Okay, I know many of you don’t like it when people repurpose an antique sewing machine. I don’t like to mess with family heirlooms. This new t.v. table was made from someone’s abused White Sewing Machine. My cousin Jeff brought this machine to me. He’s had it for years and assured me it had no family history.
This month’s building challenge is “Get out of your comfort zone and build something out of wood + an additional medium (concrete, ceramic, metal, etc.)”
This was definitely out of my comfort zone, so my neighbor Rodney helped out a little. Be sure to see more projects from my DIY friends at the end of this post.
Repurposed Antique Sewing Machine
This little gal has seen better days. Someone had already taken out the antique sewing machine, the drawers had been given away. In addition, the chassis was rusted and abused.
But! I had a plan!
Dismantle Antique Sewing Machine
Step one was to start dismantling the sewing machine. There are screws everywhere. Resist the urge to take a hammer to anything.
More screws to remove. This photo gives you a good look at the rough shape this piece was in, even the metal parts.
More evidence of all the work I have ahead of me! Sadly, I only kept a small portion of the wooden components. Over the years, I’ve learned what I might use and what will just hang out in storage for years.
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Seriously, I wonder why I even bothered at this point. The rusty bolts had to be removed with locking pliers.
Some of the screws were really hard to remove. Finally, I used WD40 and a strong screwdriver. I was on a mission. For this project I would only be using the left and right sides of the old treadle machine.
Tips For Dealing With Rust
What? Vaseline helps remove rust? YES! I was digging around the shop for my wire brush when I came across the Vaseline I use for distressing furniture. What could it hurt? The bottom of this machine was soooo rusty! You can see the difference it made in the two end pieces. I applied the Vaseline wit a large paint brush. I let it set overnight for good measure. Heck, I had no idea what I was doing.
I used the locking pliers to loosen the rusty wheels. The Vaseline really helped loosen the rust.
After letting the Vaseline set on the rust overnight, I hit the rust with a wire brush. Then, I used a baby wipe to remove rusty residue. Wow! Aren’t you amazed at how good the chassis of the sewing machine was looking? This is where I’ll let you know that I don’t intend on painting the chassis. I’ve painted old sewing machine bases before. I wanted a different look for this project. That will all make sense soon.
Reciprocating Saw for Pallet Demo
My neighbor Rodney gave me this gynormous heavy oak pallet last year. I knew I would eventually find a use for it. Normally I use my Duckbill Deck Wrecker to easily take apart pallets. Yeah, not this bad boy! I brought out my reciprocating saw, a metal cutting blade, and safety glasses. It quickly cut through the nails.
If you noticed all the nails, you will see why a pry bar was necessary on the middle boards where the saw wouldn’t reach. Having the pallet up on my easy diy sawhorses made this job easier.
Using my orbital sander and 60 grit sandpaper I made the boards a little smoother. I didn’t want to mess with the pretty patina too much, or remove the rough sawn patterns. But the boards needed to be safe to handle without injuring anyone.
Wash Vaseline off Sewing Machine Base
In order to remove the Vaseline from the sewing machine base, I used hot soapy water and a stiff broom.
The sewing machine base looked so much better. I was really happy that I wasn’t painting it.
Staining Oak Pallet Wood
Isn’t the board beautiful with the Walnut Stain? I used a rag on most of the board, but in some of the knots and flaws, I had to use a small cheap chip brush.
Kreg Jig Joinery
If you’ve worked with pallet boards, you know they aren’t uniform. Because of this, I had to arrange them to get the best fit. Then I marked the boards for pocket holes.
Marking the pocket holes helps you to make sure you don’t accidentally drill the wrong side of your board while doing the pocket holes.
I secured the table top (top of image) and the shelf with pocket hole screws. I stained the underneath side of the top, but not the lower shelf. The lower shelf consists of two pallet boards and a third piece in the middle that was ripped on the table saw. I’ll try to explain why below.
This is the part you really need to pay attention to. The left and right sides of these sewing machine bases do not MATCH. The holes right near the top match on both sides—that’s not enough room to put a shelf. The lower holes sort of match up, but one hole is on the outside of the base, the other is on the inside. I wanted to put my shelf right where that cross brace with the diamond shape is. I didn’t realize this until after I had started putting the table together.
How to Assemble Shelf on Sewing Machine Base
Rodney helped me find a solution. One long hurricane strap was cut with tin snips into four pieces. Each corner was snipped to make them all match. They were folded in half on a giant vice I have in the basement (no pics). The pieces were spray painted black.
All Thread Brace for Bottom
But first, let’s support the bottom of the antique sewing machine table.
I purchased a very long piece of all thread to help support and strengthen the sewing machine base. Rodney helped with this step as I was taking pictures and holding up the base.
To the outside of the right base is a washer, locking washer and nut. Repeat on the inside of the base, and the left side. The 1/2 inch all thread does not thread through the original hole, but fits snugly.
The excess of the all-thread was cut with a hack saw. A piece this size was right at $10 at The Home Depot. That and the nuts and bolts were the only purchases made for this sewing machine t.v. table.
I feel like the addition of this all thread will really help support the tv table overall. Can you see that the holes don’t line up for the middle shelf?
Attach Lower Shelf with Straps
Now it’s time to add the hurricane straps to support that shelf. Self tapping screws were used to go through both layers of the straps, cinching the straps tight around the sewing machine base. The top shelf has not been added yet. In order to make this easy, the middle shelf is supported on a work table and the chassis is sort of hanging in the air.
The hurricane straps blend right in and are barely noticeable!
TIP: use a strong magnet covered with brown craft paper to remove metal shavings. Simply gather the paper into a ball and throw away the shards, leaving none on the magnet. Genius, eh?
Secure Antique Sewing Machine Table Top
It’s time to add the top of the t.v. table. I recommend pre-drilling holes here. When you get to the end of your project, you do NOT want to take a chance of splitting this wood.
Paint All Thread Black
It just seemed like a no-brainer to paint the all-thread black, right?
Add Wipe-On Poly
While applying wipe-on poly to the boards, I got a little on the base. It made a huge difference, so I used the wet rag and quickly wiped down all the base inside and out. You may have painted it, but I’m oh so glad I didn’t paint the antique sewing machine base. I love how it looks with the rough sawn pallet boards.
Do you see how nice that sewing machine base shines now? That wipe-on poly is like magic in a can. The top boards of this piece are 5 feet long. The middle shelf boards are 4 feet long. This is for a HUGE t.v. with very wide legs.
I’m so pleased with how the antique sewing machine t.v. table turned out, and the new owner loves it too!
Now, let’s check out the projects my friends made.