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!

Friday, December 10, 2021

Singer Folding Table: Finished!

It was easy to put the table back together. I only had to watch out for the left and right brackets that hold the machine in place. They are ever-so-slightly different. Luckily I had taken photos of it all prior to taking the table apart

Painting the legs was interesting. I used a box and wooden dowels to hang the legs on to make it easy to paint.

I did have to stabilize the dowels with painter's tape so they wouldn't tip. I roughed up the paint with steel wool and sanding paper. Then had to wait to let the wind die down so I could spray paint outside using a Rustoleum Black Gloss spray paint with several quick, light coats, then let dry overnight. Then I repeated the procedure. It wasn't the best of jobs, but the legs look good.

After drying for at least a day I reinserted the legs into the hinges. The hinge pins, cleaned and ready to  go along with the painted washers, are long and require two steps to get them back into the hinge.

First tapping the hinge pin with a hammier.....

Then screwing it the rest of the way with a short screwdriver. 

Next on the list of restoration was waxing the legs to give them an extra layer of protection. I used the wax I had from The Featherweight Shop for my 1935 Featherweight. They have a new type for sale now. 
 Look at how beautiful the underside of the table looks!

 But after all of this work I ended up with a problem: one leg flops when supposedly closed.....it looks exactly the same as the others that stay closed when the table is folded up.
Hmmmmm........  I screwed the hinge pin in, no luck. 
I removed the pin and put it back in again. 
I checked the curved washer to make sure it was facing the right way: check. 
But the darned leg still flopped. 
There is a spring on the hinge....The Featherweight Shop suggested the problem might be the spring.
So I compared working springs with the floppy one: no luck so far but I ordered four new springs along with some vintage machine feet the machine did not have. 

I love The Featherweight Shop! Their products are great, they respond to email questions quickly, they're a wealth of knowledge easily tapped - free of course - and they ship quickly. Putting the new spring in was a little difficult because the curled end has to fit under a very tight screw in the hinge. But I was keeping my fingers crossed that this would solve the floppy problem. Soaking the screw with 3-in-1 oil and WD-40 overnight losened it enough to take the screw out, then insert the new spring.


After I installed the hinge pin and put it back together.....the leg still flopped. Darn!

Okay, so I re-examined the 'good' legs, and they did not wiggle back and forth when folded down. The floppy leg did, so that was the problem! Too much room between the leg and the hinge frame. Off to the hardware store to buy some washers same size as the original one (the washer laying on the table bottom below). I inserted the new washer between the leg and the frame closest to the hinge pin top (where the red arrow is pointing)

and YEAH! it worked!!!!


The table is finished...thank goodness!! Here's a photo of it all set up with the 221 Featherweight "Eva" and the feet, some old Singer grease (came with the machine...only for show, not to use), her case and the instructions that came with the machine. She's beautiful!

Incidentally, the instructions that came with her are for a tan Featherweight....wonder what the owner did with the original instructions that came with the machine??
It doesn't really matter to me. The machine sews beautifully, purrs like a kitten, so I'm very happy with both the machine and table. Now on to other projects after finishing the Singer Featherweight Folding Table. Happy stitching to everyone!



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!