sewing

Mahogany


I’m very pleased to be able to report lots of progress with the gorgeous treadle table that came with the 27k, also known as Sphinxy. We reckon, based on the colour of the wood and knowing what other treadle tables of a certain age were made of, that the wood used on the table is mahogany – it’s this beautiful red colour.

Singer 27

From the original picture we took, you can get a feel for the state of the table-top – on the left you can see areas where it’s quite scratched and grubby and that sums up the general state of the top.

It was fairly obvious that the top would need to be refinished but rather than dive in straight away, we thought we’d have a go at sanding down and waxing the top of the “coffin” box lid – as it’s a smaller area and less problematic if for some reason it went wrong.

So wanting to be cautious, we sanded down the lid with extra-fine sanding paper and gave part of it a coat with wax. We ended up with:

Singer Box Lid

Not great – on the right, where we had sanded but not yet varnished, you could see that the marks (some weird ring mark in particular) were still there and the bit where we had re-waxed still looked a bit grubby.

Following advice from my Dad, we went and bought sanding paper in coarse, medium, fine and more of the extra fine we’d already bought and went at it again, starting with coarse and working our way up.

Singer Box Lid

MUCH better. You can see most of the marks and scratches are gone and we’re back to a lovely natural, CLEAN shade of wood.

We gave it a few coats of wax and took it upstairs with the cast-iron treadle base – positioning it where the table will go when finished – and boy it looks perfect there:

Singer Treadle

Amazing what just a few coats of beeswax will do and how much better it looked!

So that was last weekend.

This weekend, more specifically today, we finished sanding the table-top. This was a bit of a mission as to do it easily, we had to disassemble the whole thing – removing the drawers etc to leave us with just the flat piece of wood that comprises the top. We had a lot to put back together:

Treadle & table parts

Loads of screws. This picture doesn’t even include the six drawers and the four little cast iron hooks that are used to help secure the drawer sides to the treadle.

With some faffing about we got it all back together:

Finishing Singer Treadle Table

Here’s a good shot of the top before waxing:

Finishing Singer Treadle Table

And after the first coat of wax on the top, but before we’d done the extension leaf. Can you see the difference?

Finishing Singer Treadle Table

With the drawers added in and placed in position, it looks brilliant – even though the top probably does need more wax still:

Finishing Singer Treadle Table

The great thing about having all those drawers is being able to fill them with gen-u-ine vintage sewing accessories:

Singer Sewing Machine Accessories

And of course a machine. I wonder what we shall find under the coffin box lid…

Victorian Singer Treadle Table

Victorian Singer Treadle Table with 201

One of my Singer 201’s. I’d decided not long after getting the table that it would be perfect to put a 201 in here instead of the 27k, which hopefully has found a new home once I check it all works ok. I couldn’t decide between Grace (potted motor electric) and Mary (hand-crank) so I asked Ravelry. The general consensus is that I should pop the hand-crank in so I have the option of using the treadle once I have procured a new belt and having a genuine “dual-fuel” machine. Plus Mary looks awesome in that space:

Victorian Singer Treadle Table with 201

Seeing the table in position like that suddenly made an idea occur to me. This table wasn’t as long as the one I was planning to get from IKEA to go against that wall, so I would have room to put the bookcase upright alongside. This could also solve another dilemma, as I was wondering how to keep my other electric 201 accessible for easy use, after I took her out of the table we bought her in and since refinished. A little rearrangement later…

Craft Room progress so far

Room for all three machines! Grace is now on the right in her white table and I’ve since realised that table solves another problem for me. If I wanted to keep a sewing machine permanently out on the main table, it gives me nowhere to cut except on the floor. Now the white table is back in, Grace can drop down into it, I can fold the leaves over and VOILA! cutting surface. Or somewhere for me to use the 99k.

Grace back in situ

I do badly need more storage, so I will probably stick to my plan of replacing the bookcase with a white one, with an additional 2×2 bookcase on top and a few remaining boxes above that to store fabric. I’ll need a little set of steps to make sure I can get up and down without injury, but it’ll be a lot neater and tidier than the mess I have at present:

Bookcase in new place

But I can’t help but love the perfection of how these two bits of furniture sit side-by-side with no more than a centimetre to spare. Meant to be:

Closeup of Mary/table/bookcase

I still need to get myself a stool and more sewing bits and pieces, but at least I’ll have room for a dressform, more sewing surfaces and I’ll get to solve my storage problems at the same time. While still leaving room out of shot in the opposite corner for Trev to have his own desk for recording etc.

I do feel a little strange using a bona-fide antique as a table that’s going to be in regular use, but I suppose I should use the same logic to it that I apply to the machines. They were made to be used and loved and it’s better off being here with me than sitting in some antique shop lonely and dusty.

Finally, because no blog post is really complete without a cat, here’s ours taking the opportunity to photobomb one of my shots. Gerry should really be known as Mr Sniffles this week – he’s currently suffering from a bout of cat-flu. It seems he had it long ago in the past because he’d never been vaccinated and that means he’s now a carrier and can get it pretty easily. It’s not something that can be treated either – he just has to get over it in his own time. I feel bad for him, as he’s got very watery, runny eyes, a wheezy chest and is sneezing like there’s no tomorrow. On top of which he has a snotty nose – so often when he sneezes you get covered in cat snot. Awesome. But it seems like he’s getting a little better – certainly well enough to saunter around the house with a swagger in his step:

Gerry in craft room

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6 thoughts on “Mahogany

    1. Ooooh you enabler! *clicky clicky*

      So pleased you think it looks nice – a world apart from how it looked when it arrived. Can’t wait to get cracking!

      Nice to see you’re back sewing too 🙂

  1. Gerry looks so at home in that room. He’s certainly a handsome boy. Yesterday while I was working on the computer, Henry decided the best place to sit was on my most recent design project….he looked right at home there too.

    1. What are they like? I’m sure in their own way, they think they’re being lovely – if they can’t lay on us, they want to lay on something they know is dear to us…

    1. The first step is to find a suitable treadle table and pop the machine in. The second step, is to obtain a treadle belt, which are fairly inexpensive (£9 if you’re in the UK and can order from Helen Howes). You then run this alongside the groove which is to the left of the handwheel and around the treadle mechanism. You can spot the groove as it looks perfect for running some sort of cable on. Does that make sense? If needs be I can try and take a picture for you.

      Good luck with converting yours if you decide to give it a try!

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