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  • How to get a treadle machine safely to a new home in moving van?

    Old 04-27-2016, 07:16 AM
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    Default How to get a treadle machine safely to a new home in moving van?

    If all goes well, I will be buying an antique Singer treadle machine this Saturday. From the pictures it looks good, I just need to see it in real life. I've been looking for one for a while now and this one is going for a great price, so I don't want to let it go.

    However, somewhere in the next year I will be moving to a new home, a couple of hours drive away. I am worried about how to move the treadle - even though I realize that if I am to own one, it will have to move with me at least one more time after this upcoming move. So I thought I'd better know what I am getting into and have been researching a bit on how to move a treadle. I've figured out I need to take the machine out of the cabinet and pack it separately. And the machine can go in our car, that's not a problem.

    The base though... It will have to go into the moving van. The treadle mechanism is (cast?) iron but the table and legs are wood. So, leave it whole and ship it like furniture? Or package it whole into a box with a lot of padding? Or do I have to take it apart? (Which, I'll add, scares me to death because while I don't have a problem tinkering with a vintage machine, tinkering with the treadle base is not something I'd like to do to be honest.)

    Most of the advice I've seen is about actually shipping a treadle with the mail, which I would think would be more dangerous than having it in a moving van. Still, any tips and hints and information from people who've actually moved houses with their treadles would be greatly appreciated!
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    Old 04-27-2016, 07:33 AM
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    Have it wrapped in plenty of moving blankets, strapped tight so nothing moves. Definitely take the head out, maybe drawers too if you want. Pack everything nice and tight. Should not have any problems in the moving van. wouldn't even try the mail.
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    Old 04-27-2016, 07:40 AM
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    Agree with what Amy said. I just moved several treadles the same way to our new house this way. I did take the drawers out and packed them separately into a box.
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    Old 04-27-2016, 07:43 AM
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    Thanks! That was what I was thinking, but I got worried.

    I am thinking of taking the head out before moving it into the car to take home - if I take it home that is. As far as I can tell, every machine can be taken out just by tilting it back (instead of inwards to close the cabinet) and loosening the screws a bit with a screwdriver. Cabinet in the back of the car, machine head next to me on the back seat so I can keep an eye on it. On the other hand, for the short trip (10-15 minutes depending on traffic) I might leave it in...

    If there's anything the new machines have over the old ones it's that they come in a box that I always make sure to keep in case of having to move it!
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    Old 04-27-2016, 07:44 AM
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    I would definitely be there when they pack the treadle and help if need be. We helped a friend move his mother to Montana where he lives. I had a couple old exercise mats and duct tape. DH and the friend used those mats and old blankets to protect her old machine in a cabinet (not a treadle) with spindly legs. Tucked bubble wrap and old pillows to keep from damage. I used her linen to help pack her dishes. Nothing was damaged. He rented a U-Haul and drove it himself.
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    Old 04-27-2016, 10:50 AM
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    We moved recently and I saw a hint maybe on here of taking the machine and drawers out and then flipping the cabinet over. I think it is more stable that way but would still need to be protected. We did that but moved it in the car ahead of time. We moved 8 hours away but had time to move sone things ahead
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    Old 04-27-2016, 01:38 PM
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    I pack and transport more than a dozen antique treadle machines at a time, a few times each year.

    I strongly recommend taking the irons apart. Cast Iron is VERY fragile. When it is assembled it is a self supporting structure, but it is designed to support the weight pushing down. Sideways or diagonal impacts can/will snap it like a dry twig.

    MOST treadles some apart very easily. (and go back just as easy)

    My usual sequence is:
    1. remove head from unit
    2. remove the screws holding the top to the base
    3. Remove the drive wheel (big one)
    4. Remove the Pitman (wood/metal connecting rod from pedal to big wheel)
    5. Remove the cross support
    6. remove the pedal bar and pedal.

    Pack each with padding or blankets between them, stack them, then bundle the whole stack with clingwrap

    Pictures of YOUR specific model of treadle would let me give more specific instructions.

    HINT: when you remove a screw/bolt/nut, once the parts are separate, put the screw/bolt/nut back where it came from. REALLY hard to lose or mix up the bits that way
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    Old 04-28-2016, 02:50 AM
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    I use the car seat belts to hold things in place in the car, especially my sewing machines even in cases (padded inside)
    the floorboards of the backseat with moving blankets works well also.
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    Old 04-28-2016, 04:57 AM
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    Originally Posted by SteveH
    I pack and transport more than a dozen antique treadle machines at a time, a few times each year.

    I strongly recommend taking the irons apart. Cast Iron is VERY fragile. When it is assembled it is a self supporting structure, but it is designed to support the weight pushing down. Sideways or diagonal impacts can/will snap it like a dry twig.

    <snipped>

    Pictures of YOUR specific model of treadle would let me give more specific instructions.

    HINT: when you remove a screw/bolt/nut, once the parts are separate, put the screw/bolt/nut back where it came from. REALLY hard to lose or mix up the bits that way
    It looks like taking it apart will be my best bet for the move to a new house. But can I leave it intact for the 10 minute drive from the seller to my own place? I was planning on taking the head out (fingers crossed the screws come loose) and wrapping the cast iron parts in some sheets to protect them on the short drive.

    I have attached a picture of the cabinet that the seller made and a close up of the treadle mechanism - I still need to see it in real life before I make the final decision but everything seems okay. I just don't see me able to take it apart there before loading it into the car...so I really hope transporting it in one piece (minus the head) will work for the short trip.

    As an aside, that box-thing in the lower left corner of the picture, it looks like it's part of the treadle, but I don't know what it is exactly. Something to cover up the pedal of the treadle when not in use?
    Attached Thumbnails treadle.jpg   treadle-close.jpg  

    Last edited by J.M.; 04-28-2016 at 05:00 AM.
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    Old 04-28-2016, 05:24 AM
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    My treadle has been moved around the country for 40 years with my Marine Corps husband. I never took the head out, but the packers always put padding around the machine and wrapped the whole thing in padding.
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