Wednesday, September 16, 2015

She's the Queen

Apparently, I'm into Queen Anne these days. Let me clarify that: I'm into Queen Anne cabinets along with their matching stools. It all started with a friend finding a Singer 15-90 in a Queen Anne no. 40 cabinet that was almost being given away. It was a pretty nice piece, sewing machine and cabinet, so I decided it would be worthwhile to refinish the cabinet. Although it turned out spectacularly, it didn't have the matching stool. <sigh> It was so near to being complete. I had another Singer 15-91 with the beloved potted motor for gear to gear action but the cabinet didn't get refinished and maybe I was feeling just a little guilty yet I just can't refinish them all!
Singer 15-90 in cabinet #40 Queen Anne (refinished)
Singer 15-91's cabinet #40 (not getting refinished)
Imagine my joy when I found another Singer 15-91 in a Queen Anne cabinet with a matching stool for a give-away price. Why? It was missing the power cord so they didn't know if it worked. I made an appointment and went over after work to check it out with a spare power cord in hand. You bet it worked even though it was a bit dirty and cobwebby underneath. The cabinet's horizontal surfaces need help so I hope to get them refinished but the vertical surfaces are in great shape plus that stool so I don't think it's going to be too big of a job. Nice weather is running out here in Minnesota and that garage sale is closing in so I have to hurry!
Cabinet #40 Queen Anne's top closed

Cabinet #40 top open: she's gonna take some work!

While talking with the sellers (isn't there always a story behind these sewing machines?) I find out it was one of their mother's and she died eleven years ago. They certainly didn't know how many years before then it was idle but it was safe to assume it sat quiet and lonely for a couple decades. They were glad I knew what to do with their mother's sewing machine and it was going to sew again because she made all their clothes and it had seen much use. Well, it was in such good shape I had to wonder about that but maybe she didn't wear a watch to scrape along the bed or use a pin rag on the arm to leave pinpricks. The decals are clear and intact and the bed is in excellent shape. Humm. They also had a piano they couldn't give away so the man of the house spent several hours earlier that day breaking it up into pieces and hauling it out of the basement to the dump. At this I tried not to think too far ahead to when my family would find my possessions so much crap to dispose of, but we have a family piano that I hope never gets busted up for the trash. Vintage sewing machines: trash to some is treasure to another. I'm going to make these beauties priced low because they should be used and used daily. Weekly. Monthly? I'll settle for often.
Singer 15-91 before cleaning
I try not to be too snarky but when you see the initial condition of these marvelous sewing machines and cabinets and then how great they look in the end, it's not without skill and a time investment that gets them to this state. Am I going to sell them for only $20 more than my original cost? Probably not. Am I going to charge an exorbitant cost just because they are antiques? No. They are working vintage machines that need to be used and I've brought them into that usable condition and provided a clean smooth work surface. If you would like to do that work yourself you can easily buy sewing machines on Craigslist as I do and save yourself some money. Don't have the skill or interest in repairing them? Come to me and I can find one for you but they aren't going to be nearly free. Yup, it's your choice. I would love to teach classes on how to do what I do but it's not practical and then who would buy my machines? Ah, we are all in this together, huh?


Anonymous said...

I lost the arm to the cabinet of my vintage Singer Model 15-90, do you have any idea how I can get it replaced? Mona

Karen said...

About that arm: do you mean the metal piece that swings out when the top is opened up? I don't think you can order one except to get one from another cabinet. Maybe you could substitute a piece of wood the same size?

Unknown said...

I just purchased one for my machine. I could have sworn there was a wooden piece below the machine when folded inside. However, my husband got it home and it wasn't there. Is there supposed to be one? If so is it easy to replace?

Karen said...

This can be a bent piece of wood that is to keep oil from the machine falling onto your dress or stockings (oh so long ago) and they are easily lost. Not at all necessary and it's possible you could fashion one of your own. I have several out in the garage as I write!