Project Update -- 11/30/2015 Sewing Machine

Thumbtack Best Pro of 2015

This beautiful old sewing machine is in need of some serious TLC.  There are lots of beautiful carvings and features, but there's equally as much damage.  It's going to be a challenge to salvage as much as possible to preserve the character of the piece without being too heavy-handed.

The top is pretty much ruined with water damage.  There's no saving the veneer.

 Clenaing up the intricate details is going to be tedious, but the payoff is going to be worth it.

Here's a look inside.  The action is surprisingly sophisticated.  Nice nickel plated hinges, too

 Here's the machine exposed.

 The cowl on the back will need to be rebuilt.  The wood is pretty much gone.

So now it's in pieces waiting to be stripped, fixed, finished and reassembled.  This is going to a breathtaking piece when I finish it.

UPDATE 11/30/15

Stripping went OK,  What was left of the old finish came off pretty easily, but the water damage caused the grain to raise.  
Rebuilding and recarving the missing detail on the drawers.  For the small repairs I was able to use putty, but the big one's required replacing missing pieces of wood and then matching the carvings.

 I salvaged as much of the original millwork and trim as I could.  Below I had to reglue most of the ring carvings around the drawer pulls.
 The drawer hangers also presented a challenge.  The carving was very shallow, so I had to be careful to not sand it any further than necessary.  A lot of dental pick work here.
 Finally, I had it all cleaned and prepped.  I used General Finishes Candlelight and it absorbed into the wood nicely.  Below are the front drawer and the components of the top piece.  The drawer has a coat of varnish on it, the other two only stain.

 The last big challenge was replacing the missing drawer pull.  I checked all of my usual sources and searched the web, but no luck finding anything even close.  I fired up the lathe and turned a piece of 1" ash dowel that I had into the rough blank below.  After that I used a Dremel with an assortment of dental burrs to do the final shaping.
 Here, I have the new pull in place and I'm matching the finish to the rest of that drawer.
 The finished pull

This one is just about wrapped up,  I think it came out pretty good, considering the amount of carved pieces that needed to be reconstructed.  The sewing machine treadle works, but they will probably need to get a new belt if they intend to use it.  

 The only thing left to do is final polishing.  That's why the area around the machine looks whitish.
 Here's the back and the cowl I had to rebuild.  See above for the original degree of damage.




CKDesigns said…
This is a very nice piece. Lots of great detail work. I'm sure you are going to bring it back to it's original glory.
Patty Woolever said…
It's GORG. What talent you have:)

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