Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Singer Number 42 Cabinet

This cabinet came with the 201-2 I just finished servicing.  To read the story of how I acquired it go here:

Anyway, today I needed a mindless task. Steven had been keeping a fire going out in the shop.  It was all of 50 out there at one thirty this afternoon.  Of course it was about 9 outside so I think that was pretty good.  I stoked the stove and set to work.

The cabinet was in better shape than I remembered.  There is only one area on the bottom front where the veneer has come off. I can re-glue the plywood underneath it and stain it to match.

The top
The back

The Side

The Other Side
Front in progress

 To remove the drawers look for the hole inside the drawer.  It is toward the back between the rivets that hold the slide to the bottom of the drawer.

Place a screwdriver into the hole and depress the metal spring and pull the drawer out and over it.  The drawer will then be freed.

I don't know what kind of wood this is.  It is not a hardwood.  But it looks quite lovely now.  I stripped it with 80 grit stripping sand paper.  Then used 100 grit garnet and then 150 grit garnet.  I am calling it good.  Of course I must remove the top to make the upper trim accessible.  I won't try to get the hand hole perfect.  Just rough it up enough to accept new varnish.

 There were two big stains on the back.  Happily they sanded out.  Wilson always sits like that and just watches me. 
If I am lucky, I can do some more strip sanding on Saturday and Sunday.  Then perhaps put some finish on it early next week.  I am inclined to leave it as is and not stain the wood before applying polyurethane.  If I can get the front sanded more evenly, I will.  The palm sander is such a nice tool on the flat surfaces.  I wish I had a mini one for the tight places.  (TNWSS)

The drawers will be the challenge....they are curved.  Patience.  Maybe I can make it a meditation. 


  1. I was excited to see this post because I have the exact same cabinet (with a lighter stain it looks like) and it also had a 201-2 in it when my mother found it at a thrift store a few years ago. She gave it to me last year and I also have plans to refinish the wood.

  2. And when did you want me to come pick it up?
    (TNWSS- I laughed my arse off!)
    I love the band dark with the matching contrast; I was disappointed to find it was faked. I had it thought it was a band of contrasting veneer, not just a stained strip. Recently saw a photo of a cabinet with a metal built in foot pedal that projected just about where your shim is in the "front in progress" picture.
    The drawers not such a big problem. A dry cellulose sponge will be firm enough but flexible to conform to the shape as a sanding block.
    Keep crossing those projects off the list!!

    1. I have that model with the built in foot pedal. The two drawers in mine are inside a cabinet where the 3 darwers are in this one. Makes for a nice smooth line down the front. Fortunately mine just has a few minor scratches and cleaned up nicely. Couldn't believe my good fortune when I found about the 201-2 inside - good condition, just needs a good cleaning.

  3. Awesome! Did you just start sanding on this, or did you apply a finish remover? I can't wait to see the finished product!

  4. Nice work! I found a cabinet today but have to believe something is missing. I just can't figure our how the machine connects to the table - it seems to be missing an apartus to hold the machine in and allow it to be raised and lowered. Any photos of a view looking down from the top, without the machine?
    Thank you!

    1. Most vintage sewing machines attach to the cabinet via hinges that insert into holes in the back of the machine. Some Singers require a bracket for installation. It depends on what machine you have and what type of cabinet you have. Email me a photo of your cabinet and machine and I might be able to help you figure out what you need. Go to the home page of the blog and at the top of the page find "Contact me" for the address. To take a look at how to install a 301 in a cabinet and see some photos of that cabinet go to Your machine likely, unless it is a 301, won't need the bracket.

    2. Thank you very much for your response. I recently bought a 15-91 Centennial which is in fine shape and seems to run like a top. There's a cabinet-I believe a No. 42, in a nearby thrift store, that I hope to pick up today, if still there. It appears to be missing the two top hinges that attach to the machine. I have seen a couple hinges available on ebay so with a bit of refinishing and hopefully a couple of small veneer patches, if I can figure that out, I will have an attractive, functional cabinet.

  5. Thanks so much! I got 201-2 last weekend & couldn't figure out how to remove the drawers from the 42 cabinet. I'll be out back working now! :)

  6. I have a very similar cabinet for a 301 machine. It's Singer No. 42 desk. The electrical inside of the cabinet needs to be replaced. If I remove the top drawer, will I be able to get at the wiring to the foot pedal?

    1. I don't know. You could consider a new foot controller with a new plug and connector. Sew Classic sells them See Resources.