Apr 25, 2014

1927 Singer Sewing Cabinet Restoration Pt. 2 - Beware What Lurks in the Shadows

I could also subtitle this:

 "Why disassembling a project prior to restoration is not such a bad idea, especially if it's easy to take apart, has been in storage a long time,  and is really really dirty with lots of crevices that are hard to clean"

But That's a lot to type and it doesn't fit so nicely on the page, besides, 

"Beware What Lurks in the Shadows" 

has such a nice ring to it.

Any who, I just know there is some one out there who has read part 1 and has thought to themselves.  

"What a waste of time!  
"That top is the only thing that looks bad. Why on earth is she going to take that whole cabinet apart?  She could  work on as it is and it'd look just as good!"

I know this because the same thought went through my head for a second.  
Followed by:

"Yep, I could do that!  But...... "

 But, there are a few really good reasons to disassemble this piece before I start restoration.  

  1. It's got lots of crevices, and it's filthy in those crevices.  I can't get it really clean as it is.  Most of the pieces are just screwed together, so it comes apart and should go back together pretty easy.
  2. It's a learning experience. I can see first hand how the fastenings and mechanisms work.
  3. Working on individual pieces, I'm less likely to accidentally drip the denatured alcohol (which will dissolve the shellac) somewhere it doesn't belong.
  4. The most important reason! I can easily check for things I wouldn't find other wiseThings like hidden damage, 
or these guys:

Talk about a monster case of the Heeby Jeebies! 

It's true, I dropped my tools and took rather large and swift step back when I saw the first one.  I probably gasped a little too, and I don't feel a bit ashamed about that!  After all, this cabinet spent some quality time in an attic before it saw the inside of my house.  In these parts it pays to be wary of things that have spent a lot of time in cellars or attics.

A prod with the screwdriver confirmed the spiders weren't alive.  I continue to take things apart, finding more "dead spiders" as I worked, but not without the nagging feeling that something seemed "off" with my new friends.

So I took a closer look.  Then I saw it!

It's legs are sticking straight out!
Spiders usually curl up when they die. 

Those aren't dead spiders, those are shed spider skins!  

I quickly Goggled "shed spider skins" and scanned the pictures. 

Hmm, those look an awful lot like the ones here on this page about how to identify brown recluse spiders. 

A shiver ran up my spine and my skin began to crawl at the thought.

This cabinet was sitting inside my house for at least a month before I started to take it apart! 

I scanned the floors expecting to see hoards of creepy crawlies marching toward me.  

Whew!  Cat hair, dust, and plenty of crumbs, but no spiders.

Once the panic subsided and rational thought returned, I decided the spiders were probably long gone before the cabinet even got to my house. 

I also realized my floors are filthy and need a good cleaning.

Up Next: 
Pt. 3- Disassembling the Cabinet

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