Sunday, June 7, 2015

Treadling to Haiti

From an earlier neighborhood garage sale, I bought a Franklin treadle in a cabinet that needed work. It needed to be further stripped and sanded (one drawer still had its finish on?), then got a coat of stain. I wasn't sure what kind of a finish it would need since it was going to Haiti to live in a climate much different than ours. My son-in-law, Eric, directed me to Woodcraft of Minneapolis where I would get good advice. He was right: a very knowledgeable man explained why shellac would be hard to apply due to fast drying, antique oil finish would not be hard enough and take maintenance,  and regular polyurethane would alligator (those fine lines and cracks in the finish) over time due to commonly used wax in the formula. Then he recommended a water-based polyurethane that did not have wax in it so it would be easy for clean up, less odor, and none of the alligatoring on this fine old piece of wood furniture. I went home with a can of General Finishes Semi-Gloss for the best finish ever. It was easy to use with a foam brush, soap and water clean-up can't be beat, and the product looked great. The first coat was so smooth I didn't want to sand before adding a second coat but it was recommended so I did. I also gave it three coats just to be sure it was well sealed and would last a long time. Here it is finished:

Now to install the Franklin head back into the treadle cabinet. From the time I took it out of the cabinet until now I have forgotten exactly how it was in there. Did I take photos? That would have been smart; I did not. The more I fiddled with it the more parts came off in my hands until I finally had to call in the troops: my husband came out to help and help he did. The cable was disengaged and he found where it should be hooked:
Photo of cable on top: you will have to trust me on where it attaches underneath
Then there was the problem of the front panel that is supposed to pull up as the sewing machine moves into the upright position. We could see where a strap of metal had been attached but that spot was shot so we repositioned it lower (this is all up under where no one can see it or work on it):
Note missing top layer of wood on right
All looked good so I placed the head back into the cabinet:

Franklin treadle all ready to go
Before
At the sale
Refinished
This gives me great satisfaction, to see it go from almost non-functional to a completed sewing machine that will be used daily in Haiti. Ellen: it's all ready!

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