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For months my mom had been looking for a sewing machine base for a project and so when I came across this 1905 White treadle sewing machine on a yard sale site I quickly grabbed it up. Most folks have heard of antique Singer sewing machines which were the top of the line in sewing machines back then. White sewing machines, on the other hand, were the more affordable version. I can’t speak for the quality of the machine itself and how it performed, but I have my great, great grandmother’s 1905 Singer Sewing machine and there’s most definitely a difference in the quality of the wood. The 1905 Singer sewing machine which I have is more ornate and has much thicker wood than this White brand.
I generally like to restore antiques instead of taking them apart and repurposing them, but this sewing machine had been left outside in the rain for years and was in extremely poor shape. The top left hand side had been sawed off for some unexplainable reason, the veneer was loose and shredding off into splintery pieces, and mold and mildew covered most areas.
Removing the base…
As I started taking the base off, I decided to salvage and repurpose any wood parts that were still in decent shape. I love old wood and the patina that comes with it, so I couldn’t imagine just throwing the cabinet away once we had it separated.
The top left side literally crumbled when it was unscrewed from the base. Apparently there wasn’t anything left holding those pieces together; however, the raised platform frame around the sewing machine was still in good shape and so we separated it from the damaged wood on top by driving a screwdriver in between the two pieces of wood.
And this is what it looked like when we got it separated:
I love the ruler at the bottom and that beautiful time worn patina.
Cleaning and reconditioning old wood…
I used Murphy Oil Soap to remove layers of grime and dirt and then I conditioned the wood with Howard’s Feed ‘N Wax which gave the wood a rich luster once again. I applied a coat of Feed ‘N Wax and left it on for about 30 minutes. All of the wax had absorbed into the wood at this point so I decided to do another coat of Feed ‘N Wax. Again I left it on for 3o minutes and then I wiped off the excess and buffed it to a nice sheen.
Making a photo collage display…
Stew used picture screw eye rings on the inside of the frame to hold the thick jute twine in place. I found the jute twine at Target’s dollar spot. I painted Small Craft Clothespins to match my kitchen and then hung up some of my favorite beach pictures of the boys.
I decided to leave the old hinges on the frame because I liked the old hardware.
If I tire of the photo display, then it will be simple to turn this frame into a bulletin board or chalk board or maybe it could hold our family calendar.
I hung the photo collage display in the kitchen underneath my favorite Shakespeare quote and next to the coffee pot so that when I’m scurrying around, getting caught up in the day to day craziness, I can look at those pictures and remember those slower days at the beach where time wasn’t measured.