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Thread: Am I crazy?!?!

  1. #1
    Senior Member frudemoo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2013

    Am I crazy?!?!

    Hi everyone
    I haven't really introduced myself yet - I've just been around in circles looking for the appropriate place. But I'm in Melbourne, Australia. I'm a dressmaker but taking a break from work to have kids and have just touched on quilting (I have started cutting my first quilt for my daughter, hope to finish it in the next 5 years!) ... but suddenly I've found myself the owner of quite a few vintage machines and I am absolutely ADDICTED. I have a Consew 210 industrial SS, a Bernina 640-2 Favorit, a Singer 328P SS/ZZ, a Jones Family CS that was converted from treadle to electric..... and now....

    ........a Phoenix 250 treadle!

    Yes, I bought the treadle. I share the sad tale in the relevant thread post, but to cut a long story short, I had to buy it because it was being so neglected, I just couldn't stand to leave it there. I'm not sure it was a very good idea because now I don't know if it can be fixed. But I am willing to try and would love to hear some sage advice from anyone here who's happy to take a look...

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    Has anyone ever tried to rescue a cabinet in such poor condition? Is it worth it?
    I'm wondering if veneer can be re-done or if I should just give the damaged places a sand and refinish the wood underneath. ....or maybe I should have just left it where it was :'(

  2. #2
    Junior Member makitmama's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Tidewater, VA
    Actually, you are in the RIGHT place. We all are addicted to these wonderful machines! I am convinced mine whisper to me when I am restoring them, and hum or sing to me when I am sewing on them. As a new quilter you will like the ease and exactness of a vintage SS machine.

    I'm a Queen.... at least my pantyhose say I am!

    (proud caretaker of a magenta 221, purple 222, assorted 66's, a 301, a pink Atlas and Monarch, and Granny's 201-2.

  3. #3
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Blog Entries
    You have a good heart and you will be able to refurbish this lovely machine.
    Quilter 68 who is now 69/and now 70

  4. #4
    Super Member BoJangles's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Rescue, California
    Blog Entries
    Your Phoenix looks like it is complete and not in bad shape at all! The cabinet needs work, but you can go either way. There are people on here who just take off the veneer and paint or refinish the wood underneath. Most people would actually put new veneer on the cabinet, stain, and refinish the whole cabinet. Veneer is not hard to do - you can even get veneer pre-glued. If you search for tutorials here, you will find lots of information on re-finishing cabinets and cleaning up the old machines. Good luck! And yes, there are lots of us who re-did cabinets in as bad or worse shape than yours!


  5. #5
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    NE Indiana
    Yes, it's worth repairing the veneer. Yes, I've done a couple pretty badly damaged cabinets, one parlor and one regular treadle.
    Here's a thread of the regular treadle I did with before and after pics:
    { Look it what I'm getting for free ...... update }

    The machine itself just needs cleaning and oiling and some rust repair. That's doable.

    I had to reglue the bottom of the parlor cabinet and replace the veneer as it had gotten wet (water or moisture is the worst enemy of these old machines ) and all the glue just fell apart. I don't have good pics of that one.

    Are you crazy? Well, no more than the rest of us.


  6. #6
    Power Poster
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Ontario, Canada
    Welcome and no, your not crazy. It looks like all her working parts are there and with a good clean and new belt, she should sew just fine. I would get her sewing first and then refinish her cabinet. A treadle machine will sew through some really difficult fabrics.

  7. #7
    Super Member vintagemotif's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Blog Entries
    You're not crazy. These vintage machines sew beautifully once they have be cleaned.

    While cleaning the machine, only clean the Japan (black areas with the decals) with sewing machine oil so that you don't ruin the decals. Sometimes with the older machine the Japan's clear protective coat has been damaged over the long years; cracks developed in the clear coat. Some cleaning produces will strip that clear coat off leaving you with just the black paint (Japan). That clear coat protects those decals too; so you don't want them ruined. Sewing oil is the safest method to clean up the machine, just takes time.

    MUV has some excellent youtube videos showing how to clean a vintage machine, which you can google.

    IF you find repairing the veneer to daunting a task, you can always take the treadle out of that cabinet and attach a new wooden top. Numerous folks here have made simple frankentreadles.

    There has been one person that posted her project. She took a cheap table top that she picked up from a thrift store for $5. Her husband cut out the area for the machine to sit in. She then lined up the machine/top to the treadle irons. Her work surface space is now much larger than a vintage cabinet. You might want to consider that if you are limited in the number of treadles in the house or if you want a larger work surface area.
    Some folks have made different templates to hold a specific machine that then drops into the generic hole in the table top of the treadle. That way you can rotate machines into the one treadle. Example, your Singer 328 and Phoenix in the same treadle table.

    Have fun and enjoy treadling!
    Last edited by vintagemotif; 02-01-2013 at 09:30 AM.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Welcome! If you are crazy, then the rest of us here are certifiable...and I have to admit I've wondered the same myself. Once you get yourself one or two of these antique or vintage machines, you're hooked and its hard to pass one by. I have between 75 and 100 machines in my collection. Almost all were acquired in the last year or so.

    There's a wealth of info on here from members, so rest assured that there is little you will come across that someone here won't be able to help you solve/fix.

    Glad to know there's a dressmaker here now. I have someone to come to for garment sewing questions! I absolutely want to come to Australia someday so I can shop in your quilt and needlework stores. I get a couple of the Australian magazines, and you have some of the best ones down there!!

  9. #9
    Muv is offline
    Senior Member Muv's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Frudemoo - It looks a fantastic machine, and you are perfectly sane.

    Why don't you join Needlebar and post some pictures of the machine? I'm sure they will be able to tell you about it, and about the manufacturers. I couldn't find any photos of this model when I checked through their picture gallery, and there wasn't much about Baer and Rempel either, but that doesn't necessarily mean they won't be able to tell you.

    QB is a great place to learn about quilting and enjoy your machines too. I'm looking forward to you posting your work on the thread "Quilts made using Vintage Machines"

  10. #10
    Senior Member vanginney's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Blog Entries
    It's only the beginning. Hi, my name is Michelle and I am crazy too then

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