Monday, April 26, 2010

My Treadle: Restored

I finally finished restoring the old treadle sewing machine I bought a couple of months ago. After doing some more research, I no longer believe it's a Davis made machine. Instead, it appears to be a US-made machine (possible a Free model) that was purchased by the Canadian based Raymond Sewing Machine Co. who made modifications to the design (such as the very Canadian maple leaf and shamrock decals, and the bobbin winder). There don't appear to be any records kept to date my machine based on the serial number, but extensive researching and the advice of several antique-sewing-machine-savvy individuals I've been fortunate to chat with online leads me to believe it was likely manufactured sometime in the 1890's. It's surely no younger than 1916, when Raymond sold to White Sewing Machine Co, who moved the company to Cleveland, Ohio.

I love that it's a Canadian machine! As many of the vintage sewing machine enthusiasts name their machines, I've decided to name her Marie-Colleen. "Marie-" on account of my Acadian-French-Canadian heritage (the maple leaves), and "Colleen" for my husband's Irish roots (the shamrocks).

Now, onto her restoration. This was a pretty time-consuming process, but it was well worth it for the gorgeous sewing machine I've ended up with. I didn't want to completely refinish the cabinet, since the original finish was in pretty good condition. I started out with a bit of carpenter's wood glue and some clamps to fix some loosened veneer in a few places. Then it was time to clean it up:

I started by clearing out a decade's worth of dust and sunflower shells (presumably left by a previous mousy tenant), then cleaned the entire cabinet with a solution of Murphy's Oil Soap and warm water. That was followed up by a rub down with some Trade Secret Scratch Remover for Dark Wood, which effectively covered up the worst of the scratches and stains and helped blend in some places where the finish had lightened due to sun exposure. There are still some bits that look less than perfect, but I prefer it to look "old and well cared for", rather than brand new. I finished it up with a good polish with Old English Lemon Oil, to give it a nice sheen and to protect the wood.

Also in line with restoring the cabinet were the treadle irons. These were rusty in spots, and had many areas with large portions of the original paint completely flaked off down to the bare iron. So, with Jeff's help, I completely took the irons apart and repainted them with Tremclad Rust Paint. Here they are after getting a primer coat, looking positively ghostly:

The cabinet before having any work done:

And after being restored:
Now, the machine itself was also in pretty decent shape. It had a layer of dusty grime coating most of it, and the metal bits had a fair amount of rust. The rusty bits I scoured with some super fine grit sandpaper and sewing machine oil, then once the rust was gone I shined them up with some metal polish. Then the inside workings got all the accumulated lint brushed out, everything sprayed with some liquid wrench to losen up the caked on old gunky oil, a dozen sheets of paper towel to clean that up and then fresh oiling on all her moving parts.

On her outside, she got a thorough cleaning with mild dish soap and water, which removed the layer of dusty grime. Then she got a coating of TR-3 Resin Glaze. This is a product which was often recommended by vintage machine enthusiasts online, and which I had to have an American friend buy for me and ship up here because it's not sold in Canada:

After that dried and got a good buffing, I gave the whole outside of the machine several rub downs, over several days, with sewing machine oil. And there you have it. Like I said, a lot of work, but totally worth it.

Before:
After:
Before:
After:
Before:
After:
*sigh* Isn't she beautiful? And she sews such a gorgeous stitch, too. I'm hoping to have some treadle-powered sewing projects to share really soon.

I also think I'll post a couple of how-to's sometime in the next couple of days. I had a bugger of a time finding directions anywhere on how to properly thread a top-leaf-tension machine. Now that I've got it figured out, maybe I can help someone else out with my new knowledge.

10 comments:

  1. Wow! Beautiful machine and great restoration job. I just restored my husband's grandmother's treadle, so I know how much work that was.
    happy treadling,
    Cheryl (a newbie Onion)

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  2. What a beautiful machine! I might have to get some of that TR3 stuff. I keep hearing them talk about it on TreadleOn.
    I have a 27 treadle and I would keep it just because it is a very smooth working machine. Mine is very ugly and all the decals are worn, but it treadles like silk. Must be well broken in!

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  3. I am restoring an old treadle but some pieces are missing such as the bobbin. I have been trying to identify it for years and I came across your photos because of the Maple Leaf note. Mine is almost identical to yours - same treadle but on the machine it has Wingold B. (looks like hand-painted on) where yours says Model C. Also, on the legs where yours has Model C, this one has three circles (no name brand). It has the same circular decal with the Maple Leaf on the base and decals on the front are the same. I'm so excited to finally find a machine that is close to mine. Do you know any more details as to who manufactured these?

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  4. I have just resently purchest the same machine. And was wondering if you could send be some information on the manufactuor and its history i have a searial number it is 25634A if you could shed some light on it that would be grat thanks

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  5. Hi Naiomi! Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of information to be found about the Raymond Sewing Machine company online. There's a short but interesting article at:
    http://www.library.guelph.on.ca/localhistory/gallery/industrialsouvenir/raymond/raymond1.htm

    Other than that, I haven't been able to locate any records pertaining to serial numbers or anything else specific. The best I've been able to identify mine was via the NeedleBar forums, where another member has one very similar badged "Beaver" which was a Raymond machine. My machine also had a needle in it when I got it stamped Raymond. I'd love to see a photo of yours!

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  6. hi im having trouble uploading my pics but it is identical to your must be raire i have asked so many antique shops and restoriers aboy it and they have no idea naiomi

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  7. I just bought a singer dated 1892, I really don't know where to go without hiring an appraiser. It's in great shape with a lot of original stuff with it. Any suggestions?

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    1. Hi Liz :) I'm going to be perfectly honest and tell you that probably 99.9% of antique sewing machines aren't worth a whole lot, in monetary terms. Depending on the market in your particular area, most treadle machines are realistically only worth between $50-$200. There are some decals that are more collectible/desirable, ditto with some of the cabinet styles. For the most part, though, there were millions of machines made and so the majority aren't as rare as a lot of people think.

      If you're looking to sell yours, I'd suggest looking at your local online ads (Craig's List, Kijiji) and seeing what other similar machines are being sold for. Watch over time to see if the higher listed machines are actually selling. That should give you an idea of what you might reasonably expect to get for yours if you want to sell it.

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  8. First time I commented in a blog! I really enjoy it. You have an awesome post. Please do more articles like this. I'm gonna come back surely. God bless.

    Rica
    www.imarksweb.org

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  9. Hey I have the exact same Model C maple leaf sewing machine! I've had it for over 25 years after getting it in an antique market. The leather thong had disintegrated but was spliced and wrapped with thread to make it circular for the wheel. Mine came without needles, do you know what needles I can use for it?

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