Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sewing Machine Treadle Cabinet: Quick fix for water damage

This is by no means the 'proper' way to restore those beautiful old treadle cabinets, but it does work for minor water damage.

Most of the sewing machine treadle cabinets I've come across have a simple stain and varnish finish that is easily damaged by the slightest bit of moisture. If you set a cold glass of water on it, it's bound to leave a ring. You would be surprised how easily your beautiful cabinet top can be damaged by moisture.

But lucky for you, there is a quick-fix solution for minor water damage. Light furniture oil rubbed into the wood, quickly revives the finish. I used Walnut Oil for my cabinet. It's a sort-of food safe oil, that very slightly darkens the wood, buffs easily to a classic shine, and hardens quickly, both improving the appearance and providing a protective layer.

Since this cabinet is for my own use, I'm just going to refresh the finish and then later on, apply a couple of coats of Tried & True.




First: Walnut oil should not be used by people who have nut allergies or on wood that will be used by people who have nut allergies. There is a small chance of a bad reaction. However, there are many other kinds of oil you can use for this quick fix.

Second and most important: Spontaneous Combustion! Yes, it is a real thing. To quote from this link:

Spontaneous Combustion is one of the leading causes of fires in homebrewing operations according to fire investigators. Oily rags will burst into flames without an apparent ignition source if the conditions are right. Unfortunately the right conditions are fairly easy to replicate. Just pile up some oily rags. The oil will chemically react with the air in a process called oxidation, giving off heat. The rags act like insulation holding in the heat, letting it build up to autoignition temperatures.

So please dispose of the oily rag properly. When finished with the rag, get it good and wet and then seal it up in an air-tight plastic bag which you will then not put in the garbage inside the house, but instead, you will place it directly in the outside garbage bin.


Josiane said...

Thanks for sharing your quick fix! The cabinet of the sewing machine I've just inherited* is in perfect condition, and I'm happy to know of an easy way to fix it if ever something happened to it. :)
*(It's a lovely Pfaff class 130 bought new in the early 1950's by my grandmother, well-loved, and lovingly maintained in pristine condition by her for the past 60-or-so years. It's a very young machine compared to yours, but still... I love that the first sewing project for which it was used was my dad's diapers!)

Aliisa Koskela said...

Walnut oil is really effective,it is a good thing the you put the two very important things to note by using it,Water damage is really giving us a headache.