How to refinish my singer sewing machine treadle head

Written by vernelle nelson
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How to refinish my singer sewing machine treadle head
Refinishing a Singer treadle head wakes up the whole room. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Locating a Singer treadle sewing machine at an estate sale, antique dealer, auction or consignment shop can be a real find. But what if the treadle head is scarred and scratched so badly you wish you had never seen it? Cleaning the treadle head and restoring it to its original beauty can take several days, but the time and effort are well worth it because the end result is a beautiful showpiece.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Screwdriver
  • Canned air
  • Tweezers
  • Soft rags
  • Dental picks
  • Lint brush or small toothbrush
  • Cleaning solvent
  • Machine oil
  • Spray lubricant
  • Car wax
  • Warm, soapy water
  • Kerosene
  • Laundry tub

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  1. 1

    Remove the treadle head from the cabinet.

  2. 2

    Use canned air, tweezers, dental picks and a lint brush or small toothbrush to clear away thread snips, dirt and lint from the bobbin case, feed dogs, throat plate and gears.

  3. 3

    Get rid of layers of built up dirt and grease by soaking the treadle head in a tub filled with enough kerosene to cover the machine. Loosen rust and caked on grime by allowing the treadle head to remain in the kerosene soak up to a week.

  4. 4

    Remove the treadle head from the kerosene and clean it off with a clean soft cloth and warm, soapy water.

  5. 5

    Take off the throat plate and bobbin case and inspect it for stray thread snips or stray pieces of fabric. Remove them with tweezers, a lint brush, small toothbrush, dental pick or canned air.

  6. 6

    Use a spray lubricant or a cleaning solvent to remove caked grease remaining around gears and belts.

  7. 7

    Lubricate moving parts and gears, with machine oil then wipe away the excess oil with a clean, soft cloth.

  8. 8

    Replace any brittle or broken belts.

  9. 9

    Polish your refurbished Singer treadle head with a thin coat of car wax.

Tips and warnings

  • Some people prefer to skip the kerosene soak and wipe the entire machine down with spray lubricant.
  • Restore your Singer treadle head's original beauty with paint or decals.
  • Do not attempt to scrape off rust or caked on dirt. Doing so will leave permanent scratches on the surface of the treadle head.

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