Restore

A new face for an old Singer table

The art of sewing runs in my family, but may or may not have stopped at me.

I don’t remember a day that my Nana hasn’t been creative. Always building and making something out of nothing. And my mom, well, she sewed her own bridesmaid dresses. Pretty impressive, to say the least. While I have yet to learn the crafty trade, I’m determined to do so, as I have big dreams for reupholstery work in the near future.

Which brings me to the reason for this post. A coveted Singer table that my Nana so lovingly passed down to me. To be honest, Dan and I had our eyes on it for a while, and were ecstatic when she said we could have it. We fall all over these type of pieces, and already had a plan for incorporating it into the house.
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As you can see, the table was in great shape, so there really wasn’t much that needed to change. But of course, Dan likes to put his own twist on things. We wanted the Singer to be our front entry table, so Dan decided to build a new wooden plank for the top, making it a bit bigger than it was. I’m convinced that his real motive was to just stain the wood darker, which is always his goal.
[We also thought about repainting the black iron base, but quickly realized that the worn-look was simply a collection of dust from all our other projects. A quick cleaning, and it was good as new.]

While this project was pretty straight forward, Dan was excited because he got to buy a new tool. In order to get the size of wood needed for the tabletop, he used what’s called a Biscuit Joiner, which helps to essentially fit two pieces of wood together. The tool is used to cut a crescent-shaped hole in each piece of wood. In this case, Dan was using a 6 ft 2×8 piece of oak that he cut in half. A wooden “biscuit,” which looks like a plug, is glued and then placed in the recently created holes.

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How the biscuit joiner works
The two boards are then clamped together, allowing the glue to dry.

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Once dry, Dan sanded the boards to make sure it was a smooth, level surface. He then used his router (another recently purchased toy, I mean, tool) to add a round edge to the tabletop, giving it a seamless, more finished look.
Now that the board was built, it was time to stain. And as I mentioned before, and something you’ve probably caught onto by now – Dan likes dark. While our floors came out beautiful, Dan still wishes they were darker. But the hard oak we were working with wouldn’t absorb the dark stain, even if we did use an ebony-mahogany mix, which should come out practically black. Through that debacle of testing stain, I came across the concept of water-popping, which opens the grain of the wood and allows the stain to better absorb. You pretty much mist, or lightly wipe, water across a wood surface, and then follow that up with stain. But Dan didn’t want to take the chance of this new method across 1800 sqft of old hardwood floors. Maybe just a liiiiittle too risky. He did, however, recently test out water-popping on two shelves that he built in our office, and it came out exactly the way he wanted it to. Now that he knew it would work, I wasn’t surprised when he decided to do the same for the Singer table. So he wiped down the entire table with a wet cloth, and let the wood dry for 24 hours.

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Water-popped wood
He then applied two coats of dark walnut stain, followed by three coats of semi-gloss poly.

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Once the new piece was complete, Dan was able to remove the old tabletop, replace it with the new. The old was held in by four screws hidden underneath the tabletop. So all it took to swap these out was a screwdriver and a bit of elbow grease.

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All it took was a quick facelift to re-purpose this Singer as the perfect front entry table of our home. Its one of the first pieces you see when you walk in, and is as unique as it is special to us.
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3 thoughts on “A new face for an old Singer table

  1. Glad to see that Dan has entered the tool race. The guy that dies with the most tools wins. Good Luck; I’m way ahead of you.

    Like

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