Picked up a beautiful #48 Singer Cabinet But…

The title of the this post pretty much says it all. I got a beautiful #48 Singer sewing cabinet! But…. The but = Mold. Yuck. It appears to be basement mold, and as far as I can tell it’s NOT black mold, but I’ve never seen black mold either so I don’t know….

This cabinet was provided only with the Singer 201 machines according to ISMACS. There aren’t too many pictures of this cabinet as being owned by people on the internet which is odd considering how beautiful it is! I provided a few pictures of what I ran into when I started in on the cabinet with a flashlight. The cabinet is currently sitting in my front hallway.

I took the things that came inside of it and put them all in zip top bags, because I’m sure I will need to figure out how to treat that stuff too. I found evidence of the fuzzy white stuff on paper packaging and some wooden thread spools. The machine came with an old election card, and a card for the Singer Sewing Center that must have been by the original owner. There were keys in it too, but I can’t find any areas where keys might lock something. (and more.) I’d like to clean this stuff off and keep it with the cabinet since the stuff tells the history of the cabinet.


Click on an image to enlarge. Picture 4 is the least blurry in a close up I think.

The above pictures show what I ran into… Looks like white fuzzy mold, probably from being stored in less then ideally dry conditions… These pictures are areas I couldn’t see just looking into the cabinet casually. I took the First and forth picture by just sticking the camera under a place in the cabinet and snapping a picture. The Forth picture also shows the “major” damage on the cabinet. That shows the missing last drawer I didn’t see was gone until I started snapping mold pictures…

This is the other “major” damage I found pictured below… a missing front knob.


Other then the surprise mold I am very happy with the cabinet. I need to find the best way to get this stuff off that won’t damage the cabinet. I plan on scraping the bulk of the mold off with a old toothbrush outside. Some information I found before posting this said to take a bucket of 50/50 bleach and water to the cabinet….. I want to check in with the Vintage Singer group first so I don’t ruin the beautiful cabinet. It’s about 20-30 degrees F outside and I’m not sure if rubbing warm bleach water on what will quickly turn into cold wood will be harmful either!

I need to find some instruction on how to remove the foot pedal from the inside of the cabinet too, it looks like there is a lot of mold around it, and probably under it, since it’s so tightly pressed onto the wood…. I can hope that the pedal can be salvaged, but from the looks of the crumbling wiring, and the conditions this was stored in I’m not so sure…

If anyone has any ideas on the mold, and cleaning it, I would appreciate it.

Also, if someone can identify the wood this cabinets veneer may be made of I’d love to know.




4 thoughts on “Picked up a beautiful #48 Singer Cabinet But…

  1. Lorelei says:

    I picked up one of these off craigslist last summer. It was terribly mistreated but refinished up nicely. I had one of the swing drawers missing also and am surprised there seem to be so few of these out there. I have not tackled the 201 that came with it. Its pretty rough.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Cheryl says:

    I had a treadle with mold on it. I used Murphey’s Oil Soap, and rubbed it really hard. You might need a second application.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Arild says:

    …oohh, and keep it in a dry heated room, it will stop all mould caused by dampness.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Arild says:

    Very nice cabinet :- ) With furniture in general you start with a microfiber cloth wringed up in soapy water. It’s usually fine, but even milder is plain water. Then something more abrasive on the metal parts of not all mold and dirt come off (at least non-showing parts). There are all kinds of polishes and oils to improve older finishes like this. If it’s pre 1930s it will likely be shellac, if it is later it will most likely be cellulose type of lacquer. Around this time cellulose type lacquer was introdused, and it is a period of overlapping techniques. If it is 50s and later it might be acrylic or even polyurethan.

    Liked by 1 person

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