Most knitting busbar bending machine or benches are made of metal legs attached to a chipboard or particle board top, OK when first built, but machine knitting is a vigorous sport and particleboard does eventually degrade.
The majority of cases show that once removed, the folding legs are quite OK. Only a little surface rust and scuffing from the occasional boot (when things weren’t going well). A light sanding with some fine grit sandpaper to smooth it all out and also fine roughing up of shiny surfaces give the new paint something to stick to. Spray paint for metal with a rust inhibitor built in, will provide a longer lasting finish.
TIP: when applying spray paint, follow the directions on the can, they always say apply light coats. It works, you get a much better finish from many fine coats than from one thick, running coat.
With the table top being chipboard or particle board, and probably from the Dark Ages, it no doubt has swollen, flaked, disintegrated, broken, lifted etc. if you knocked on it, more will fall off, if it weren’t for the structurally sound floral wallpaper on the top surface, the knitting machine would have ended up in someones lap years ago. Throw it out, you can’t restore it. Melamine sheet, also called whiteboard (its the white, laminated on each surface material typically used to make kitchen cupboards), is perfect for a new knitting machine table top. Laminate is hard wearing, non porous and easy to clean. Suppliers of this sheet type of material, usually have the means to cut it to any size you require, just take in your measurements!
After seeing a few different tables with knitting machines still attached, surely improvements can be made to new tops. The fact that knitting machines are a very narrow item, means the typical table for them is also narrow. Obviously a machine knitter way back said “just make me a narrow table for my knitting machine to go on” and no more planning was done.
Suggestion No. 1: More table space for those handy items you like to have close by. Also room for commonly used fixtures like a yarn cone winder, or that G-Carriage you aren’t using at the moment. Also if the table is pushed up against a wall or mountains of balls of wool and yarn, you can sit the cones of wool or yarn you are working with on top of the table.
Suggestion No. 2: A small rail along the back so things can’t fall off is an easy addition? Pine timber, when lacquered, gives it a bit of a feature, rather than a table-made-out-of-a-kitchen-cupboard look.