Jim Cox
Jim Cox
  • Tutorial Team
  • Springfield, MO

New Top for a Treadle Sewing Machine Table

5 Materials
$30
45 Minutes
Easy

Putting a new top on an old sewing machine that had already been repurposed once

new top for a treadle sewing machine table

I found this sewing machine table / plant stand in my neighbor Cathy's back yard when I was over helping with something. It had been outdoors and neglected for years. She loves plants and decorates the outside of her home for most every holiday, so I got her husband's permission to give it a quick work over, thinking it might make a nice plant stand.


When I went to grab it the existing wooden top came apart before I could even get it home!

new top for a treadle sewing machine table

First I knocked off the dirt with some green Scotch-Brite and gave it a coat of Rustoleum Semi-gloss black. Not really trying to restore it by any means, just hoping to slow down the rust. I already had the can of spray paint, one of those things I keep around.

action shot ;)
action shot ;)

The screws holding on the old top were rusted and had to be cut off.

new top for a treadle sewing machine table

I measured the width of the top and cut cross braces from a deck baluster to fit. Whenever you angle cut a board you get a long side and a short side. I cut this with a 45° at each end simply for looks, with about 1/2" of overhang for attaching boards as needed.

new top for a treadle sewing machine table

I measured the length of the sewing machine frame and added 6 or 7" for the length of the top. The frame is really heavy (cast iron) but I didn't want too much overhang that might cause it to tip

new top for a treadle sewing machine table

I cut three pcs 5/4 deck board to length, and then centered the cross braces. A tape measure helps keep them square. Measure at each end and on each side to make sure you get it right. Don't worry about those rough edges, we'll take care of them ASAP.

new top for a treadle sewing machine table

I gently clamped the top boards together with a clamp (I bought this for the barn door project. It's handy to have around). Attach the cross braces with outdoor 2" screws.


(OK I cheated here. I had a bunch of 1-1/2" screws on hand so I countersunk holes and used them instead)

new top for a treadle sewing machine table

Finally I turned the treadle frame over and attached it to the underside of the tabletop. It turns out the frame wasnt' as square as my tabletop, so we had to add some elbow grease in the form of a clamp to make things line up. Next time: Measure BOTH sides ;)

new top for a treadle sewing machine table

I squared up the ends and removed the rough edges with a cheap power planer ($35-ish). You could use a belt sander or plain sandpaper if necessary.

new top for a treadle sewing machine table

I took a router with a round-over/radius bit to the ends to match the sides.

new top for a treadle sewing machine table

Finally a quick sanding of the corners to get rid of the sharp points.

new top for a treadle sewing machine table

Here it is ready for a quick coat of clear deck stain. I alredy had the deck stain on hand.

new top for a treadle sewing machine table

And finally best pic of all, my neighbor Cathy. I snuck the table back over to her porch Sat nite 5/11/2019. She came out and found it just in time for Mother's Day. (She had been thinking about putting a new top on it herself) Here's the best part: I didn't know the old sewing machine originally belonged to her mom... so this was a huge hit for the holiday!  . She says this is where she'll have breakfast when the weather is nice.



Comment if you have ideas to improve for the next one or to make it easier for someone else

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Heidi Morton
    on May 19, 2019

    So very sweet! What a dear neighbor you are. Thank you for sharing; and thank you for being the kind, caring person you are. The table turned out beautiful.

    • Bonnie
      on May 26, 2019

      Absolutely! What a wonderful thing to do! U R Awesome!


  • Lisa Fauerbach
    on May 19, 2019

    Beautiful job and a lovely gesture!

    • Pat
      on May 27, 2019

      Awesome renovation for your neighbor.

  • Dka27519972
    on May 20, 2019

    Great job! Did you also use some kind of sealer to keep the base from rusting away?

    • Pat
      on May 27, 2019

      I have done 3 of these. Two are Singers like this one is. One is a junkyard find that is held together with bailing wire.

      One good spray job with black (I used glossy) lasts a good 15-20 years. The beauty of black is you can touch up dull spots without any cleaning effort. (Be sure to use a rust inhibiting paint like "Rustoleum" though). For the tops on mine I went to a building and supply store and bought ready made table tops.

Join the conversation

2 of 131 comments
  • Pamela
    on May 27, 2019

    I am in aww of your kindness. God bless you for being such a great person .

  • Nancy
    on Jun 3, 2019

    I've been trying to figure out how to redo an old beat up treadle base. Thank you for showing a great way. You made it look so easy.

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