The first step involved unmounting Mabel and all her constituent cords, and whisking them away to the repair shop. Then I removed the leaves and doors, and most of the hinges.
The plan was to paint it, and then apply a hard clear coat, but first I needed to fill in the router holes that once held the mounting hardware for a previous machine, and a couple of exposed chip veneer areas. Because these areas receive stress, I needed to use heavier artillery than a normal hole.
WoodEpox by Abatron, a two-part wood replacement product that is worked like Silly Putty, but hardens and bonds to a high strength when cured. It was a tad spendy, but it works indoors and out, and we’ve got enough wood rot problems on the home exterior that we’ll get full value out of the purchase.
Once that had thoroughly cured, I used sandpaper to rough up all the surfaces that would get painted, and spot primed the areas that had been filled.
Oil-based paints are being phased out by paint and chemical companies in favor of environmentally-friendly formulations, and I knew I needed a surface could be top coated with a clear coat, and would be durable enough to stand up to this use. The local Benjamin Moore retailer recommended Advance paint in satin finish. I had already spent a week pondering colors, holding chips up to the machine and fabric in different light, so the choice of dark walnut was relatively quick and painless. After all those surfaces, parts and pieces were painted, I top coated it with Benwood Stays Clear acrylic polyurethane in a gloss finish. From what I am told, it will not be as prone to yellowing over time as some other formulations.
I needed to do one more thing before adding the fabric panels, and that was to cut off the existing knobs, which were pegged and glued in. If I hadn’t done that, I would have had to cut a huge slit in the fabric to ease it over the knob, and then had to figure out a way to cover up the slit on the finished door. Cutting the knob off and finding a replacement seemed the better option in the long run.
With that done, I took 1" belting, folded in half lengthwise, and glued it around the perimeter of the designated padded fabric panel areas.
My fabric is midnight pastoral, from The Alexander Henry Fabrics Collection. I’d originally seen a bolt of it at my local shop when I had no appropriate use for it, and it was gone a week later when I did. So I ordered a couple of yards from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley, California.
After measuring, remeasuring, and measuring again, I cut muslin to size adding 3" to length and width to be folded under, double-checked against the cabinet again, then cut the final fabric.
I sewed the muslin to the back of the fabric to give the weave more density.
|A comparison of the fabric over batting, with the muslin (left) and without (right).|
Two thicknesses of polyester quilt batting was set in the bed I’d earlier created with the belting, then I carefully began stretching and securing the fabric over the cabinet using upholstery tacks - making absolutely certain the fabric was oriented correctly to the cabinet, of course.
Half-inch twill applied with hot glue covers up the tack heads. The replacement knobs are from Hobby Lobby.
There you have it, Mabel before:
All in all, my free machine and cabinet only cost me around $300—but her new attitude is priceless, no?