Asked on Aug 10, 2018

What materials do I need to redo this incredible sewing machine?

by Ter33140837

We inherited this sewing machine from my mother-in-law and would love to restore it. Ideas? The wood siding has peeled up and the metal is rusted.

Sewing machine in need of restoration

  15 answers
  • Landsharkinnc Landsharkinnc on Aug 10, 2018

    WOW!! that's a LOT of damage ... take it completely apart; save all the hardware - hinges, etc. ; remove the veneer -- this is not repairable IMPO; you'll have wood underneath; as damaged as this is, you may be better off stripping it with Citristrip; restore the drawers - they are probably Dove tail joints, be very careful with them, you don't want them coming apart. The cast iron legs, treadle, tension wheel-- and if the belt is still there -- it sould be a wrapped cord -- handle with care.

    A wire brush and 'elbow grease' will go a long way in removing old rust -- but is the word 'SINGER' still has ANY gold paint on it, be very careful what you use to clean that area ...

    Good Luck!! we'd love to see it when you've restored it's original beauty!

  • Tinyshoes Tinyshoes on Aug 10, 2018

    It truly is a great piece but needs lots of work! I would remove the veneer and sand well also cleaning and standing the metal that is rusted. Vinegar is good for removing rust. Good luck!

    • See 2 previous
    • Joanne lueke Joanne lueke on Sep 11, 2018

      Yes, remove the rust and then Rustoleum makes a fantastic paint for metal in a ton of colors and finishes. Wash the vinegar solution off completely and use a fine steel wool to scuff the surface of the metal, clean that off with a tack cloth to remove any dust. Then spray paint with Rustoleum Spray Paint for metal in a black, either matte or gloss finish. Might take 2 or 3 light coats (to avoid drips and runs) letting each coat dry between coats and you are done. If you have the metal wheels that are not smooth rolling a squirt of WD-40 will take care of that. Best wishes.

  • Myr8816833 Myr8816833 on Aug 11, 2018

    veneer can be replaced. please do not sand it down and loose the original finish , It can be wiped sown with Murphys Oil soap, To loose the original is a great loss. the metal can be wiped down with a rust remover and then with a light oil. Try to keep it as original as possible with your Mother in law in mind.

  • Sandra Sandra on Aug 11, 2018

    I feel that it is gone as it sits. But if you take the two sets of drawers and attach them side to side beside each other and remove the metal legs and attach them to the out side of the drawers and then place the top hinged wooden top turn it upside down and attach it you will have a great unique and still remember able piece.

    • See 2 previous
    • Sandra Sandra on Aug 13, 2018

      I was thinking of less hours and money to work on it. But still have the important parts and use of it. But your way would always work if that is not an issue.

  • Veneer can be purchased in strips rolls or sheets.

  • Deb Deb on Aug 11, 2018

    I redid one similar to yours and in about the same rough shape. For me, I decided to just have the whole thing sandblasted to take it down to the wood and metal, removing the rotten veneer and all the rust. Used a regular wood stain and black spray on primer/paint for the metal. For the detail work on the drawers I used artist oils thinned with turpentine to make a wash. Sealed it all with a couple coats of polycrylic. Since I wasn't trying to keep any of the original finis, etc., I had a box made and attached it underneath. Now when i open the top I have storage (use it as a vanilty).

  • You are so fortunate to have inherited such an amazing piece of history! Landsharkinc is right on the money! I have had training in metallurgy I can't stress enough how acidic vinegar is on cast iron, use something designed to clean metal

  • Cla5042570 Cla5042570 on Aug 11, 2018

    Veneer should be removed and replaced with sheets of veneer that can be purchased at your local Lowe's or Menard's type hardware stores. All you need is a a clothes iron to apply it. Then stain back to the original color. If the wood stains aren't an exact match, all wood stains can be mixed together to get a perfect match. I've restored old antiques for years and the only thing holding you back is your imagination. Vinegar and 0000 steel wool will clean up that metal beautifully. Then preserve it with a clear coat or Tung Oil. Tung oil will also be a great finish on your wood. It is a beautiful treasure you have. My brother trashed my mothers that sat in her bedroom for years. I was so sad to lose it. Best of luck

  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Aug 11, 2018

    Sentimental family pieces are always beautiful no matter what condition they are in. If you don't want the cabinet, remove it, restore the metal base and add a marble top or a thick slab of walnut or chestnut. It would make a wonderful family heirloom to pass on. If you keep the cabinet, do the repair work right. You'll be happy you did. Best of luck.

  • Elaine Elaine on Sep 11, 2018

    some of the veneer looks salvageable most looks broken. Less of a headache to remove and replace. If you’re going to put new veneer on, you’ll need a roller, caulk, clamps and weights of any kind, or a vacuum veneer press. It looks like you might have mold. You’ll need to dry out the wood before any repairs are made. Just let it sit where you’re going to work on it for a week or two. It looks like white paint has been on the cast iron, you will have to remove it. A good stiff brush to clean the metal before applying any rust remover will let you know how bad it is. I am 58, we have my Great Grandmother’s Queen treadle machine. White oak and white oak veneer. It has a leather belt. all I used on it was antique improver, and antique clarifier. I like the smell of the improver. Don’t use Murphy’s or the antique improver until you’ve applied any finish, they both contain wax. But I am with Landsharkinc, remove the sewing machine, remove the cast iron stand and the boxes. It’s easier to take apart and repair than trying to repair together. Clean and repair as needed. I would not take anything apart that didn’t absolutely need it. For instance if the slide out boxes are still together, just clean them up.

  • William William on Sep 11, 2018

    Not incredible, just old and in terrible shape. To restore it for family memories. Remove all the veneer. Sand all the wood smooth. Stain or paint the wood. Depending on what the secondary wood is. Wire brush the rust off the cast iron. Use Rustoleum 2X spray paint for metal. Value about $75 to $200. Parts are worth more than complete machine. Cast iron base alone worth about $150. Sewing machine about $75 to $100. Many people repurpose the cabinets to other uses and parts as decorative items in house and yard.

    What some other Hometalkers did.

  • Brenda Lofton Brenda Lofton on Sep 11, 2018

    Veneer is very expensive. Lowe's does not stock veneer but manager in building dept. said $50 to $75 per roll about 8 in. wide.

  • Joanne lueke Joanne lueke on Sep 11, 2018

    You can buy enough veneer to do your entire machine online for Less than $75.00 and have some leftover, if that is what you want to do. They even sell it on Amazon. And you can buy a leather belt for the treadle online (Amazon even carries them). Lots of videos (Youtube) for refinishing, applying the belt, etc. If the machine itself is in good condition it's worth the work and cost. I inherited a mint condition Singer treadle machine from my mother, who inherited it from her mother. We all used it, and now I have handed it off to my oldest daughter who I know uses it and will keep it in mint condition. It will be worth the hard work just as a keepsake. You go, girl!

  • Deb K Deb K on Jan 05, 2023

    Hello, hope this helps you out.

  • Mogie Mogie on Jan 05, 2023

    This is a very detailed project and unless you have done this before and are comfortable with that I would hire a pro to do this.

    If you want to completely restore this to the original condition that would involve hand paint lettering back onto the piece.

    The lettering would be a make and model and other info but that really requires someone with a very steady hand.