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Thread: Am I crazy?!?!

  1. #1
    Senior Member frudemoo's Avatar
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    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
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    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.
    Cil



    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
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    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
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    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!

    Nancy

  5. #5
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    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:
    { http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...e-t204377.html }

    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.

    Joe

  6. #6
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    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
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    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
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    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
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    Senior Member Muv's Avatar
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    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
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    It's only the beginning. Hi, my name is Michelle and I am crazy too then

  11. #11
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    All crazy here ... I have only recently started collecting. Like a potato chip ... it started with one, and less than 2 years later I have 4 and I'm STILL looking (currently also watching hubby's PC right in front of me as he is searching for irons!).

    One of the machines I purchased had good irons, a decent head that needed cleaning, and a cabinet that had decent drawers ... but the top is rotten. We sand blasted and repainted the irons, cleaned the drawers and we're going to fix a new top on it and we purchased an old coffin top to put over the head (instead of trying to build a top that will let the machine drop).

    IOW ... the important part are the irons. If you have a complete set (and parts for those can even be found), with no cracks, then clean them up and work from there.

    Go for it and good luck!!
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  12. #12
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    i love your new machine! i'm in crazy land with you - it's a horrible affliction! hahahaha. i'd have probably taken it for the challenge as well.

    your machine reminds me of the vintage 1940's airplanes, somehow. just has an appearance of that era, although as a treadle it might be older than that. i think you're going to have a wonderful time tinkering with your new toy!

  13. #13
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    The only crazy thing about you or your story is the price! Look on Gumtree and see what people are charging for treadles...so well done. Despite how it's been stored it doesn't look too bad at all...sure the cabinet will be in need of new veneer....though if not too much is missing it can be carefully removed, dampened slightly, squashed down firmly under a heavy weight, then re-glued and given a top coat. I have done this with furniture with reasonable results. The vintage forum part of the QB is full of helpful tips for refurbishing vintage treasures. Of course if you get stuck...there are plenty of people who will help. So fellow Aussie...do not despair...smile and surrender to the thrall of vintage!

  14. #14
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    The treadle looks promising. It seems to have the bobbin area in tact. It will need cleaning.
    Anna Quilts

  15. #15
    Senior Member frudemoo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jennb View Post
    Welcome!

    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!!
    Thanks Jennb! I can always try to answer dressmaking questions, although it's funny - I don't know much about a lot of techniques anymore unless they relate to bridal or eveningwear, but you never know, you could strike it lucky Your machine collection sounds amazing! ...and it sounds like I need a subscription to one of these quilting mags, too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Muv View Post
    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"
    Hi Muv, thanks for your reply and I greatly enjoyed watching your instructional on how to clean and oil the machine. I feel brave enough to try now, even if it doesn't look much like one of those beautifully ornate Singers. Can I ask you, what is the metal polish you usually use? Most of the polishes I've used before are liquid and yours looked like a tube of cream(?) I'm also curious as to what's best to use to remove the surface rust from some of the parts. Your advice would be fantastic

    I have tried to join Needlebar but I think they rejected my intro. Must have been because I said I was a dressmaker, even though I emphasised that I was there to discuss the machines. Sounds like they're fairly particular (read: grumpy) about the type of people who are allowed to join, which is a shame because I would really like to share images and manuals etc of the machines I have and discuss their history with the NB members. Funnily enough I found out about NB from my original Google search for the Phoenix 250 - they were the only people who had it listed. I don't know how I was able to access the link, as I can't access anything from the main page, but here it is.

    Quote Originally Posted by DogHouseMom View Post
    One of the machines I purchased had good irons, a decent head that needed cleaning, and a cabinet that had decent drawers ... but the top is rotten. We sand blasted and repainted the irons, cleaned the drawers and we're going to fix a new top on it and we purchased an old coffin top to put over the head (instead of trying to build a top that will let the machine drop).

    IOW ... the important part are the irons. If you have a complete set (and parts for those can even be found), with no cracks, then clean them up and work from there.

    Go for it and good luck!!
    Thanks! The irons aren't the traditional type with vertical supports. The cabinet forms the entire base support for the machine and the treadle irons, which consist only of the pedal and wheel. It's a very austere design, so I'm not sure if that's what you mean, but it seems different to the other treadles I've seen.
    Can I ask, what was the reason for sandblasting? Is that standard practice for cleaning up treadle irons? It sounds very aggressive, but I can't think how else to clean them, so maybe I've just answered my own question - haha!

    Quote Originally Posted by earthwalker View Post
    The only crazy thing about you or your story is the price! Look on Gumtree and see what people are charging for treadles...so well done. Despite how it's been stored it doesn't look too bad at all...sure the cabinet will be in need of new veneer....though if not too much is missing it can be carefully removed, dampened slightly, squashed down firmly under a heavy weight, then re-glued and given a top coat. I have done this with furniture with reasonable results. The vintage forum part of the QB is full of helpful tips for refurbishing vintage treasures. Of course if you get stuck...there are plenty of people who will help. So fellow Aussie...do not despair...smile and surrender to the thrall of vintage!
    Thank you Earthwalker - nice to hear from a fellow Aussie I wasn't sure about the price - but I thought it was very reasonable. I didn't post a pic of the cabinet all closed up, but there were two strips of veneer about 8cm wide on either side of the front panel (of which I have posted a pic). The pic of the rippling veneer is of one of those strips. Half of it was already missing on one side, so I decided just to remove it all. So there are two 'clean' stripes down both sides, but all of the other veneer is intact. There is a very large and unsightly patch of bubbled/rippling veneer on the table top when the lid is closed, but after watching YouTuble videos on repairing veneer, I understand that you can feed glue underneath and either hot iron or clamp these flat to refix the veneer. Seems like a nice, simple concept - I wonder if it will be simple in practice. But I will certainly give it a go (and post about my results).

    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    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:
    { http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...e-t204377.html }
    That's amazing Joe! Well done. I'm not sure whether I should replace the missing strips of veneer, or just sand and polish/paint... I was even thinking that a couple of mirrored panels would look pretty amazing, but not sure how easy this would be. Just a question about matching veneer though - the process of putting it on seems straightforward enough, but how do you know what to buy so that it matches the existing cabinet? Would I have to take it somewhere to get expert advice do you think?

    Quote Originally Posted by vintagemotif View Post
    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.
    Thanks again Vintagemotif, great advice. I am very curious about pitting in the finish where it seems quite deep, as I have this in some places on my Jones Family CS as well. Do you repaint them with black japan? It's very intriguing to me as we have used black japan on our floors at home (huge mistake BTW... but that's another story.) I have heaps left over, but still can't work out what you would do to make it match the surface of the rest of the machine, as it seems the intact paintwork is probably at least 0.25mm thick and any new paintwork would be fairly flat to the metal...

    Anyway, I'm sure as I trawl more videos and threads I will find my own answers to these questions. Please don't feel obliged to answer!!

    I am so grateful to everyone for your generous and thoughtful replies and for making me feel so welcome here. It's so lovely of you all!

  16. #16
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I took a blood test last week it came back normal. I wish I had done that years ago... You might try taking a blood test.
    I love those old machines - they follow me home more often than not, too.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  17. #17
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    If you are crazy- you're in good company here! Machines will start following you home. I'm trying to barricade the door, but no luck.

  18. #18
    Super Member lovelyl's Avatar
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    Frudemoo,
    Welcome! I love the machine you just rescued! Soon they will be following you home... And you are I good company, we are all afflicted with the same "craziness".
    Linda
    There may be times we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest. - Elie Wiesel

  19. #19
    Muv
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    Hello Frudemoo,

    I use Peek metal polish, from http://www.tri-peek.com (but I get it from our local shop). It's a polish, so won't get rid of rust that has set well in. I've never really done a serious rust removal job. Peek will get rid of superficial rust.

    It might be worth having a second go to get on to Needlebar. I had to join twice because for some reason I couldn't get onto the site for months on end on our computer, but I could on my son's - all very puzzling.

  20. #20
    Super Member DogHouseMom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frudemoo View Post
    Can I ask, what was the reason for sandblasting? Is that standard practice for cleaning up treadle irons? It sounds very aggressive, but I can't think how else to clean them, so maybe I've just answered my own question - haha!
    If the irons are in bad shape, yes sand blasting can be the best way to remove old rust. We do it just because we happen to have a sand blaster and my husband thinks it's great fun
    May your stitches always be straight, your seams always lie flat, and your grain never be biased against you.

    Sue

  21. #21
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    In our family the saying is ''Crazy is in the eye of the beholder'' For me I would rather restore the cabinets while my brother restores the machines for me. I take a piece of the old veneer with me to get a good match. Veneer is really easy to replace. And since you can now purchase a water based epoxy the ventilation problem is gone. Like vanginney says this is ONLY the beginning--I can not leave a sad machine in or out of a cabinet sitting in a store or yardsale. All they need is a little TLC and a loving home.

  22. #22
    Senior Member vanginney's Avatar
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    This might be a no-no but this is what I have done for rust. I scrub the metal to get as much rust off and use heat-resistant BBQ high gloss or matte paint (it comes in a can and uses a brush to paint on like regular house paint). It super thick. I have used it on metal sewing machine pedals and they look great. I once had a iron bed sand blasted, looked great, but cost me more than the bed cost

  23. #23
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    Get one vintage machine and you will be infected and want more of them, they are adictive.

  24. #24
    Super Member oldtnquiltinglady's Avatar
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    Yes, I guess I'm crazy too; even before hoarding was ever spoken in polite society, I was hoarding sewing machines--all makes and models (if it is $5 or $10 at a yard sale, it comes home with me; with all my sisters and husband giving me that furry eyeball "where are you going to put it"......Oh well. Welcome to the board and enjoy your visits--this is where I come alive in the morning with my first cup of coffee.
    Make every day count for something!

    JoAnn

  25. #25
    Senior Member berrypatch's Avatar
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    "Am I crazy?!?! " sure are ! just like the rest of us

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