Treadle Sewing Machine Cabinet Repair

12 Hours
When her father passed away, my son's fiancee had the painful task of going through his belongings. When she discovered this sewing machine that belonged to her grandmother in the attic, she asked me if I could fix it for her.
We both agreed, being a family owned piece, it should remain antique looking for memory purposes.
It was missing the front drawer. (By looking inside of the structure, I could tell it was a single drawer.) It very well may have been a flip open as most were. The space allowed is narrow, because of the way the sewing machine lays when inside the cabinet.

It was also missing the two side drawers and its framework on the right.
The top cover had a lot of veneer damage, right down to the under wood. It was also age stained.
Luckily, I had some parts from a previous treadle machine upcycle I worked on:
I could utilize the drawer framework and the front from my salvaged project for the missing parts.

The not so lucky parts:

I didn't have the extra side drawers.

I scrounged around everywhere on Ebay and Craigslist for some, thinking I'd buy four to make them all match, or even just two and make them match, but didn't find the right size, nor did I have the time for Ebay bidding, shipping and repairs in time to surprise Emily for Christmas. Thinking she would appreciate having this during her first Christmas without her father, I really wanted to have it done.

After several crazy drawer ideas swirling in my head, the best one hit me, why not cut into the existing drawer frame to divide the drawers to go on to each side of the cabinet? They would be original, but modified.
I cleaned and painted the iron.
Cut off the frame work on the left.
And built the frame on the right side of the cabinet.
Added the leftover pieces from my salvaged parts: Two front pieces and a swing drawer.
Kept the machine antique by sanding and conditioning the wood. Painted the drawer pulls to match the iron.

And there was an elated Granddaughter. She loved the modification and was happy to have her heirloom restored.

Robin @ Redo It Yourself Inspirations
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  • Linda sullivan Linda sullivan on Apr 26, 2018

    i have this type of machine cabinet too . The veneer is splitting away from the top and edges of machine. How did you remove the veneer with out damaging the wood under it?

  • Emma Bowker Emma Bowker on Aug 17, 2018


    Stunning transformation through a lot of attention to detail work and of course plenty of love!

    Could you tell me how you cleaned the piece and, after sanding, what wood conditioner did you use?


  • Roger Roger on Jan 25, 2019

    How a bout just removing veneer and sanding and staining undelay. Thanks

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