Monday, June 30, 2014

Before the After

I've always enjoyed the before and after photos of home improvement projects so I will share a bit of my latest. A Pfaff 130 sewing machine came in a wonderful art deco cabinet that had already been stripped of its original finish:

Doesn't look too bad like that so I sanded, used wood conditioner, gave it a light pine stain and then I saw how much of the original finish was still there. Ugh! It was like paint in every part of the grain that I could only remove with coarse steel wool and wire brushes. I got the top leaves and surface free from this old finish but didn't have the heart to get every little part this pristine. Here's the result with an additional chemical strip, natural stain, and 2 coats of semi-gloss polyurethane:
I wasn't totally happy with it but knew if I would put all the extra hours into it I could never get a price that was equal to the time. I also like to get a cabinet to the place where it is functional with a nice smooth surface that is very durable for sewing so my choice is usually polyurethane. The seat is  not totally done in the next photo but you can see the chair with drawers for additional storage:
My plan was to put a Necchi BU into the cabinet because the Pfaff was an electrical nighmare and the finish on the Pfaff was pretty far gone. After lugging the Necchi into the garage to put it in place, I found out the hinge pins were way too large to fit into the Necchi:
This is a pin/post after I spent too much time filing it down (and it still doesn't fit). I try other cabinets to see if I could trade the hinges out but there are problems with every single one of them. So I go to bed a bit discouraged but I can usually find a solution when I've slept on it.

The next morning I find a photo of a post on Facebook Vintage Sewing Machines group that I really didn't want to see:
This is how the cabinet looked when it was relatively new, coming into the hands of one lucky lady for about the same price I paid for mine. Of course, the Pfaff 130 is in good shape, too. I could have cried: all my work and it will never look like this one. Okay, there are some chips on the finish down on the bottom, but my antique piano had those and we thought they were charming. I will have to sleep on it for more than one day before I can find an agreeable solution to this before and after.


Anonymous said...

Hi, My name is Buddy, My mother inherited a Pfaff sewing machine in the exact art deco cabinet. My mother passed away and it's in her estate. Now we are trying to put a value on it to sell. Can you give me any idea of it's value or how I can attain one? Thanks!

Karen said...

This is always difficult because it depends on the market where you live and the condition of the sewing machine and cabinet. You can check ebay for the sold listings (use advance search). Check Craigslist for your area to see if any are listed and what they are asking. If the sewing machine is in good cosmetic shape and still runs, then it's worth at least $100 then add the cabinet and the shape it's in. I would guess the worth is between $50 (poor shape) and $300 (excellent shape) but that will vary by location. I'm in the midwest where the prices are lower! I think you could have it appraised, too.

Unknown said...

Great work on a cool score. I got one of these fabulous cabinets around the same time as you, but it had a 230 stashed away & an ugly dull beige paintjob I'm still not at leisure to do away with... I can only hope to get mine anywhere near as nice as yours someday (slate grey stain in the plans).

Debra Brinn said...

Hi there! I have enjoyed your blogs regarding this piece and I just found out about its existence a few days ago. I am trying to purchase one right now (without the machine though) and have been researching as much as I can. I noticed you had a brochure for the Hollywood model and wondered if you happened to have one for this California? The closest I could get on the dates is 1930-1960. I am completely enamored with this cabinet and it reminds me of the furniture that used to be in my Grammas house! Of course her sewing machine was an old singer with the foot peddling treadles so it was WAY COOLER! I have to consider functionality in my home so this was that WOW factor lol! Anyways, thanks for listening!

Karen said...

I do have a scanned photo from the Pfaff brochure! I can't put it in this reply box but either send me your email or I can write a post and include the photo.

Gayle Farr said...

The original colour of these cabinets is from This cabinet is mid century modern era, mid 50's to mid 60s. Its considered one of the better stains and is much coveted amongst collectors. Blonde wood was very popular in this era and has held its value. It is not Art Deco but a very real Mid Century Modern Cabinet. The cabinet was given a light wash and then a satin finish was applied in several coats. Beautiful cabinets, I have both this one and the smaller one for the Pfaff 30, plus a treadl3 31-----all have the same finish and it is really striking.