break up some of the old finish.  I'm just not sure what it will do.

The photo below is after opening the top.  You can see the difference in finishes.

I would appreciate any ideas for comments about whether to pursue stripping the outside of it or leaving well enough alone.  I am not sure what to do.  What would you do about it?

I want to take the time to thank the members of the web site I recently found called Treadle On.  This web site provides information, pictures, advice on vintage treadle Singer sewing machines for owners and collectors, as well as other vintage treadle machines.  The members have a lot of wisdom about these beautiful machines/cabinets and are happy to share it with you.  All of the cleaning and restoration information I am using to bring life back to my 115 is from this site, founded by 'Captain Dick'.  Visit their web site at

Also available are a couple of vintage Singer sewing machine groups at Yahoo Groups.  One group, in particular has extensive information on various models of Singers, as well as files, links, and photos to help with identification, manuals, parts, and so forth.

It's Not What I Thought It Was!: The Singer 115 Revealed

It turns out that the vintage Singer I own is actually a 115; not a 15-88.  It was made on December 8, 1915 in Elizabeth, NJ.  My grandmother was born in 1908--so I'm thinking it belonged to her mother first.  The machine was in good shape to begin with, but obviously is needing a little help.

I have been working on cleaning the old grime off of it and polishing up parts over several days now.  It definitely takes some patience and time to get this done.  I'm am almost finished with the cleaning of the machine. 

I also have to add here that using dental tools was so helpful in cleaning those fine grooves, such as in the plate you see below.