Sometimes you find a sewing machine that cannot be saved, but still has some good parts to it! That’s what happened with this set of sewing machine drawers. I had seen in these in the past be re-purposed into a table.
The woodwork on these drawers is incredible. I imagined putting some sort of table top on it (the one pictured is from the sewing machine but not salvageable) and table legs on the underside. I found the perfect set of hairpin legs with L brackets that fit perfectly.
I first had to clean the drawers. I used a wet sponge for the first pass, then I used tung oil to bring out the wood color and grain. to get into the woodwork, I also dipped a toothbrush and q-tips in the oil to get to the hard to reach places.
I also decided the interior of the drawers were looking pretty dingy, so I stained it.
Now the top was the most challenging. Originally I was going to do a 2-toned look and paint a piece of wood black and actually started working on it. But I just didn’t like how it was turning out.
I had a bunch of old barn wood I had rescued a while back and decided to try that. I had hesitated to work with it up til this project because barn wood is never straight or level. I searched through what I had and cut out the straightest, most level, 24″ pieces I could find.
Without a board planer and table saw, this project is challenging, depending on the look you’re going for. It’s impossible to have the boards line up perfectly but I decided to embrace the imperfections. I screwed 2 pieces of scrap wood to the underside of the 3 planks I had cut. The wood pieces are designed to sit inside the openings of each drawer tower. Surprisingly, the top is mostly level other than some small places where the boards meet. I did some initial sanding to take the excess roughness off. With heavy grit sandpaper, I was also able to reduce the unevenness of the boards.
But still had the “problem” of the boards not connecting and leaving gaps. I have been working with epoxy resin for awhile and thought why not fill the gaps with colored resin “rivers”?
I started by using painters tape on the underside to hold the resin until it set. You have to use A LOT. I discovered that unlike my last live edge wood project, barn wood is extremely porous. So for the first few pours, the resin is disappearing into interior cracks or leaking out through the tape. But if you start with a lot of tape, you can reduce your leaking to minimal.
So I started with a very shallow pour to not weigh down the tape too much and create my first barrier to avoid future leaking. I had elevated my piece so I could continuously look under and add tape wherever I saw dripping. There are a lot less leaks as the layers start to set. (Setting takes a few hours but once a layer is partially set and can hold weight you can add another layer)
With resin, you should “over pour” and then after it’s dry you can sand it down to level with the table. This way there are no dips where the resin is.
The next part is the longest step. Sanding, sanding and more sanding! Start with a heavy grit like an 40 to sand off the excess, over poured resin. Then continue to sand in stages up to 2000 grit, (for example, 80/120/320/600/1000/1200/1500/2000). Sand the whole table top this way, not just the resin.
Your resin will look awful and scratched up with the first few stages of sanding, but as you continue to finer grits, it will go back to looking like it did before you started sanding.
Once the piece has been sanded down, I polish the resin with this 3 step polish (#3 is step 1) I got it on Amazon. Fine steel wool works best with this product.
I chose a stain that closely matched the sewing drawers and applied 2 coats. Since I was working right up against the resin, I did not purposefully stain over it, but some does get on the rivers, but it doesn’t seep into it like the wood, and it just gets a little sticky and you can wipe it off. (You can always clean it again with Novus #1 after you’re finished staining) Since this wood has so many “cracks” through it, I also used a smaller brush on the final pass and applied the stain perpendicularly to get the stain better into the cracks.
The final application is a few coats of clear lacquer.
Even though the top has braces on the underside that fit into the drawer tower, I still screwed the top on. There were already holes in the towers from when it was attached to the sewing machine, and I used the original screws.
Final step was screwing in the hairpin legs to the drawer towers.
Weeeelllll, I thought that was the final step! But I discovered after I put the legs on, that the table needed more stability along the bottom! This is part of the learning process when making furniture out things that are not! So I decided to use another piece of barn wood along the bottom. This will add an additional shelf at the bottom.
I cut it down to size and sanded, stained and lacquered it the same as the top. I only sanded with 50/80/120/240/340/600 on this one. You can sand as much or as little as you want, but sanding in these stages definitely makes the wood much smoother.
I screwed the piece of wood onto the underside of the drawer towers. This definitely helped with the stability and made a nice, functional shelf!