Thursday, February 26, 2015

Bentwood Cases

I love wood: the colors, grain, variety. It's no wonder I have fallen in love with the Singer bentwood cases:

My Singer 99 in a bentwood case with a carrying strap
Mine are not pristine but show their age with the usual nicks and dings but I try to at least clean them up. This can be a challenge because they are old and have usually been heavily used. It takes wood glue and clamping to get them sturdy again but they really are not sturdy enough to be picked up by the handle. that's why the one above is sporting it's own set of straps as a handy way to carry that supports the bottom.

I try to pick up the 3/4 sized cases whenever I can, switching sewing machines out for a better one, adding a hand crank, cleaning up in general. Who wouldn't want a cute Singer 99 with a hand crank in a bentwood case? I keep my Singer 99 hand crank on display: that's right, everyone that comes into my home sees it and says "How does this work?" and sometimes "Can I get one, too?" The answer is "Of course."

Besides the traditional Singer 99, that 3/4 version of the classic Singer 66, I sometimes find a different 3/4 sized sewing machine like this Singer 127:

Singer 127 with hand crank

It's a vibrating shuttle style, something I'm not as fond of, but they are usually older and this one was not only in good shape but the case had it's original key! Without the key you need to devise something that will lock and unlock the lid. Most of the time you can use a screwdriver that has a square or flat end, depending on the style of the lock.

Singer 99 with bentwood case in need of refinishing!

My story for today is now I found one bentwood case in two very far flung ways. Last spring, in a local antique shop, I found the top of a bentwood case, just the top. I bought it hoping I would one day find the bottom but little did I know at the time that the bottoms are much harder to find because they get all of the wear and tear. I just hung onto it, storing it with other portable cases for sewing machines. Fast forward 11 months later and someone emails me about my Etsy shop and selling vintage sewing machines. Beth had navigated to my blog and was asking advice about her vintage sewing machine parts, a new part of her shop MyVintageDiscoveries. Should she sell parts in lots or as individual pieces? You guessed it, in her shop she had a 3/4 sized wooden base that was less than a new one and so authentic. When it arrived, with a free Singer 99 needle plate and slide cover that were in very used state, I hustled it downstairs to the bentwood top...
Long lost parts - reunited!

...for a perfect fit. A lid and a top, joined together again. Well, maybe not again, but joined  for a complete set. You notice I don't have a sewing machine in it yet but I do have two or three candidates. Should it be motorized or a hand crank? Maybe both? That would be my first "convertible" sewing machine. Convertible not like cars with a top up or down but convertible with a motor or a hand crank, all under a bentwood top. Wanna take it for a drive?
1959 Cadillac Eldorado

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