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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

I have an upcoming project and would like some input and ideas.

My Daughter who lives 800+ miles away has been offered a sewing machine from her Great Great Grandmother. It is one of those with the treadel (sp?) and the top (which folds open to lift the machine out)it had plants sitting on it and the water damaged the top.

I have not seen it but from what I was told a lot of the top layer is gone but the core is still in good shape. The core sounds like it is solid wood. I'm not sure of the age but most likely it is over 100 years old.

So here is what I'm thinking and why....

They have almost no tools for me to use so since I will be traveling I was thinking of packing my trim router and that is about it.

1) I'm hoping the core is really in good shape and if I remove the pieces of old veneer and give it a light sanding it will be good enough to apply a pressure sensitive veneer.
Q1) This leads to the first question, does anyone know what type oak or cuts these sewing machines had? I was hoping to have it ordered and delivered well before I arrive. Any issues with pressure sensitive veneers I should know about??

2) Now comes the router issue. The edge is already formed on the top, it sounds like a ogee design but I can't be sure until I see it. I'd like to trim the veneer to fit but a bearing bit is not going to fit...
Q2) Anyone have a good idea how to do this given the limited tools I will have? (No I'm not going to take a table with me.) I have a couple of ideas but I'd like more options.

3) If this all works I will now be at the point of finishing this nice new top which will be looking a whole lot different then the rest of the machine (which has been around all these years...... dust/sun/wood fires/storage/and years)
Q3) How do I go about making this top match the rest of the machines wood.... like do they make a new finish that will look like an old finish or do I bale at this point and let her deal with it??

Thanks,

Ed
 

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Ed How much time have we got to put pen to paper.
I recall my mothers machine where the lid covered the frame through which the machine was pulled through. Yes it was a large Ogee moulding on the both edges that I can recall. To replace the top what I envisage is that a second top (temporary) will be required exactly the same size as the top to take the bearing when routing the new top that you may have to make.
Tom
 

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Discussion Starter #3
template tom said:
Ed How much time have we got to put pen to paper.
I recall my mothers machine where the lid covered the frame through which the machine was pulled through. Yes it was a large Ogee moulding on the both edges that I can recall. To replace the top what I envisage is that a second top (temporary) will be required exactly the same size as the top to take the bearing when routing the new top that you may have to make.
Tom
The good news is the project will not be for a while, the soonest would be mid-April but more likey very early June..... We have to get the machine from my sister-in-law to my daughters (they are 500 miles apart) and with various things happen between the house holds????

My first though was to just clamp an edge on the top and then run the router against that but then this is a blind cut as the excess veneer will be covering the edge and I'm not sure how easy it will be to get a nice matching edge to a curved surface... plus not having my tools will limit what I can do....... so I'm all ears to any ideas.

Ed
 

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Hello Ed,

If you can get pics it would go along ways toward giving you an Ideal of what you need to do. I do remember my grandmothers old sewing machine that my sister now has.

You might look at the wood under the damaged Veneer and just remove it, then lightly sand the rest of it and stain or varnish to restore to the same color as it was before. I think trying to put new Veneer on it might take away from the way it looks. Unless it the wood it's self is damaged really bad.

I have some old head and foot boards of Antique bed frames that have damaged veneer and I believe the wood underneath is Oak or some other Hard wood but not sure because I have not taken a really close look at it. I plan on removing the veneer and using the wood on another project.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi Randy,

I wish I had some pictures too.... I too am working off old memories and I don't trust them very far. I've seen this machine maybe 20 years ago. I do know it is oak and stained a darker color, black metal bits and missing the leather drive belt. It has either two or three drawers on each side... hey it might make a nice router table with a little work....

If the construction is as I expect.... it will be with the solid core is some lighter wood with the edges being real oak and then a veneer over both top and bottom. Now I could be wrong and if so your idea of refinishing the under wood might work... If so that is a lot less work.

From what I understand a lot of the veneer is missing off the top but while the base wood is plant container stained it is not warped or lifted. It would almost be worth the 12 hour drive to see it and bring it back here to work on... hey I've got 12 hours to spare if only gas prices were not so high. It also means I will be driving to DE with a sewing machine in the back....... I don't know if I'm up for all that driving, I'll have to think on that.

Ed
 

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Ed,
Is this by chance a Singer machine? If so I have one setting at home in my living room. It belongs to the ol' lady so I haven't really paid much attention to it. If it is the same I could take some pictures of and get deminsions and check out it's construction when I get home tonight. I will look and get as much info on it as I can and report back. Maybe they are the same machine. Could you get the model info?
Al
 

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HI:
Why dont you ask them to remove the top and ship it to you and you could fix it properly in your shop and bring it back in April and reisntal it compleat.
 

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Hi,

Yes it is a Singer... as I mentioned I don't know how old it really is but we think it was from around 1900 give or take a few years. Don't have a model and it is "stored" so I don't have a way of getting the information. I was thinking of searching the web for some pictures and then seeing if I could find one the wife things looks like it.... My guess is they all look a lot alike???

I would be interested in what it looks like and how you think it was made. I'm hoping the top is less then 24" x 24" as the veneer comes in that size....

Thanks for anything you can find out.

Ed
 

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Ed,
Here is a link to the pictures. http://photobucket.com/albums/b48/apurcell22/
The top is 20"wX15" deep. It Appears to oak that has been laminated. the construction apears to be mortise and tenon. I am soory if the pictures are not that clear. Had to deal with plumbing issues tonight and was in a rush. As you can see this will be a future restore. The only thing missing on this one is the drive belt. It is fully functional. If you have any more questions feel free to ask.
Good luck,
Al
 

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Yea that looks like it or at least what I think it looks like. Except for a lot of the veneer missing on the hinged top that is. It looks like in the one picture you might have some veneer missing (81f4bdf2.jpg)too.

Sorry about your plumbing issues... hope they are all taken care of by now.

Thanks for all the extra effort!

Ed
 

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Not a problem Ed, yeahit is missing a little too. But I guess its not too bad for a hundred year old machine. One of these days I will get around to restoring it. For now I will continue to fix up the house I bought this summer. This plumbing problem is now fixed, but it seems everytime I turn around I find some half @ss repair the previous owner made. Can be quite frustrating. Oh well, the joy's of home ownership!
Good luck,
Al
 

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Assuming you're going to reveneer the lid. I've repaired and refinished several of these units (like in the picture). Have someone open the machine, prop the machine so it won't fall. 2 hinges and usually a cable or chain that raises the machine. Unscrew them all and remove the lid. Remove the old veneer from the lid. If necessary, take some rags and saturate them with vinegar and let it soak in. It will loosen the old veneer given enough time. You may have to use a scraper or chisel to work under the veneer as need be, do it while it's wet and pliable. If there are any divots or gouges from getting the old veneer, automotive bondo works well on filling that. Let it dry well to get rid of any leftover vinegar. then get it all off and sand it down smooth. I use single or double ply veneer, no paper backed stuff or preglued. I use a good type of contact cement (use good ventilation as that is the kind that works for me) and a press to put the new stuff down. I work with a refinishing shop so I let them do the finish work.

Trim it close with a router and an edge guide, then finish it off with sandpaper rolled around a dowel.

Hope that helps.

Paul
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Hi,

While I'm not sure what the machine I will be dealing with looks like it will be something like the one pictured. From what I've heard the top veneer will need to replaced but the rest is in OK shape. I was planning on removing the top to work on it but without my "shop" I wanted to keep the process as simple as I can.

So vinegar works on the glue.... that is good to know.... are we talking hours or days here for time?

Any reason you didn't use the paper backed stuff? I was looking at the pressure sensitive on that Rockler sells........

What does the wood underneath look like? Are we talking a solid piece or ???

And the grain of the veneer is it a plain or a quarter slice??

I was hoping to finish the edge with the router and maybe a 7 deg angle (just enough to keep the wood below from getting touched.

Maybe I'm just trying to do this the hard way.... I guess I could bring the top back with me and go it right in the shop but sometimes I like to see just what I can do without all the tools, you know sort of ruffing it.

Thanks for you input!

Ed
 

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If this machine is as old as you think the glue is probably hide glue,if so its reversable. The Singer's ive seen were not rotary cut veneer most were riff cut (quarter sawn would be ideal). You will need some cawls, clamps and weights to apply pressure to the veneer.

Good Luck

Jerry
 

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Discussion Starter #15
jerrymayfield said:
If this machine is as old as you think the glue is probably hide glue,if so its reversable. The Singer's ive seen were not rotary cut veneer most were riff cut (quarter sawn would be ideal). You will need some cawls, clamps and weights to apply pressure to the veneer.

Good Luck

Jerry
Hi Jerry,

So I'm looking for quarter sawn look and would you guess red or white oak?? I know it is a very dark stain over the top and would it have been a varnish back in those days??

Ed
 

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You want anything but rotary cut veneer. It is most likely red oak, but if you are trying to match another color it won't make any difference white or red. Consider some of the less refined shellacs such ad seedlac, garnet et al.

Regards

Jerry
 

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jerrymayfield said:
You want anything but rotary cut veneer. It is most likely red oak, but if you are trying to match another color it won't make any difference white or red. Consider some of the less refined shellacs such ad seedlac, garnet et al.

Regards

Jerry
Thanks!

A few more pieces of the plan have come together!

Ed
 
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