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Topic: Re-finished a sewing machine cabinet  (Read 799 times)
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AmyLynn98
« on: November 23, 2014 07:41:02 PM »

Just a few days ago, I finished my second piece of furniture: a Domestic Sewing Machine cabinet. I got it in late 2013, when a friend's roommate dropped it off at my house. It lived in the garage until tonight.



This is what it looked like when I got it. The roommate was getting rid of it because it took up a lot of space in the garage and he didn't have time to refinish it like he wanted to. He actually got this from someone who was going to throw it out.

It's mahogany. Once the lid was opened, the polyurethane or clear varnish on it, was flaking off. There may have been water damage at one time, on the top and down the center of the back.

The machine inside was a Domestic Rotary machine, series 153. The piece originated in Cleveland, OH and was built sometime in the 1950's. 


I used Behr Marquee in an eggshell finish to paint it. The "outside" (lavender) is Composer's Magic (from the Opulence color line), and the "inside" is Prussian Plum (from the Dynasty color line). Behr advertises the Marquee paints cover in one coat, guaranteed. I didn't find that to be the case, as I needed two coats of each color. However, maybe that's the difference between coverage on drywall and on wood.

Because I wasn't going to keep the machine in place, I measured out the top opening and got some 3/4" thick plywood and a bunch of brackets. I flipped the cabinet upside down, cut the plywood to fit inside the opening (thankfully, this was completely square) and bracketed it in from the bottom. Now, it's solid all the way across. I'm pretty sure I could sit on that part of the cabinet and it would support me!


Yep, that's actually argyle printed Duck Tape on the cabinet. I picked up a couple rolls of it when I worked at AC Moore. I knew I was going to find a way to use it with this project...because really, who doesn't like argyle? It actually is on the top and bottom of the cabinet, on the front, back and sides. I didn't put any on the top front though, because I liked that expanse of lavender when the drawers are closed (see above photo). I actually put 2-3 coats of Minwax clear polyurethane over it, per some advice from my father-in-law. That tape isn't coming off anytime in the near future!


I bribed my friend with supper to help me lug this thing upstairs from the garage to my crafting room. I put the drawers in and the top pieces on after we got it up here. I decided to swap out the original drawer pulls with some new Art Deco inspired glass knobs. I did reuse the original hinges and screws on top though. I used spray primer and paint to redo those. For some reason, the handles didn't like that paint and dried very unevenly. I thought that was odd, because I did them all at the same time and at the same temperature.


Inside the drawers, after they were painted, I sprayed in about 5-6 thin coats of Minwax aerosol clear polyurethane. This was leftover from a previous project (which was also the case of the silver spray paint I used for the hinges). Then they each got an additional two more coats of poly brushed on. I wanted to make sure the inside of the drawers were very well protected.

I realized as I worked on this piece, that with the plywood insert on top, this would make a great little desk for a kid, or even a simple desk for an adult. Or if you worked a little longer with it, you could fit a mirror to it, change the top pieces around, and turn it into a vanity for a girl's bedroom. It's definitely a versatile piece of furniture.

I took my time with this refinishing and I'd wildly proud of how it turned out. There were places I should have gone a little more lightly with the poly, and you can see them if you look closely. But this is a solid piece of furniture that I'll have for a long time.
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2014 06:00:09 AM »

First of all...wow...what a fantastic job you did!  All the extra work you put into it really keeps the quality level high!  I just love how fun you made it with the color and the tape! 

Second, this could not have been posted at a better time for me...as my sister is bringing me a similar piece gifted to me this summer from one of her friends!  ha ha I just laughed when I read that your piece also had a few owners before it made it to you!  I guess the crafty ones get all the hard pieces in the end! Grin

I know my piece will sit in the garage for a while, but now that I have seen what you have done, I am inspired and motivated to at least dream of what it will become.

Thanks for posting your whimsical and very functional piece of furniture!
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Taramor
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2014 06:23:28 AM »

You have done a great job.
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AmyLynn98
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2014 05:42:54 PM »

Thanks so much! This was my second piece of refinished furniture. The first was an old pine or oak bench from the same friend. This is what I've learned while working on this cabinet:

--Strip the wood first, and then worry about the sanding. I did it in reverse with my little bench. Smiley It smoothed out the wood but it makes it harder to remove the stain.
--When you are using the wood cleaner to remove the stripper residue, it seems to work better if you pour it on the wood directly, let it sit for a moment and then start wiping it away. Think about using it the same way you apply wood stain. The stain I removed here turned very thick and goopy and sticky. Rubbing it off by hand didn't do enough.
--When you are using the wood cleaner to remove sawdust after sanding, apply it with a rag. If you pour it on like you did to remove the stripper, the wood takes on a white/ashy look when it dries. At least, this old mahogany did.
--Make your local dollar store your best friend. Get yourself a plastic or silicone basting brush and a dough scraper, as well as rubber gloves. I got a Betty Crocker brush and scraper at my local Dollar Tree for applying and scraping off the stripper, and they were AWESOME!

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Check out my posts on Geek Crafts or at amylynn98.blogspot.com/
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« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2015 05:57:42 AM »

This is a uber awesome makeover!  Your creativity and colors have made your desk a unique piece that will last for years.   Thank you for the tips too!
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