Saturday, November 3, 2012

A treadle transformation

Wow, I can't believe how long it's been since I've posted. My life has taken off in some unexpected directions this year, pushing my art to the sidelines, but I'm slowly getting back to creating.

Rusty, but solid
One of the things I enjoy when participating in art shows and festivals is doing demonstrations on my treadle. Until recently, I've juggled machines around to take for demos, but I really wanted a dedicated setup that would be easy to transport. Over time I've acquired a Singer 15-30 machine that is a duplicate of my favorite for free-motion quilting, an ugly, but functional treadle top without any drawers and a rather rusty treadle base.

Here's how I transformed the base:

you can see the rust flakes
Working outdoors, I brushed all the loose dirt from the treadle. Then, using two different sizes of wire brushes, I brushed every area, removing all the loose rust. Then I rinsed it completely with water to remove the residue.

As soon as it dried (an hour or so) I began coating the entire base with a rust converter (sold under different brand names in the automotive department). The rust converter chemically converts any remaining rust into a matte black primer. It also goes on as a milky liquid, making it easier to see where you apply it.

after wire brushing
After making sure the base was completely coated, I let it dry overnight. Usually, I leave it at this, the primer makes a good looking finish for a treadle and holds up well. But because the treadle will play double duty as a vanity in my bedroom when not on the road, I decided to dress it up a little more.

I covered the Singer name and logos with paper, then set the base upside down. Using a good quality spray paint appropriate for metal, I gave it a first coat of spray paint. After it completely dried, I turned the base right side up and sprayed everywhere that needed additional coverage. I should have covered moving joints, but just avoided spraying directly on them, then made sure to move the treadle and wheel after painting.

applying the rust converter
After letting it dry overnight, I brought it indoors, then let it sit a couple more days before tackling the logos. Using a gold hobby paint, I painted the letters of Singer and the logos on each side.

One note on this, please don't take it as an endorsement to take the first treadle machine you find and start painting it up. Good quality, intact, treadle machines are getting harder to find. My philosophy is that the older and rarer the machine, the less I do with it, and I never do anything that can't be reversed to the condition I find a machine. 

after spray painting

with painted logo

I'll try to be back soon with some art!


Missy Shay said...

I like it! It is hard to decide whether or not to leave one the way it looks, or if it is bad, just to paint it and make it look pretty!

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

I knew you'd been missing, but, I didn't realize for how long. Hope all is well. It's been a crazy, busy year. The color suits you well. Can't wait to see what you do with the top. I have a machine that is missing half it's paint and the decals (what is left of them) are silvered. I'd paint her if I knew how.

Vicki Smith said...

Missy, thanks! I usually just leave it black, but thought I'd have a little fun with this one. It should get lots of attention when I do demos, too.

Cheryl, yes, things are fine. We opened a second restaurant early this year and I've been much more involved in day to day operations than originally planned.

The top is fine for sewing, but missing some veneer on the right side. I haven't decided what to do with it yet.