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Thread: Cleaning and repairing the Shellac clear coat on Vintage sewing machine heads

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    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Cleaning and repairing the Shellac clear coat on Vintage sewing machine heads

    Ok, here we go the first two pics are the supplies and tools needed to do what I do with these old machines. Now remember this will not completely get rid of the blemishes and rough spots on the japan of the machine and this technique will only work on a shellac finish which is 95% of the machines( unless you get an East German machine like Charlee). If you follow these instructions you will do no harm to your machne but if in doubt please ask questions before starting and you may want to practice on something first. Now PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM THE DECALS UNTIL I TELL YOU. I can't be responsible for damages to your machine. Now lets have fun and clean an old machine.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails shellac-repair-machines-009.jpg   shellac-repair-machines-025.jpg  
    Glenn W. Cleveland

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    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    The coffee is optional. Ok this is the before pic of the machine in a terrible shape
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails shellac-repair-machines-010.jpg   shellac-repair-machines-011.jpg  
    Glenn W. Cleveland

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    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Now at the stage I spray the internal and underneath parts with Plast Buster and while the PB is working I begin to scrub the moving parts with a small wire brush then spray again and then begin the tear down. I only remove the bobbin winder, the motor and light and all the shinny metal parts and the front plate. I do this for easy of cleaning the head. Then all the rusty parts go into a bowl of evaporust.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails shellac-repair-machines-023.jpg   shellac-repair-machines-024.jpg   shellac-repair-machines-014.jpg  
    Glenn W. Cleveland

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    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Now use your favorite dish soap. Put some water in a bowl and dish soap work the rag in it to a rich lather and then wash the dirt off the machine then rinse with clean water. The rags I use is white t-shirt and old tighty whities. this type of rag will be used thru out the tut.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails shellac-repair-machines-016.jpg  
    Glenn W. Cleveland

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    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Now we are going to repair the shellac clear coat as best we can. If you like you can clean the decals with sewing machine oil before starting this. Now wrap your index finger in the t-shirt and apply with a couple of drops of denatured alcohol and and a drop or two of linseed oil and begin to clean the surface in a circular motion and ending in going in one direction by bringing the finger down and lifting off the surface at the end. Now stay away from the decals at this time. This will keep you from sticking to the surface. You want to go in one direction to eliminate the swirl marks. Do this until the surface of the machine is as smooth as it will get. Now remember this will not reverse age of the finish but will improve it 100%. Now wipe over the decals with a little alcohol and linseed on the finger with one little swipe(lighlty). The machine should begin to look clean and shinny. Now dip the wrapped finger in shellac and apply a few drops of linseed oil and go over the decals, this will apply shellac over them to protect them. Do this several time because this method only applies a thin coat each time.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails shellac-repair-machines-022.jpg  
    Glenn W. Cleveland

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    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Now as far as the pin rash is is what I did. Remove the rust and then Painted the area with and aniline dye stain alcohol soluble that is mixed with shellac to a paint consistency. You can purchase the alcohol soluble stain in Ebony or Negro depending on the company. Any wood workers cat will have it. I buy mine at Lee Valley or Woodworkers supply. It comes in a 0ne once package in powder form that you mix with the alcohol and shellac. It coat about 10.00 for one once but will last you a long time. I mix 1/4 tsp with a tsp of alcohol until desolved and then add a enough shellac to make a paint. If not black enough add more powder. The little jar in the pics of tools is what I use to mix it in. Paint it on the bad spots with a good artist brush. Let cure for a day or two and then you can french polish over it to smooth it out adding more black shellac as needed.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails shellac-repair-machines-018.jpg  
    Glenn W. Cleveland

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    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    After the black finish was to my likeing I took gold paint and repaired the lettering using tape and and an artist fine brush. I am not an artist so bear with me here. After the paint was dry I applied a thin coat of shellac over the decal to protect it using the french polish method. At this point let cure for about a week and wax if desired but it is not needed at this point if you applied a clear coat of shellac over the entire machine. Ok now lets show you the end results of this cleaning of the very nasty machine. To shine the metal parts I used Brasso and a dremel with a cloth buffing pad. Then put it all back together ecept the motor that I will not use. Thanks to Charlee I have a bobbin slide plate to this badged White. Thank you Fiesty. Now ask all the questions you want.


    Skipper
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails shellac-repair-machines-030.jpg   shellac-repair-machines-033.jpg   shellac-repair-machines-032.jpg  
    Glenn W. Cleveland

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    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    this is the before and the after together
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails shellac-repair-machines-010.jpg   shellac-repair-machines-031.jpg  
    Glenn W. Cleveland

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    Well done. I am taking notes as I am new to restoration. Here is a 1922 white. I also have the wooden case in really good shape. I am going to use a product called restore on it as i have used it in the past.
    dscn0321.jpg

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    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    Glenn, it's beautiful. I wish I had time to do my two right away. Thank you so much for the wonderful directions.
    Judy

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