Restoration of Antique Singer Sewing Machine Cabinet

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Project by DuaneMac posted 02-22-2021 02:32 PM 695 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Restoration of Antique Singer Sewing Machine Cabinet
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I accepted the challenge of restoring a sewing machine cabinet that had been badly water damaged. Normally, folks wouldn’t come to me with a sewing machine restoration project, but friends being friends, it can happen. And who am I to say that I’m not the right guy to restore the family heirloom for a friend? So I said what I say, “Sure. I can fix that.” But I knew that it was quite a project.

The sad little cabinet that arrived in my shop.

The delaminated veneer and panels simply could not be salvaged.

Fortunately the cabinet below the top panels was largely undamaged, so on the bright side, my task was limited to recreating the top panels. Some clever work went into the creation of this hideaway machine, and it would take some clever work to recreate it.
My first order of business was to create two oak veneered panels. While the original was a hardwood panel veneered with oak, I chose to use modern materials for the panel core, while trimming it in solid oak. Unfortunately, I could not duplicate the thickness of original panels with MDF of standard thickness. That’s where another friend came in handy! My friend Justin volunteered to grind some MDF down to my specification of 0.585 inches using an industrial thickness sander at his workplace. It’s nice to have friends! My favorite veneer supplier sent me some very nice oak veneer.

Gluing the veneer in my vacuum press set up.

With two stock router bits and a bit of hand shaping, I came very close to the original edge profile.

The original edge profile

From this point, a number of careful steps were needed to shape parts for the hide-away.

The old is new again:

Just like Grandma would remember.

What was, and what is.

-- Duane in Utah

12 comments so far

View pottz's profile (online now)


14862 posts in 1995 days

#1 posted 02-22-2021 03:24 PM

great job saving that old beauty,looks brand new again.

-- working with my hands is a joy,it gives me a sense of fulfillment,somthing so many seek and so few find.-SAM MALOOF.

View SplashMaster's profile


297 posts in 3871 days

#2 posted 02-22-2021 04:28 PM

Looks great! My wife and I just received her grate grandmothers sewing machine and its about n the same condition. I’m looking forward to getting it fixed up just like this one. Thanks for sharing!

View Foghorn's profile


1043 posts in 397 days

#3 posted 02-22-2021 04:47 PM

Nice work. My parents still have one of those kicking around.

-- Darrel

View 987Ron's profile (online now)


386 posts in 327 days

#4 posted 02-22-2021 06:18 PM

Remember my Grandmothers, that top left drawer always had gum, candy and dines in it for us grandkids.
Nice restoration.

-- It's not a mistake it's a design opportunity

View therealSteveN's profile


7242 posts in 1585 days

#5 posted 02-22-2021 10:11 PM

Super nice refurb, that top looks great.

-- Think safe, be safe

View WoodSpanker's profile


576 posts in 4402 days

#6 posted 02-23-2021 01:00 AM

Spectacular work. Looks magnificent, it’s a family heirloom again!

-- Turning perfectly good wood into sawdust and kindling since 1990.

View BurlyBob's profile


8493 posts in 3276 days

#7 posted 02-23-2021 03:37 AM

Wow, that’s totally outstanding. Just fantastic.

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3607 posts in 4723 days

#8 posted 02-23-2021 04:35 AM


Welcome and thanks for sharing such a fine restoration!


-- “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.” Benjamin Franklin -- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


7754 posts in 3419 days

#9 posted 02-23-2021 05:12 AM

Beautiful work, and alot of it.

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View Peteybadboy's profile


3077 posts in 2960 days

#10 posted 02-23-2021 11:40 AM


-- Petey

View jeffswildwood's profile


4842 posts in 2988 days

#11 posted 02-23-2021 01:26 PM

You did a fantastic job on this. I remember my Mom had one just like that one.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way that says "I meant to do that".

View EllenWoodHead's profile


154 posts in 386 days

#12 posted 02-24-2021 05:04 AM

That is a great restoration. I have this exact machine. It belonged to my grandmother, it still works and sometimes I sew with it. These machines are unkillable and certainly worth restoring.

-- "wood" and "good" rhyme, but not "food"

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