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.


Treadle Project

Treadle Cabinet
Treadle Cabinet
Treadle head. New Ideal R
Vibrating shuttle bobbin
Treadle foot pedal

A couple of friends of mine visited this week–well, we spent a little time together, but mostly they came to attend a treadle sewing machine gathering, not me.  Saturday morning my husband and I went to take a look at what they were doing.  I can’t say I was bitten by the bug, but I did find it interesting.  I remember sewing on my great aunt’s treadle machine.  I’m not even sure why I had to use her machine.   I was in grade school, I think, perhaps doing a 4-H project.  But I digress.

So I came back home after visiting my friend’s  treadle group and pulled up Craigslist and found an advertisement for a treadle sewing machine for $50.  There were other treadles–from $200 to $800, but no, the bug hadn’t really bitten that hard.  So I looked at the $50 one.  When I talked to the man he said it was his grandmothers and that he had stored it in the basement for 25 years since she passed away.  The last two weeks it was stored in a carport wrapped in a tarp (ugh!), as he had to put it somewhere while moving.  When we looked at it, I have no doubt that the man’s account was true.  The laminate on the top has some cracks and bubbles.  Not sure if that can be saved.  The laminate on the inside cover of the top definitely cannot be saved.   The laminate on the back is mostly gone.  If it was laminate.  Well, the back looks awful, regardless.  The head looks like it has been dipped in grime.  And the treadle legs and pedal are so dirty that I cannot tell if there is any paint left under them.

But we decided to buy it anyway.  When we told the man we wanted to actually make it sew again, he knocked it down to $40, because he said that’s what he always wanted to do with it.  Maybe it is worth more.  Maybe it isn’t worth that much.  I don’t know.  But we thought it would be interesting to give it a try and see if we can salvage the cabinet at least.  Make we can make the head sew again.  And $40 wasn’t a huge investment.

The head does appear to be intact–including foot and bobbin shuttle and bobbin.  The bobbin still has green thread in it.  The hand wheel turns easily, as does the foot pedal mechanism.  The belt is still on the machine, but it is no longer intact.  The little wheels on the bottom of the cast iron legs turn freely.  If anyone knows anything about the New Ideal R (made by New Home, I believe), please let me know.  From a little internet surfing last night and what he told me, I think it may be anywhere from 1920-1935.

My husband has done some furniture refinishing before, so I thought he might like a challenge.  I figured at worst we are out $40.