Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sewing Machine Base

A reader asked me how I made the base for my Kenmore Sewing machines without having to notch out for the hinge screws.  I promised an explanation.

 The first step is to determine how long to make the end pieces.  It was easier on the Kenmores because there is enough room under each end to allow the pieces to fit completely under the bed.  Likewise there is plenty of room under the front edge on the Kenmore so that the machine was supported on three of four sides.  Thus the back piece just butted up against the back. 

Not so on this darling Brother Zig Zag.  There was enough room under the bed on the front end but the butt end only allowed about 1/4 inch of overlap.

So I figured how much length I would need for the end pieces using the front end as the template.  Turned out it was 6 and 5/8. 

I cut two of those and tucked them under the machine bed on either end.  I then took two longer pieces and placed one in the front, tucking it under the bed as far as it would go.  I merely lined the back one up along the back edge of the bed. I lined each one up flush with the butt end.

If you notice in this photo, the knot on that back board will land right where I want to drill a pilot hole for the screw.  I, therefore, marked only the front board and cut it to length. 

When cutting your material, it is wise to leave just a smidgen of the pencil line showing.  That way you know that you haven't cut too much off.

Using the front board as my template, I marked the back board accordingly, moving the knot in a bit and giving myself some room to drive the screws where I needed to. 

I dry fitted the boards and laid them out flat on the work bench
Then I applied Elmer's Carpenter's Wood Glue to the articulating surfaces fitted them together and clamped them in place.  See where the knot ended up?
I then drilled pilot holes in each end
And drove the screws in.

I was then able to remove the clamps.  The screws will hold everything in place while the glue dries.

The base did not support the machine so well because there wasn't enough surface area on the two ends and the front.  I made a brace for the back to support it between the hinge screw holes.

I cut a small scrap of wood that was just the right depth
and screwed it to the back of the base.

Here it is, with the primer coat on it.
 And here it is, holding the machine
I am hoping that the screws are countersunk enough to allow some fill with the "plastic wood" wood filler.  I bought a huge batch of it.  Cheaper that way. 

When comparing this base to the Kenmore bases, I noticed how much smaller it was.  Sort of just the right size for a Singer...

Now, back to to the treadle base project.....


  1. So glad you turned up with my nightly virtual venture in sewing machine land!

  2. So glad you turned up with my nightly virtual venture in sewing machine land!

  3. Do I understand that you don't use the hinges at all? how does the machine stay in the base when you pick it up? BTW you are brave to use the table saw. I can't even stand to watch someone else use a table saw!

  4. thank you, thank you, thank you! I have need of bases but am of the era when girls took home ec and boys took shop and never the twain did meet. I've been too intimidated to even try but now I am empowered. did I say thank you enough?
    Cheryl Warren

  5. Have you tried to sew on the machine with the bases? I have a kenmore that I took out of a cabinet because I didn't have room for it. It seems "tippy" now that the machine is out of the cabinet. I was going to try to make one of these for it since it would be about $40 cheaper than than buying a carrying case for it!!! I really like this idea!! Why do you use the glue and the screws? aren't the screws enough to hold it? thanks, ann from KY

    1. I have sewn on the machine in a base. It helps stabilize the machine but it is difficult to get to the bobbin area. I don't mind that, though.

      I use the glue because it will make it stronger. In reality, you don't need the screws, according to my carpenter husband. If I had enough patience, and had not wanted to build many at a time, I could have just waited for the glue to dry (overnight).

      I made these mostly for display. I have many machines that I want to display and this makes them look uniform and, well, tidy.