Saturday, August 20, 2011

facelift for an old sewing cabinet

Back in April, I thought I might go ahead and finish the star quilt on the Singer 301.

Then I took took out the Singer 201 and changed my mind.
The Singer 201 is, as you may have guessed, the predecessor to the 301, manufactured primarily through the 1940s. It also came in handcrank and treadle versions, and in later years with an aluminum body—but the steel body with the potted electric motor is probably the most common. It is large and very heavy, not even close to being portable. It was meant to fit into a solid wood cabinet.

This 1947 electric is my old favorite, found a thrift store for $60 and somehow hoisted, cabinet and all, into the back of a minivan with two small children in tow. That's what infatuation will do for a person. This is a machine with exceptionally pretty lines.

But as thrilled as I might be with the machine, I could never deny that the cabinet looked rough. The finish was scratched, water-stained and dried out. I'd always meant to spruce it up, but didn't get around to it until last spring. All that procrastination, and it turned out to be a quick and straightforward weekend project.

First, a trip to the hardware store. This paint sample, although purplish in hue, was a perfect match for the face frames.
Dr. Woodwell took care of the rest.
"Dr. Woodwell Wood Elixir" sounds a little like snake oil, and the website looks like a midnight infomercial. But I have used it on a few projects over the years, and it is a genuinely wonderful product for cleaning & revitalizing old wood.  

Thus we went from this
to this
And from this
to this
The machine head, though it has nicks and chips in the expected places, is timelessly gorgeous. Like the 301, it sews an exquisite straight stitch with a quiet hum.

Time for the last push on the star quilt.

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