Vintage Sewing Machine Table Lamps

When I upcycle a large piece I generally end up with extra parts. I don’t particularly care to throw away perfectly good material.  After finishing the pedestal sink I had the Standard sewing machine left. This thing was in bad shape but I saw some beauty in it. It is cast iron, has a lot of the original artwork on it and that over all industrial look. It was never going to be sewing machine again so I figured it would be a very interesting table lamp.

I was making this with the intent to sell and since I I’m not a fan of wasted time I picked a Summit sewing machine that was in better condition but really only good for parts, as a sewing machine.

The first step of the process is removing as much of the internal moving parts as possible. There is room for the electrical but I didn’t want the risk of electrical wires getting pinched. This was by far the most time consuming.

Next was cleaning. Removing rust wasn’t too bad. I used steel wool for light areas and 440 sandpaper for more difficult areas. After the fact it was recommended to me to soak the small parts in PV Blaster. I’ll give a shot next time. I cleaned the body with dish soap and warm water. I wiped gently with a soft rag so I did little damage to the painting.

Now for some drilling. I needed to make a spot for the lamp rod to mount and for the toggle switch. You have to use the correct bit or it can get very dangerous. Using the wrong bit can cause it to overheat. Then you either end up with a fire or an exploding drill bit. Make sure you use a bit designed for cutting through metal. I use cobalt.

The Standard was easy. The spool pin was mounted to removable plate. I removed the plate, drilled the hole, and mounted the rod with a nut. The Summit was more challenging. The spool pin was just screwed in. There was no way I was going to be able to mount it the same way. I tried a few ideas and they all failed. Then I remembered something I used when I was a kid trying to make his beater car last as long as possible. J.B. Weld, is the best metal to metal adhesive I’ve ever used. The kind I use is black which works out perfectly for what I was using it on.

Before I permanently attached the rods I coated the machines with two coats of a clear epoxy spray. This will protect the artwork and gives them nice shine. Use a lint free cloth to remove any dust first.

After the rods were mounted I ran the electrical. I use cloth wrapped wire for these vintage pieces. Of all the switches I could have used, I used a toggle switch for one reason. With a heavy piece like this I wanted that satisfying “CLICK” when used. Industrial style should have an industrial sound.

Now they are completed and for sale. If they sell, I’ll make more. If not, they are gifts for someone.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Perfect sewing room decor!


    1. Gus Tatlas says:

      Thanks! I have them in a consignment shop now. Most of the people looking at them are thinking the same thing.


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