3.22.2013

Singer Sewing Machine Wood Base Tutorial

UPDATE 1/2014: I made another tutorial with step-by-step pictures of building process that includes the side cubby and full dovetail joints.  See it HERE.

Chances are if you have an old sewing machine and you have the original case, the base looks something like the one in the picture above (bottom).  It's probably falling apart and may even smell bad.  I bought a sewing machine last month and it came with the old base pictured above and I was going to *attempt* to save it.  I pulled off the old vinyl covering that was peeling off anyways and discovered that underneath the wood was cracked and the glue holding it together was dry and brittle.  The old base inspired me to make a much better, stronger version of itself.
So far, I've tried this base with my Singer 201-2, Singer 66-16 and Singer 15-90 and it works on all 3.  Not sure about other brands or models but you can make your own measurements according to your machine.
Compare the corner braces, wood thickness, etc of the old base vs. new base.
Here are the supplies I used, along with wood clamps, table saw, drill and router (for the base with cubby hole).  I used 5mm plywood for the bottom of the base, premium 3" pine board for the sides and trim pieces for the corner braces.  I wasn't planning on posting this project so I didn't take pictures of the building process.  I cut my wood pieces, glued and clamped them together, drilled holes for my screws, countersunk my screws into the wood and used nails and glue to attach the plywood base.
 Next I glued my trim pieces and set them in each corner.
Nailed the corner pieces on for extra hold.
Put wood filler in screw holes and any cracks or gaps.
Sanded to perfection.  This picture shows the back side of the wood base where I screwed the pieces together.
 Next I made the holes for the hinges.
Cut out a notch where the hinges exit the wood.
 I used the hinges off the old base and bought some mirror hardware for the tab that keeps the machine secured to the base.
I cleaned and painted the hardware to match.
 Drilled holes for hinges...
...and the part that holds the machine down.
Lookin' good!
Shrink wrap tubbing was a great find for me.  I didn't want metal-on-metal with the machine so I cut a piece of tubing and heated it to shrink to the hardware piece that would be up against the machine.
Next I stained and put a polyurethane coat on the entire surface and used a 220 grit paper to smooth everything again.  Adding the hardware was the last step!
Love how the character of the wood comes through.
In case you didn't notice, I made a simple base and one with a cubby hole on the side.
 Measurements for the smaller base.
Measurements for the larger base.
 Love how it looks!
 Your machine should have screws that tighten to hold onto the hinges.
  The cubby hole is great for keeping attachments close or you can put your pedal in for storage
The machine flips up easily on hinges for cleaning.  The base also dampens the sound of the gears when the machine is running. I hope this post comes useful to someone out there looking to make their own sewing machine base.

UPDATE 11/2013: I just made a bunch of bases but instead of using old cabinet hinges for the back I just used 2 of the metal clips to hold the machine to the base.  When you do it this way you don't need to add the board on the back of the base for the extra width to accommodate the large hinges.  I also did full dovetail joints instead of screwing the pieces together which gives them a great look and it's a true sign of durable craftsmanship!




16 comments:

  1. That looks sooo nice! You are so ambitious, unbelievable!

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  2. Dani, you are my hero! This is exactly what I need!

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    1. Ronnie, if you're interested I have 2 of the larger brown bases and I grey smaller (without the cubby on the side) if you wanted to buy one. The bigger one is $50 and the smaller is $40 (plus shipping). If you'd like to see pictures or get more info e-mail me at danicarby@gmail.com. Thanks!

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  3. This is wonderful! I have a Singer 99K (a 3/4 size machine) that is in a cabinet and I would love to get it out and into a base like this. Would the bases you have fit a 99K, do you know?

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    1. Hi Alexis! I've updated the post with some pictures of measurements for the 2 bases. I'm pretty sure your machine would be too small to fit in these bases. If you take measurements of the base of your machine, how deep you need your base and the distance between the holes in the back of the machine for the hinges (this measurement needs to be EXACT) then you can easily design a base off of those measurements.

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  4. you did a beautiful job on your bases. I've attempted to build a couple as well from this site:
    http://www.treadleon.net/woodshop/buildingbases/buildingbases.html

    Their recommendation is to have the posts slightly shorter than the box sides which allows the machine to sink into the box. Just high enough that the bobbin plate still slides off. That worked really well.

    I had a lot of trouble trimming that post opening. It was a mess. I'm going to have to try your method. And I love the mirror hinge method you used.
    This will definitely be 'pinned' for future reference! :-D

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  5. I have eight Singers that need bases so I can display them together. Thanks so much for this tutorial.

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    1. Did you end up making any bases for your machines? I'm interested to hear how they turned out!

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  6. these are wonderful - thanks for your great tutorial !!!

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  7. Yes! I knew it could be done! Every machine that I've purchased online with a case has had significant damage done to the case, and I may or may not be able to repair at least a couple of them. Plus several came without bases, and I have a 15-90 and a 500 Rocketeer on the way with no bases. I've been looking on evilBay and Etsy for just cases and they are way too overpriced and usually look pretty shabby. Plus who needs a cover if you want to be able to look at them as well as use them? I don't currently have access to the tools for dovetailed joints, but that's fine, the screwed versions are beautiful! And I'm really liking that option of just using the mirror clips without the hinges, I will try that way first. Thank you so much for this post! (And thanks Ramona for the link to the TreadleOn bases, too.)

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    1. Carolyn.. did you end up making bases for your machines? If so, how did they turn out?

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  8. Do you have any left? I have a 66 with no base.

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    1. I'm sorry but I don't have any right now

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  9. A wonderful idea. I have my grandmother's old sewing machine table and would like to take the machine out for display only.

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  10. where can I purchase the hinges for a singer 15-90 so I can make a box like this ? are all singer hinges that look like that the same size ? thanks

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    1. I've bought a few pairs off eBay.. Just search for "Singer sewing hinges". For the most part they're all the same and should fit.

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