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Need advice on what to use on old treadle cabinet

Need advice on what to use on old treadle cabinet

Old 06-06-2023, 09:26 AM
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Default Need advice on what to use on old treadle cabinet

I am working on an old 1913 Singer treadle cabinet. It's in decent shape just a few spots that need extra help and I would love some advice on what to use or how to repair the issues. The veneer is separating and splitting a little at the back and the bottom of the curved area where the machine fits inside. There are tiny pieces of missing veneer next to where the machine sits. And there are a couple places where it looks like something hot, maybe an iron, took off the finish off of the top. The other two pictures are of the worst places on the metal treadle base. My questions are what kind of glue is best or better to use? How can I get those tiny spots fixed, replace the veneer or just sand smooth and stain since they are so little? What should I use to cover the missing color on the top? Should I put a new shellac coat over it or should I just clean it and wax it with something? As far as the metal treadle base, should I just polish it/what should I use or should I do something else with it first besides washing it down better?
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Old 06-06-2023, 10:38 AM
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Iím going to follow this thread because my treadle cabinet is in really bad shape too, a lot worse than yours. I have tiny slivers of wood missing and cracking off! Hope someone has some ideas!
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Old 06-06-2023, 01:34 PM
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This will depend on several factors: skill level, time, and money. I have never properly refinished a piece of furniture, the closest I came was over here:

Singer 201 in a No 48 Cabinet - Quiltingboard Forums

This cabinet had some raised joints on the veneer, and a few small spots where it was missing. I've been told they make veneer repair kits, but also that the veneer of yesteryear is quite a bit thicker than that used today. I used carpenter's wood glue to fix the problem areas; the excess can be wiped off (while still uncured) with a damp rag; I put wax paper wax side to the glue on the glued area and then clamped some boards to flatten it out. On the table in my post, in the "after" pictures, you can see where the two leaves join together, a small spot of missing veneer. Because of deep ring marks in this one, I used a pad sander on the whole surface, including sanding down the edges of the missing veneer. You could sand just that area, but it can remove some color.

I typically use Howards Restore A Finish, and did so on that No 48 cabinet. The color I had was darker than the original, but I was fine with that. Howards comes in a wide variety of colors. On 90% of the sewing machine furniture I've worked on I have used only Howards, applied according to the directions. Depending on how nice the cabinet or table is I will follow up with some clear coat, usually just on the top and typically spray lacquer, which has to be used outside as it's pretty nasty. I am describing what I call Lazy Man's Refinishing. But it's worked well enough for my standards. I have also used the Howards on bentwood cases and original portable bases as well.
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Old 06-06-2023, 04:37 PM
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I can attest to Howards Restore a Finish being good stuff. I haven't restored any sewing machine tables, but I've used it on my antique tables and the cabinets in my kitchen. My house was custom built in the early 80's with some really nice custom cabinets. The house had been a rental for a while and the cabinets took some abuse. I used Howard's extensively on them and they came out really nice. Its easy to use and not hard to match. Good luck and be sure and post pics as you go. We love pics!
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Old 06-07-2023, 02:06 PM
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Regarding your irons, what do you want them to look like? Do you want them to look restored? Or to show their age but just be cleaner? You could remove loose paint with a metal bristle brush of some kind, and could repaint, making sure you keep paint out of areas of moving metal on metal (e.g. the pivot points on the pedal).

I used Howards Feed N Wax on some irons for somebody, and the first thing out of his mouth when he saw the table was, "You painted it." Which I did not. Wax won't cover up your bare spots, but again, it depends on what you want to have at the end.
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Old 06-07-2023, 03:11 PM
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Default No need to take away her character

I don't mind if she shows her age, that's her character to me. I would just like her to look a little bit shinier and cleaner, maybe a little bit blacker on the irons? I don't need to sandblast and repaint and all that but I do want to make sure that she doesn't degrade anymore either. She is a beautiful little old lady 😊. And the treadle moves like it was just oiled😊.
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Old 06-07-2023, 03:15 PM
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I would try Feed N Wax on part of the irons to see what you think, maybe underneath the pedal. If you like it you can do the whole thing. Once you coat it with something though, it will require more prep work if you decide to paint it later.
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Old 06-10-2023, 09:06 AM
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Default Help with polish for cleaning up silver on machine

I have read through several posts and watched the videos on cleaning the vintage machines, but what kind of polish do you recommend or prefer for the faceplates, on the presser foot bar, etc..... I can't see where they mention what they actually use. Any suggestions would be great😊.
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Old 06-10-2023, 02:04 PM
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I use Brasso. Any metal polish will work.

On the broken veneer pieces - Joe is right. New veneer is about 1/2 the depth of the original. Actually repairing the veneer is difficult. I've done it, but I wouldn't do it again.

If I was doing it again, I would buy wood filler from Rocklers (online and stores in large cities). (Their filler comes in wood colors - the photo looks like it's golden oak, but I have not seen it in person.) If the surrounding spots are loose, first, I would glue them down, so they don't break further. Get a syringe and put a tiny bit of Elmer's wood glue under the edge and then cover the repair with wax paper and place a brick on top and leave it a day or so. Then, I would try to fill the broken area as best I could with the filler, let that set and then sand and finish whatever way you decide.

Disclosure: I have not tried this. I used their wood filler on a floor and it wasn't the color I expected (red oak). I had to stain the places where I used it with a tiny paintbrush.

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Old 06-11-2023, 10:05 AM
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I hadn't thought of trying wood filler for the veneer repair, sounds like a good idea. The filler has to be stain-able though.
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