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 wood 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.....