Life is indeed a stitch!
Berryhill Heirlooms and Susie Gay present techniques, heirloom sewing, hand embroidery and other musings that you will enjoy and appreciate. Come and join in the fun with Susie, a Home Economist, and savor a little rest from your hectic day...and yes, it's a Degree she uses every day!

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Singer Folding Sewing Table: Take 3

The painted black edges and underside of this wonderful vintage Singer Folding Sewing Table, circa 1947, are roughed up and need repair. So I began sanding it all with a fine sanding sponge: love those things! They "squish" to get into corners, and the diagonal edges get into the corners easily. So much easier to get the job done. Next I vacuumed it all down to remove the dust, then wiped it with a damp rag and let it dry. I originally thought I'd have to fill some nicks or deep scratches but found the surface okay after sanding. Glad one job was eliminated! The blog I'm using to do my restoration, "Refinishing a Vintage Featherweight Table" has been invaluable. I purchased the correct paint (Valspar Furniture Latex Paint in black satin) available at big box stores and a really good paint brush.

I painted the underside of the table top and insert first. It didn't take long. The paint goes on looking like flat, deep charcoal paint, but it dries very black and glossy. I let it dry for 24 hours. A couple of drips ran over the already sanded sides, so I had to re-sand those prior to painting them.

Then I flipped the top right side up. Some boxes helped to elevate it to make it easier to paint the edges. I thought I would use some blue painters tape to mask off the veneer edge from the black edges, but no luck: the tape pulled off some of the varnish on the veneer. (Maybe I should have refinished the veneered top??? But our son, Chris, said it had character and to leave it! That was my excuse to leave it.) So I had to very carefully run the paint brush down the rounded edge next to the veneer first, then paint the flat edge, one side at a time.

The table top looks great after drying over night. So today I'm going to install the painted brackets that hold the machine. The center bracket is easy, but the left and right ones are slightly different so I must make sure they are in their correct places. But before I do install them I have to put the Sticky black Velcro onto the flanges that come in contact with the machine since I had to remove the old leather strips.

There are two small brackets and screws that install on the left side of the insert opening that hold the insert in place, but after looking at them I decided they needed to be sanded and painted. I laid the brackets on the plastic container I painted washers on (hence the white rings) inside a box and punched the screws into the box flap. The Rustoleum spray paint is easy to use!


The leg brackets have to be put in next....a whole lot easier than taking the hinges out! Five screws for each one...See how nice the underside looks now?
Singer always identified the various parts with identification numbers and that included the table
and the insert.
Next up on the restoration are the table legs.I can't wait to show you my finished project!!


Thursday, November 4, 2021

Singer Folding Sewing Table: Take 2

 I've been working a little every day on the restoration of my 1947 Singer Folding Sewing Table that goes with "Eva", the matching 1947 Featherweight. I have to keep working on it since it's taking up my husband's garage parking spot :) He needs to see progress to know he can park his car in the garage soon....

After removing the clamps from gluing the veneer I added some of the recommended Howard's Feed-N-Wax on the veneer to nourish and rehydrate. Then it was on to taking the table apart piece by piece.

First off was taking the legs off. Not an easy task because there is one screw (of the five) that is behind the folding mechanism and is REALLY hard to get to. I got two of the legs disassembled but had to call in my husband to get the other two off.


I used 3-in-1 oil and WD-40 to loosen up the screws. We succeeded in getting them all off and disassembled. Each group of parts were put into labeled zip bags for easy assembly down the road.

The leg hinges have hinge pins and washers, which I removed and cleaned. The washers were cleaned, de-rusted with some rust removing goop from a big box store, then painted.


Then I cleaned and polished the hinges using really fine steel wool and Nevr-Dull, a metal cleaning polish. The hinges cleaned up nicely. 
Next was removing the 3 metal brackets that actually hold the machine in place. Okay, two came out easily after a little oil soaked in. But the third bracket was a royal pain....it took 3 days of repeated oil and WD-40 applications to finally get one darned screw to budge. Never underestimate the use of lubricants, and a lot of patience, on a very stubborn screw!

Then the dry rotted leather pieces (that the machine rests on) had to be removed and will be replaced with velcro later on.

I steel wooled the brackets down, and used a very fine sanding sponge to prepare them for spray painting. The brackets were washed to remove any sanding debris and then dried in a low oven...yes, you read that right, a very low (140F) oven on a tray lined with a monogramed dish towel. I wanted to make sure no rust  appeared.


 I also prepared the roughed up, stubborn screw: it had to be filed down on the top to get rid of some rough edges, so painting it is necessary. It was also washed and dried with the brackets.

Rustolem Gloss Black spray paint was perfect for these parts, and will be used on the table legs as well. I used a cardboard box with a cardboard packing crate on top to set the brackets on and spray painted them (and the screw).


Two coats on each side and they look like new!

So far, so good. I like working on small parts first, a little every day. Next I'll tackle the black edges of the table top and the underside. Maybe by the weekend I'll have the table finished!



Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Singer Folding Sewing Table: The Start

 After restoring the 1947 Singer Featherweight that I purchased in Apex, North Carolina a few months ago (as another pandemic project) I finally am able to work on the "matching" vintage sewing table. I'm assuming Eva, the previous owner, purchased the two together, just as I did from the store in Apex. 

These were really cool, useful tables. They look like a card table when the insert is in the top, and it folds up like one, too. The top is a beautiful wood veneer, and the sides and metal legs are black. Singer made sure the folding table could be used for more than a sewing table! The photo below shows exactly how mine will look after I restore it....hopefully.


Just like "Eva" the Featherweight, my table suffered some water damage along one edge of the table top. My detective hat tells me it, and the machine in it's case, were stored in the same place together. The case had water damage in the bottom and the machine did, too. It's not uncommon to find tables and machines that need TLC because of some mishap.

After doing a bunch of research on what to do, I settled on a wonderful blog post that explains the entire process: "Refinishing a Vintage Singer Sewing Table" at Still Stitching. I made my list of supplies and was able to get most all of it (except for the black Valspar furniture paint) at my local hardware store to the tune of about $56. So to begin.......

I found a twin mattress cover in the linen closet to use for padding on the garage floor. Perfect size. I grabbed a clean rag and wet it to wipe the table down from top to bottom. Then the glueing began. 

The veneer on the water damaged side had a few places that needed glue. I squeezed a bit of glue onto one of the brushes and dabbed it in and under the veneer, then wiped away any excess with the damp rag. I had some small clamps to use, but they're lightweight for only a single, small repair.

I used cheap brushes from Dollar Tree with the Gorilla wood glue. Some of the varnish is coming up in one corner...not sure what I'll do with that just yet.
But the rest of the table top is in pretty darned good condition considering it's age of 74 years (hopefully I'll look as good at that age!!).

I found another place to glue: the left corner. But I wondered what to use to weight it down since I had no more clamps....Necessity is the Mother of Invention: a heavy cement block!!  After glueing I put some plastic film down to keep the glue from sticking to the block, and the block, from damaging the table. 

I located another small spot on the right...but what to use for this one? How about a bag of leftover fire pit glass rocks with plastic underneath. Heavy enough and again, it works like a charm.
So much for the first day of work on the Singer Folding Sewing Table. The glue has to set for 24 hours, then I can move on to removing the hinges and legs. I love bringing these vintage Singer items back to life!