Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Treadle Sewing Machine

About 2 months ago, I found a nice White treadle sewing machine for sale in Pittsburgh. Since none of my kids could pick it up on the way home from college - too much crap - sorry, very important stuff - in their cars, I arranged for shipment. Well, the carrier busted it up. (Can you see the steam rising from my ears still?). Broke a cast iron leg and the wood front. Long story short, they paid for the freight and my purchase, and I had a couple hundred pounds of wood and cast iron. Wasn't this lovely?

Well, I don't give up. I've wanted a treadle sewing machine since I was about 8. And I was going to have it. So I researched how to weld cast iron, then found someone who could do so. And they fixed that broken leg for $37. Yes, $37! Then it was time for me to do what I'd planned all along: make it pretty.

Rustoleum high gloss black enamel is great stuff. If you're spraying parts that move, the trick is to keep them moving while the spray flies (after putting a couple of drops of WD-40 in the joint so residue can't filter in). Then, for an easy, all in one woo
d finish, I used a product that I use whenever I want to make my wooden French Doors around here look new and spiffy: Polyshades by Minwax. Stain and varnish in one. Use one brush, wrap it in nail polish remover soaked paper towels followed by plastic wrap to keep it fresh overnight while the first coat dries, then do an additional coat, and heave the brush. Note: Don't use the cheapo brushes with the black shiny bristles. Those suckers drip like no one's business. So, yes, you'll be throwing away a $5 brush, but it can be used over the course of several days. My wood was pretty well beat up, but I sanded it gently, so as not to peel off the veneer, and put 5 coats of Polyshades on it between Thursday and Sunday. Then we hauled it out of the basement, plopped it in the middle of the family room, Ryan grabbed the sewing machine and helped me put it in the cabinet, and we laboriously attached the new belt. Lo and behold, it appears to work! Ryan spent hours yesterday cleaning the plated parts with WD-40, sewing machine oil and steel wool. Then I had a brilliant idea for cleaning the paint: Why not use Turtle Wax Bug & Tar remover? It works on cars, right? Well, look how pretty it looks now!

And Ryan had a great time figuring how to make it work. Now, I only have one minor problem: Does anyone out there know how to take the bobbin out of this sucker? I'm sure I can figure out how to thread it, but if I can't take out the bobbin, I can't try it out, can I?

Edited at 9PM: Yippee for me! I figured out how to take out the bobbin. Threading hasn't gone as well, yet, but I did get 6 stitches before the thread broke. Now, on to threading.....


Miriam in KS said...

Congratulations on your find and your save!

I'm with you on wanting a treadle machine. When I was 12, the old lady across the street sewed wonderful dogs and humpty dumpty type stuffed toys on hers. She couldn't do much else but man did she produce these! I was intrigued to say the least.I already knew how to sew so I loved watching her feet go. I found one of the stuffed toys she'd given me all those years ago at my mother's when we were packing up to sell the house. Yep, I kept the dog! Good memories of my afternoons spent with Nellie.

Enjoy your machine. And yay for sons who are fascinated by how any machine works!

Paula said...

Oh, you must have been in disbelief when the carrier broke your treasure! How did they possibly manage that? Glad that you found a way to repair it, and boy oh boy, those young men of yours sure are handy. Hats off to Ryan for all his labor!

I'm trying to remember how to get the bobbin out, but it escapes me. If I have a mental breakthrough, I'll respond again!

Angoraknitter said...

I'm so glad you were able to get it fixed! My MIL has one that looks almost just like it....but yours is much shinier! Looks great! Now you can sew during a power outage, way cool.

Anonymous said...

Okay. You're really Martha Stewart's better looking, more talented, younger sister aren't you?!? Is there anything you don't know how to do?
I have some excellent resources for learning more about myths - not just the myths themselves but their deeper implications. If you and your son (Hammy Boy) are interested, please email me to let me know and I'll forward the info to you. I'm assuming you can access my email address through this post?
Thanks for sharing your many talents via your blog. I am so inspired by you.
Another Paula

Anonymous said...

I'm a technical dimwit and something abnormal happened with my initial post. My email address is myamas@yahoo.com. And I'm not really posting at 3 am - I'm posting from Europe, several hours ahead of you.
Another Paula

Pam said...

Marjie, it is absolutely beautiful!

Anonymous said...

To get at the bobbin:
There's a plate just to the left of the needle, wiggle it a bit and then tip it so the edge towards the foot is up in the air, the plate should just tip right up and come off. Then you reach under and pull the bobbin straight (towards the left, as you're facing the machine) out.
Good luck!

Sheila said...

I know this is an old post, but I had to let you know how much it helped me to see the picture of your treadle while building a new pedal for my White sewing machine. I managed to get it done successfully, finally.

If you're interested, I have pictures here that are public: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.782698633745.2281673.24400727&l=4c076891ee

Thanks again!