Singer Cabinet No. 40 project - reveal

>> Monday, August 25, 2008

Today I finished the last step of refinishing the sewing cabinet. It felt slightly rough after the first coat of polyurethane dried, so I sanded it all over with 220 sandpaper and brushed on another coat. This is what it had suggested on the can.

And it worked really well. Sanding created a bit of a whitish dusty look (which I wiped clean with barely damp paper towel) but it felt much smoother and after the 2nd coat of polyurethane dried the surfaces felt very smooth and nicely finished. I've varnished things before and never bothered to do the "sand between coats" step but I admit now that it really does make all the difference.

So now the cabinet is done and I can show it off. It really doesn't seem like that much work when you look back, it was just sort of frustrating at the time doing the stripping but I think I have the hang of it now. But it's a reminder that I wouldn't really want to try anything more ornate, or too big to rinse in the sink!

As I mentioned luckily it was really only the top that was damaged so the rest is still the original finish and in nice shape. This is the back view:It's funny because in the craiglist picture it really looked worse than it was. Also, the sides were up in the photo and one panel seemed to be sagging. I thought the hinges might need replacing and even had a quick look on ebay and found some listed. But when we picked up the table and moved it, a metal rod swung out and it turns out there's a support for the larger side panel that tucks into the table when it's not in use. And the hinges are in great shape and look practically new.

This support swings right out - there's a felt pad on the top

I used a cream-with-tan-stripes upholstery cotton (a sample square from the Textile Museum sale) to re-upholster the bench. I chose the light colours because it just lightens up the whole set which is a bit dark. Also it matches my new/vintage Bernina sewing machine - but that's a topic for another post. Here's a glimpse of the inside of the bench:
This is the table with the sides out and the drawer open. I didn't refinish the inside of the two side panels so they're not perfect but the polish with mineral oil spruced them up quite well. I did refinish the little panel in front of the sewing machine, so you can see what a nice match the stain was to the original finish.
I'm so glad that the cabinet turn out so well. As I mentioned it would have been less trouble to wait for one in great condition to turn up, but then again it's very satisfying to take something that's been a bit neglected and bring it back to life. Also it was a bargain at $55.

And don't forget that includes the sewing machine inside. That's been brought back to life too, I'll show that next post. Thank you for the comments!


Kerry August 25, 2008  

It looks just beautiful! I'm looking forward to seeing the machine inside, AND the Bernina. Will you be putting the Bernina on this cabinet, or do you have room for both in your sewing area?

Claire Louise Milne August 25, 2008  

Thank you Kerry! It's a little complicated, I wasn't going to keep the sewing machine that came with the cabinet, I really just wanted the cabinet but I've read more about the Singer inside and now I think I will really like having it.

So the Bernina will sit on top while the Singer is inside. It still means I have two machines tucked in one small corner of the room, which was the original goal as I don't have a dedicated sewing space.

sew nancy August 25, 2008  

What a lovely cabinet and great job with it. I love what you do with furniture.

I'm already jealous of the Bernina.

Nanette Merrill August 25, 2008  

Vintage restored - I love it. Its really beautiful.

Anonymous,  August 25, 2008  

My grandmother sewed on a Singer with a table just like this one. The machine was always out, never folded away. I learned to sew on it, in fact. I was fascinated by the knee lever that made it run, and by the little drawer in front. She just kept bobbins and a few stray buttons in it, but I searched it every day for little treasures.

HomeMadeOriginals August 25, 2008  

Great job on refiishing...I think my Mom had one of these.

Jo (sparkly green knickers) August 25, 2008  

This is such a beautiful piece!

Anonymous,  August 25, 2008  

You did such a beautiful job! I have been following your posts, amazed with each step, and now - the final transformation. It's absolutely magic... but I can also see that it was hard work. This is such a treasure!

Anonymous,  August 25, 2008  

gorgeous refinish!!! I've got a vintage sewing cabinet in the basement that I've been meaning to refurbish for awhile now. you've inspired me!! :)

Anonymous,  August 26, 2008  

wow, this is an amazing project claire. you have done such a good job. it's actually really hard to get such a good, even finish on a project that has any age, especially to get it looking so much like it would have originally. and you've reported this so brilliantly as well - i can't wait to see the sewing machine inside!

Hurrayic August 26, 2008  

Looks great! Do you think you could drop by and visit? I have some things that needed refinishing ^_^. It really came out well. Very satisfying, I'm sure.

Michelle August 31, 2008  

I think you've done a really splendid job with this! And the bonus is it looks absolutely beautiful! Well done.

Jess October 20, 2008  

What a beautiful sewing table.
I am feeling a little nostalgic now, i just gave away one of these because I had 4 sewing machines and I needed to pare down.
Mine was just like yours, now I miss it.
I guess I will have to live vicariously through your sewing adventures.
Great blog! I am a fairly new reader.

Anonymous,  January 05, 2009  

Hi there, I believe I have the same machine/table. Do you happen to know the model name/number of your machine, as I trying to order a manual with threading instructions etc.
Thanks for your help!!

Je Me Souviens May 28, 2012  

Hey sarah I have the same machine too. My grand-mother gave it to me. I was looking for the manual instructions but I didn't know the model number only serial number written on it ! If you have some, may you send me a copy ? thanks for your help

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