Sunday, 22 May 2011


We decided on Friday to go down to Devon to see Sarah, Casie and Rowan. Mad rush all day as I wanted to restore her new treadle which is a New Williams -

 The woodwork needed some serious work as there were a lot of stains and water marks. I had to strip off all the shellac polish with methylated spirit, bleach using a mixture of washing soda and hydrogen peroxide, sand down and then stain with dark oak. I got this far on Friday and decided not to polish the top as it would probably get damaged during transit. I stripped the treadle right down as it needed a good clean and was easier to transport that way, taking up much less room.

The now mostly stain free treadle top was lovingly wrapped in blankets and placed in the car, with machine and treadle parts all round, plus a drum kit and guitar for Rowan, Phil's sea fishing tackle, various plants and lots of eggs for them to eat as Sarah's chickens are only just coming into lay.

Once we got down to Devon, Phil had tea and went off to fish on Clovelly harbour and I set to to clean and rebuild the treadle irons. Had some trouble with this as some of the nuts and bolts didn't want to go back together, but with perseverance and a lot of muttering, it was done, top on and looking very nice. Another hiccup was that I had left the bottom treadle rod in the car and had to put that in when Phil came back.

Next was polishing the top and front drawer with button polish and linseed oil. While this was drying I serviced and cleaned the machine head, this included cleaning and polishing all the somewhat rusty chromeware and installing a new leather treadle belt. When this was finally done, the machine looked quite stunning. It is the first Canadian machine to be in our collections. Made in Montreal, Canada.

Another hiccup. Phil being heavy footed managed to break the wooden pitman playing with the treadle and I was not amused. The machine was now unusable until I repaired or replaced the pitman. We soldiered on and I decided to test the machine by hand cranking it.

I had previously sent Sarah the user manual so she read out the threading diagram so I could thread up and then while I guided the fabric, she spun the wheel round. This is one of those machines which run in the opposite direction to Singers which move towards you. My Jones Spool is another. With just a little adjustment on the weird top tension, she sewed like a dream. Such a straight stitch, absolutely beautiful. Sarah had earlier said this machine would probably only be used as a show piece, but now I think she will be well used for quilting.

I was very pleased with the way the restoration turned out. There was still a stain on the left hand side of the treadle top, but this was much less obtrusive. I finally gave all the woodwork a coat of antique wax polish and now it glows. I will get Sarah to take some pics of the restored top and post them another day.

All in all, a good day in Devon, although Phil didn't get a lot of fishing in because the Anglers' Car Park was shut and he was sent away from the car park near the Red Lion and told to park in the Main car park which is about 3/4 of a mile away, impossible with a heavy fishing trolley and rod bag as it is all steeply downhill. So, he came home. He did catch a small European Bass which Casie cooked with Rosemary, Thyme and lemon. Sarah and Phil said it was very nice and Phil would like to catch a bigger version next time.

We got home from Devon about 1a.m., fed all the animals, had a cup of tea and went to bed about 2 a.m. We had been up for 22 1/2 hours, What a long day! Phil, poor love had done all the driving because he enjoys it.

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