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Thread: refinishing sewing machine cabinets

  1. #21
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    Thanks Glen!

  2. #22
    Dee
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    Super Member Dee's Avatar
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    Great tute. Thanks for sharing.

  3. #23
    Super Member quilt addict's Avatar
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    Thanks Glen! I want to get started on some cabinets and now with this I think I am confident enough to give it a try. It will be book marked.

  4. #24
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    I want to show you what can be done with a little stain and shellac. Aniline dye (alcohol soluble) You can order this from Rockler or any good woodworker cat. You can also order the water soluble anilind dye I mentioned in the refinishing a cabinet above. I usually order the brown walnut for the oak and the walnut cabints. Mix the dye with denatured alcohol as stated in the instructions on the dye. Pour a cup in a container and add two or three table spoons orange shellac to the stain and stir well. Clean the bad area with turps and wipe lightly with a rag with little alcohol. Just swipe the area lightly. Use a mall brush an paint the mixture on the bad spot thinly. Do this several times until it matches the surrounding area. Rub down the brush strokes if any with 0000steel wool and wax to blend.

    Finish worn from sewing (before)
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    Stain applied to worn area
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    After buffing with wax and steel wool
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  5. #25
    Super Member damaquilts's Avatar
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    That looks really nice Glenn. And that Red eye is gorgeous.

  6. #26
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by damaquilts
    That looks really nice Glenn. And that Red eye is gorgeous.
    Thanks, grandma took very good care of it. She bought it 1916 and she sewed with it until the age of 102.

  7. #27
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zelda2
    most old finishes that are original and are just lacquer(shellac), can be removed with just lacquer thinner, steel wool and rags. I did an entire buffet in about 3 hours and an entire closed sewing cabinet in about 1 1/2hrs. When removed, just wipe on your favorite finish (I like than wipeable poly satin varnish) and you're done. Much easier than messing with stripper, etc. I used to own a refinishing shop so have used this very often. Good luck!
    My husband convinced me to use the same thing with some of our old pieces and it worked amazingly well. Changing the procedure by having 2 coffee cans of lacquer thinner (one for "dirty" rinsing and the other for cleaning) sped up things and used fewer sections of steel wool. Patience is key. We LOVE the wipeable poly satin too. Not period correct but the finish is gorgeous and wears like a dream.

  8. #28
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redbugsullivan
    Quote Originally Posted by zelda2
    most old finishes that are original and are just lacquer(shellac), can be removed with just lacquer thinner, steel wool and rags. I did an entire buffet in about 3 hours and an entire closed sewing cabinet in about 1 1/2hrs. When removed, just wipe on your favorite finish (I like than wipeable poly satin varnish) and you're done. Much easier than messing with stripper, etc. I used to own a refinishing shop so have used this very often. Good luck!
    My husband convinced me to use the same thing with some of our old pieces and it worked amazingly well. Changing the procedure by having 2 coffee cans of lacquer thinner (one for "dirty" rinsing and the other for cleaning) sped up things and used fewer sections of steel wool. Patience is key. We LOVE the wipeable poly satin too. Not period correct but the finish is gorgeous and wears like a dream.
    Zelda has a very good technique for refinishing. It is quick and wipe on polystain is great. I have done this on refinishing new pieces and it is a nice looking finish. However, I would never use it on antique or vintage sewing cabinets or anttique furniture. When restoring and if I must refinish I will use historically correct products only. I try to keep the piece as original looking as I can. I always prefer to restore rather than refinish unfortunately refinishing is a must on many sewing cabinets. This is the trade I learned in Europe but this does not make it the only way and I like using the lacquer to refinish when I can. My recomendation has always been to do refinishing the way you like it. My techniques are to help you keep your sewing machine cabinets as original as possible and not degrade the historical value of the Cabinet. It is like my quilting just have fun!! Glenn

  9. #29
    Super Member cabbagepatchkid's Avatar
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    I just bought this little cabinet, today, from Craigslist, and it's in really nice shape but the wood is dry and some of the shellac (?) on the top is coming off, especially noticed this after I washed it with Murphy's Oil Soap. Do I need to remove all of the shellac, on the top, or can I just smooth it by sanding it gently?

    Before washing with Murphy's Oil Soap
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    Partially cleaned--wow!
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    Some of the flaking that was under the dirt
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  10. #30
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cabbagepatchkid
    I just bought this little cabinet, today, from Craigslist, and it's in really nice shape but the wood is dry and some of the shellac (?) on the top is coming off, especially noticed this after I washed it with Murphy's Oil Soap. Do I need to remove all of the shellac, on the top, or can I just smooth it by sanding it gently?
    Look at my post just above your post and you will see how I handle this. You will need to apply a matching stain with an artist brush and then apply several coats of shellac applied thinly to buld up th finish. This will not take long shellac dries in about 30 minutes. When completely dry buff with wax and 0000steel wool to blend the patch. Just make sure this finish is shellac. You can test by rubbing alcohol in a area you will not see and if the finish melts with the alcohol it is shellac. If not it is varnish or laquer. To test if it is laquer the finish will melt with lacquer thinner or acetone. If this does not work it is varnish then you use the same technique only using varnish. I hope this helps. If you take your time you will not not have to remove any finish. You can use Howard refinisher in the right color but this will cover thke patches only temp. and will have to be done again and again as the Howard will evaporate over time. Glenn

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