Treadle Update

Treadle Cabinet

Completely Refinished

After we brought home the old treadle, my husband immediately started taking it apart.  The belt was rotted, the machine head just covered with years of crud, and I would not have the legs inside my house.  So he worked in the garage.

The laminate on the back of the machine was about half gone, and pretty badly warped.  My husband decided he couldn’t save it.  So he removed the remaining bits and pieces and used  them to carefully splice and replace the pieces of laminate that were missing on the top (a few small pieces) and inside the top (many, many pieces).  The back is a now a new piece of veneer, which doesn’t completely match, but was necessary to give stability to the rest of the top.  And by using the remaining laminate from the back, he made the top to match as closely as possible to front, sides, and top.

As you can see the finish on the wood was overly dark, dry, stained in places, and just ugly.  You can see on the inside of the top (second picture) that the laminate was completely gone in places.  The whole thing was probably 6 months away from being unsalvageable.  The lower right drawer had no “stop” and would slide way back into the cabinet.

Over the 4th I took a trip out of town to visit my daughter.  My husband did some sanding, bleaching, staining and varnishing, as well as cleaning the treadle legs.  I am now ready to bring the cabinet inside the house and we’re going to see if the machine sews at all.

Top — Untouched cabinet
Second — Open top.  Note the black spots on the lower right, the missing veneer on the inside of the top
Third — Refinished Cabinet
Fourth –inside of the top.  Veneer splices are visible since the back was so badly damaged, but such an improvement from the big gaping holes in the veer before.
Bottom–The refinished top.  The veneer splices here were smaller.  Dare you to find them.


7 thoughts on “Treadle Update

  1. Wow, Nancy, he did a beautiful job!! Now if only the machine looks and works as well as this. At the least, you will have a beautiful piece to display! Great job!

  2. Lifted veneer occurs most often at the corners of tabletops, on cabinet and dresser edges, legs, and drawer fronts. If the loose veneer is undamaged, it can be reglued.

  3. Your husband is doing a great job. Old veneer can be reattached by ironing using a wet towel between the iron and the wood. But it will give off noxious fumes so it needs to be done outside well ventilated (and maybe with a respirator mask). Using a paintbrush you can oil the wood, especially the insides of drawers and cabinet–with lemon oil. A cabinet might take a pint or more over a month. Does wonders for the dry wood. Are you going to soak the machine head in kerosene? I love to play with old machines!

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