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Thread: Cleaning and Reviving furniture(Sewing cabinets)

  1. #76
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Looking forward to seeing the results.
    Skip
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  2. #77
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    Here they are! There were two small corners, the back squared ones, that didn't receive enough glue. Less than 1/4" needed regluing. The first pic is after a slight trim, the second, after trim and sanding. Learned a great deal about trimming, and how glorious a sanding foam pad is when the right grit of sandpaper is used with it. Those front curves were what had me SO nervous. I've tapped it lightly all over to check for air pockets. So far so good!

    Finally, the chunk of granite and foam I used. I only have five clamps and not enough edge space to have made that method viable. To do it again, I'll thin down the glue a mite bit. Now on to the lowest section. The one in the middle seems to be fine! Nothing like protection by the top over all those the years.

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    Annette

    There is no fireside like your own fireside.

  3. #78
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Nice job Annette, your cabinet will be beautiful. Taping the corners down was good. We do that also when something is not glued down a little.
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    Glenn W. Cleveland

  4. #79
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    Thank you! My DH came home and gave me tips to improve on my "next time." I plan on keeping only two treadles. One to sew on for peace, my Alvah, and one for beauty and sewing, my WFR. I will veneer others for the joy of giving. Now, onto the irons...
    Annette

    There is no fireside like your own fireside.

  5. #80
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    Glenn, your suggestion of contact cement for veneering was spot on! After using wood glue on the White, I contemplated using it again when a Singer 66 treadle came my way. The top wasn't horrid but wasn't going to be an easy clean up.

    Used a scraper and heat gun to loosen and remove the old battered oak top, that took less than 10 minutes. Then from prep to placement of veneer was about 30 minutes. Five minutes of that was looking for the cement! A good rollering and today it is being trimmed, sanded, and stained. SOO much easier! I used a cheap chip brush to put the goo on and then tossed it. No clean up. Thanks!
    Annette

    There is no fireside like your own fireside.

  6. #81
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    Glenn, I have some antique pieces I'd love to try this on. For those with a high shine and scratches, is it possible to "French polish" the scratches out as you recommend for the clear coat on sewing machines? Also, if the finish is "varnish" instead of shellac or lacquer, should something different be tried? Thanks for this great info!

  7. #82
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Pamela, you will need to test to see what the finsih is first. Take denatured alcohol on a small rag a place it on the finish in an area that will not show. If the finish melts it is shellac if not it is varnish or lacquer. You can only french polish with shallac. If the finish is shellac then yes you can polish the scratches out. If varnish or lacquer then try paste wax. I use Briwax in the color of the the wood. Varnish and lacquer is hard to repair.
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  8. #83
    Super Member Cogito's Avatar
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    Sorry for my slow mind but..... Are the instructions at the beginning of this thread for dissolving all the old crackled finish but leaving the nice patina? I know "cleaning" was discussed, just wanting to clarify that term in my head. I have several treadle cabinets that are in relatively nice shape (little scratching, veneer intact) but the finish is shot. Mine are all older Singer cabinets....probably 1920ish. Can I assume they were all varnished?
    The expert's mind has no room to learn while the beginner's mind is free to know everything....

  9. #84
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cogito View Post
    Sorry for my slow mind but..... Are the instructions at the beginning of this thread for dissolving all the old crackled finish but leaving the nice patina? I know "cleaning" was discussed, just wanting to clarify that term in my head. I have several treadle cabinets that are in relatively nice shape (little scratching, veneer intact) but the finish is shot. Mine are all older Singer cabinets....probably 1920ish. Can I assume they were all varnished?
    Don't "assume"! Glenn will give you better advice, but a few posts back he carefully explains how to tell the difference between shellac and lacquer or varnish. Determine first what you have, and then you'll know better how to proceed. But I suspect once you follow his method your cabinets will be beautiful!

  10. #85
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Cogito. Singer cabinets were finished with shellac. To be sure take some denatured alcohol on a rag and apply to an area that will not be seen. If the finish melts with the alcohol it is shellac if not it is varnish or lacquer. You will find that the finish is shellac unless the cabinet has been refinished at sometime. Acetone will melt lacquer. If it is varnish lacquer or poly it will need to be strip.
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  11. #86
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    Glenn, what do you recommend for repairing a broken piece? The wooden base to my Singer 12 split when the seller was lifting it to show me. (She said that she never lifts it by the harp --good-- always lifts by holding the base, and right then the back side/strip came off.) The piece fits back nicely and I can probably clamp it, but what kind of glue do you recommend?

  12. #87
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellpea View Post
    Glenn, what do you recommend for repairing a broken piece? The wooden base to my Singer 12 split when the seller was lifting it to show me. (She said that she never lifts it by the harp --good-- always lifts by holding the base, and right then the back side/strip came off.) The piece fits back nicely and I can probably clamp it, but what kind of glue do you recommend?
    I use hide glue( you know the kind melted in a hot glue pot) This is the proper glue to use on antiques. However you can by hide glue that you don't have to heat up in hardware stores. I think elmers makes a hide glue in a bottle. If you are not a purist you can use any high quality wood glue like Titebond etc. What ever glue you use apply thinly on both parts and clamp overnight. Wipe off any excess glue with a damp cloth before it sets right after you clamp it. If you want to use the original hide glue you will have to order it from a woodworkers cat.
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  13. #88
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn View Post
    I use hide glue( you know the kind melted in a hot glue pot) This is the proper glue to use on antiques. However you can by hide glue that you don't have to heat up in hardware stores. I think elmers makes a hide glue in a bottle. If you are not a purist you can use any high quality wood glue like Titebond etc. What ever glue you use apply thinly on both parts and clamp overnight. Wipe off any excess glue with a damp cloth before it sets right after you clamp it. If you want to use the original hide glue you will have to order it from a woodworkers cat.
    Thank you for the quick response!
    Ellpea

  14. #89
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    I've finally reached the point with my machines where I can begin to focus on the wood. For my Singer 12, the base seemed to have a lot of CRUD on the finish... especially around the area where the clamp is from the base to the machine. There's something like a felt spool disk there which is totally nasty and stuck, and the finish around that is nasty as well. I worked with your solution #1 and graduated to the 0000 steel wool, but it seems like it's removing a lot of the finish and stain while still leaving some of the crud. I'm not sure if I should call this good, or move to a stronger steel wool. Any suggestions?

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    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    It is most likely the finish is shot. Cont cleaning until all grud is gone. Use lots of rags. The fine steel wool is fine but you may need one grit larger( medium). After you think it is clean let dry for a day or so then you can shellac if you want. Before you shellac you can stain the cabinet if you like.
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  16. #91
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn View Post
    It is most likely the finish is shot. Cont cleaning until all grud is gone. Use lots of rags. The fine steel wool is fine but you may need one grit larger( medium). After you think it is clean let dry for a day or so then you can shellac if you want. Before you shellac you can stain the cabinet if you like.
    Thanks Glenn, your advice is much appreciated!

  17. #92
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    Hey Glenn, I gave the base another go with medium grit steel wool, and it worked better, but still needs more oomph. The good news is that I'm looking carefully at the area that is now much lighter... where I thought I was removing the shellac AND the stain, I don't think that actually happened. It feels very smooth and clean and still has a finish. So I THINK what needs to happen is that the rest of the base should be cleaned down to that level. What was coming off was not necessarily all of the finish, it was 140 years of crud!

    My question is... can you recommend a way to get solution #1 amped up just a little? To finish what I'm doing I think I need some stronger stuff on the remaining cruddy spots. This might happen with coarser steel wool, which I don't have today and probably can't shop for tomorrow (does anyone else have such romantic doings happening on New Year's Eve?)! Let me know what you think, and thanks as always for your really wonderful help!

  18. #93
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    If you use anything stronger it will ruin what finish you have left on the cabinet sorry. Just keep working at it like you are doing. This is not a quick process so don't rush the cleaning.
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  19. #94
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    Thanks Glenn... will keep plugging away!

  20. #95
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ellpea View Post
    So I THINK what needs to happen is that the rest of the base should be cleaned down to that level. What was coming off was not necessarily all of the finish, it was 140 years of crud!

    My question is... can you recommend a way to get solution #1 amped up just a little?
    Ellpea, are you using a pot for the cleaning solution and one for rinsing the steel wool? If not, I highly recommend it! Yes, take your time or the finish will be gone by too aggressive cleaning. On the flip side, cleaning the grime out of the steel wool makes for more efficient use of your time and doesn't strip off the original finish. You must constantly monitor the wood's surface to know when to stop because the grime is gone, or regretfully WISH you had stopped.

    That rinse pot, with the same mixture, keeps the tool useable and allows for the dirt to be lifted away, not redistributed all over your beloved piece. Enjoy the process!
    Annette

    There is no fireside like your own fireside.

  21. #96
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Annette, Thank you this is great advice and I should have mentioned it in the tutorial.
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    Glenn W. Cleveland

  22. #97
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    Skip, your guidance has helped me more that you will ever know. As I face the "fixing" of six hand crank bases, I totally recognize your specific words of wisdom that help me make the right choices. Thank you.
    Annette

    There is no fireside like your own fireside.

  23. #98
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redbugsullivan View Post
    Ellpea, are you using a pot for the cleaning solution and one for rinsing the steel wool? If not, I highly recommend it! Yes, take your time or the finish will be gone by too aggressive cleaning. On the flip side, cleaning the grime out of the steel wool makes for more efficient use of your time and doesn't strip off the original finish. You must constantly monitor the wood's surface to know when to stop because the grime is gone, or regretfully WISH you had stopped.

    That rinse pot, with the same mixture, keeps the tool useable and allows for the dirt to be lifted away, not redistributed all over your beloved piece. Enjoy the process!
    Annette, I appreciate the caution, as I am one of those obsessive people who sometimes take things like this too far. I'm not using a separate pot for rinsing (hadn't thought of that). But I do move to a new area of the steel wool. I have the solution in a bottle with a narrow neck, and apply the solution directly to the steel wool.

    The solution separates in the bottle, so it has to be shaken (not stirred :-) each time. I keep a cork on the bottle to prevent accidents, and to allow for shaking. So far this is working very well, and so far I don't think I've gone too far! The finish continues to be smooth and it still has its clear coat.

    Fortunately I have some other things to keep me busy so I'm not hyper-focused on that wooden base right now. I give it a few little rubs, wipe it clean, and while its drying I move on to fooling with or servicing a machine. This is a very therapeutic hobby (especially when hubby is busy with football season)!

  24. #99
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    Hello Everyone (and Glenn)

    I described my process above, of keeping the cleaning mixture in a bottle, shaking it each time, and then applying directly to the steel wool. However, I'm noticing that when the mixture separates now, I don't have 3 layers of liquid; there seems to be only two. I'm worried I've used too much of the lightest liquid (because it somehow remained separated out and got used first?)

    Here is a photo of two mixtures. The bottle shows what I have left right now (with only two layers). The jar contains a mixture of all 3, but in the wrong proportions. I accidentally included 4 parts of everything, so set that aside and started measuring again.

    My question is, what do you think I should do with the mixture in the bottle? Add something to it???

    Well, as usual, when I really need help I can't get the photo to upload. Please visualize mixture number one which used to have 3 layers of chemicals and now only has two. I'll continue trying to upload

  25. #100
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    Finally! The bottle on the right is the one I'm worried about. It looks like one of the components of the mixture has possibly been over-used and is now missing? I was shaking the bottle each time... but? Would it be the boiled linseed oil that would normally be floating on the surface?
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