Sanding my new old Singer sewing machine treadle table

Since I inherited my granny’s sewing machine I have the need for threads in my stitching machine, I am no professional stitchery artist but I have managed to pick up the basics to make something from some old fabric or some old clothes.

Anyone with a sewing bug must also dream of an old fashioned singer treadle table, right? I managed to persuade a friend to give me this one, found in his outhouse, left from a previous owner. The machine and table had been in the outhouse, it was full of cobwebs, dirt and dust and the top of the table looked like it had paint spilled on it, nevertheless these tables and singer machines are built to last so I started my google search of how to restore a Singer, can you sand an old singer table etc. In the end I decided that chalk paint wasn’t going to do this old hinny  justice so I got the sander out (eeeeeeekkkk). I had to clean the singer and treadle table first, a bucket of soapy water did the trick (well a coupe of buckets; it was filthy). The pictures below show how bad the top of the treadle table was after I had cleaned it all up.

Because the top of the table was so bad, I started sanding with some coarse sandpaper (grade 80 I think) I might also want to point out that I’m not a professional DIY expert and I’m not an expert at upcycling furniture; this was a little experiment that could have gone either way…

After sanding with the coarse sandpaper I moved on to a medium sandpaper (grade 120), and then a quick hand sand over with a  finer sandpaper (grade 100). I hand sanded the legs- they didn’t have as much damage as the top of the treadle table. You can find cheap sanders online easily, like the one from amazon here Black + Decker KA310 240V 240W 1/3rd Sheet Compact Sander

I’ve never actually varnished anything before, but I headed off up to my local DIY shop and had a chat with the lovely lady how suggested that I used a tough polyurethane clear gloss varnish. I bought a Ronseal Ultra Tough Hardglaze one. The reason for the ultra tough varnish is because I’m actually going to be putting my sewing machine on top and use the treadle table as an occasional table/ desk rather than use the sewing machine. The polyurethane varnish was harder wearing than a water based one. (what do I know? I took her word for it!).

I have put a couple of coats of varnish on the treadle table and I am amazed at how lovely it has come up, I couldn’t quite believe that the marks on the top had all sanded out and the varnish has really brought out the wood grain. I have to admit that I’ve only put a couple of coats of varnish on and the tin tells me to sand with fine sandpaper and apply a final coat (honestly I’m not going to do this). The singer table looks lovely and I’m happy with my upcycling efforts and my singer table restoration is perfect for me to use as an occasional table. The singer machine on the inside still needs some attention… but that’ll be a restoration project for another day.


Singer treadle table after restoration
Singer Sewing machine sanded and varnished
Before and after restoring my singer sewing machine treadle table
Singer sewing machine table

Black + Decker KA310 240V 240W 1/3rd Sheet Compact Sander

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