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Thread: Cleaning and Reviving furniture(Sewing cabinets)

  1. #101
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    Help help! Am still worried about this mixture...

  2. #102
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    The dark color on the top of the right is linseed oil and sometimes the oil will mix with the turps. don't worry just keep shaking and using it to clean the cabinet. Feel free to adjust the mixture as you see fit. More oil or alcohol or turps. This solution will not hurt any of the wood. Just don't add to much alcohol it will remove the shellac finish. Don't worry just cont to use the mixture. As I said it will not hurt a thing. If you mixed it as instruction for solution 1 you are fine.
    Last edited by Glenn; 01-17-2015 at 06:57 PM.
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  3. #103
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    Linseed oil - don't leave rags with linseed oil on them laying around. My BIL did that and had a fire break out in his home.

    I don't know the science behind it, but I do know that this is true.
    A quilt is like a good life. It's full of mistakes, but, in the end, it looks pretty good.

  4. #104
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    Phew! I'll keep soldiering along then. If the bentwood top comes out as beautifully as the base did, I'll be thrilled! Thanks again (and again and again)!

  5. #105
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    Hello Glenn,
    I have been working on my White treadle cabinet. I used solution #1 to clean all of the wood, and a very soft toothbrush with the solution to clean in and around the carved wood. Like you describe, the finish becomes a bit dull after this treatment.

    Then I used #2. This looked very good, and the wood soaked it in completely after a few hours. I haven't waxed it yet, because a few areas on the top have flaked shellac.

    I thought I would try a bit of denatured alcohol and steel wool, to see if I could smooth those areas out. That may have been a bit risky, but if it didn't work I was pretty sure I'd need to move into sanding that down anyway. Interestingly, the alcohol did kind of *melt* the shellac as we would expect it to do, but the steel wool didn't have quite enough bite to completely smooth down the flaky bits.

    But what I didn't expect is the brilliant shine that came up just from the alcohol and steel wool! I mean, that area really has a high gloss! It's not entirely smooth (like a final finish or a french polish) because I wasn't really trying to polish it -- just trying to smooth out the rough areas in the finish.

    So now I'm wondering if I should do more of this, more carefully, before I wax it? Right now #2 has soaked in completely and while the wood is pretty and the slightly cloudy effect from #1 is gone, overall the finish is very dull. Maybe I overdid it with #1?

    Thank you for all of your help, and any advice is appreciated!

    Ellpea aka Pamela

  6. #106
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    No Pamela you did not over do #1. You are feeling the grain of the wood but this is no problem. Oak has a course grain. If you sand with fine paper you will remove shellac and it will have to be replaced. Before doing anything else use a good paste wax like briwax and fine steel wool for the application. Try this in a small area first. The finish will appear cloudy after #1 and sometimes #2 but will go away with french polsih or waxing. Also try a little french polish Shallac and linseed oil and this will blend the shellac better with the old. What we are trying to do is fill in shellac to level to a smooth feel. The only way to get a complete smooth surface is to sand until all si smooth and flat and recoat with shellac but this is usually the last resort. Just remember if you sand you will have to apply shellac in that area until it is level with the rest of the finish.
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    Glenn W. Cleveland

  7. #107
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    Hello Glenn, thanks for your helpful reply! Yes, filling in the shellac to level out to a smooth feel is what I'm hoping to do. If that is still rough (and it is) I did not think starting the waxing process would help (yet). When you say "try a little french polish Shallac and linseed oil," do you mean try the french polish *process* with shellac and alcohol you describe elsewhere followed by linseed oil? Or do you mean an application mixing shellac with linseed oil? Sorry to be so dense, but I don't want to make a mistake with this beautiful cabinet!
    I really, REALLY appreciate the advice you give here!
    Best
    Ellpea aka Pamela


  8. #108
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Take a soft rag dip in shellac then put a dew drops of linseed oil on top of the shellac and apply in a circular motion to blend. Yes french polish and don't worry about the high gloss that will appear. When you completely finish with cabinet the final waxing will buff to a nice satin finish without being to glossy. Let me know how it goes.
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    Glenn W. Cleveland

  9. #109
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    OK, will do! I'll have to get shellac (flakes, right?)... that's the only ingredient I don't have on hand.

    BTW... do you have a recommendation for getting a redder hue to this oak? It is much more yellow/orange than I would like to see, will that tone down if I use a mahogany type wax?

  10. #110
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    The dark wax may darken the finish some but not by much. You may want to go over the cabinet with an aniline stain(water soluble) just don't mix as dark as the direction a little bit will do. But this has to be done before the french polish and waxing. I use shellac flakes but you can also use the clear shellac that comes in a qt can at Lowes or Home Depot. It will work fine if you have to order the flakes but a madder of choice here.
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  11. #111
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    OK, I'll look into the stain when I shop for shellac... will report back in a few days!

  12. #112
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    About shellac flakes -- am looking at some online suppliers and came across this: "Dewaxed GARNET Shellac
    Dewaxed - GARNET Shellac
    Deep Rich Brown-Red cast flake shellac.
    Excellent tone for use on antiques & reproductions"

    Would this color of shellac help tone down the orange/yellow cast of my cabinet? A 4 oz can runs about $10... how far do you think 4 oz would go?

  13. #113
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Yes this would tone down the color. It should tell you how much nenatured alcohol to mix with the flakes. But I think you are looking at a little less than a qt. This is more than enough. Mix it until it is thick like syrup.
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  14. #114
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    Thanks Glenn! Do you mean that the 4 oz should mix up to a little less than a quart when I add denatured alcohol? Do you think this will be enough to do a cabinet and refresh the shellac finish?

    Now that I think about it, if I'm using something with color, I wouldn't just be working on the areas with flaked shellac; I'd have to work on the entire cabinet. Would you see the entire job as a french polish?

  15. #115
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    Hello Glenn, I've finally resolved my Singer 12 difficulties and am back to the White cabinet. I've been shopping for aniline dye and have found it in once ounce packets. It is the alcohol soluble stuff I want, correct?

    And if I decided to brush over the entire cabinet (it's quarter sawn oak but the light parts of the grain are very yellow -- I want a browner tone), how much dye do you think I would need?

    I'm looking at the dye here: https://www.toolsforworkingwood.com/...tem/LW-AWAL.XX
    and it is the Dark Brown Walnut, Redder(#693) - 1 oz. I LOVE the dark brown, reddish tone. Do you think I can get this on an oak cabinet?

    Thank you!
    Ellpea aka Pamela

    1876 Singer 12, 1906 White FR treadle, Featherweights (2), Singer 319, 401A, 15-91, Universal 15-30, Hale Crescent treadle, Brother heavy metal, Singer 9W, plastic BabyLock and plastic Singer. Yearning for a chain stitch.

  16. #116
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Pamela, I have been keeping up with your Singer 12 stories. Glad all is well now. I love my two. I Would have told you what I did to get them to sew but other QB members were ginving you the correct advice so I did not feel it was needed to repeat all.

    Yes you can use any color dye on the oak. You can use either alcohol soluble or even the water soluble aniline dye. 1 ounce will make about 2 qt of stain. I would use a quart first so it will be darker. Rag a little on and see if to dark if it is add more alcohol. This stuff dries fast so it is best to rag the stain on the wood to control streaking. Do a section at a time. Wear gloves this stuff will dye you hands and will have to wear off. If you find you are haveing keeping everything even you can wipe down with clear alcohol to even the color. Now the water soluble is easier to apply with a rag and will not be as dark. Just remember this stuff can be very dark so test and mix until you get the color you want.
    Last edited by Glenn; 03-19-2015 at 11:22 AM.
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  17. #117
    Junior Member Ellpea's Avatar
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    Thank you, Glenn! I checked with some furniture restorers here in town to see if perhaps they either had shellac flakes, or knew where I could get some. The last person I called actually laughed! Everyone says to order online, so that's what I'll do. That's a job for tomorrow.

    I can't wait to get more sewing done on these, both the 12 and the White FR. Today, typically, I spent time in a thrift store finding pillowcases, men's pajamas, and men's XXL shirts for the fabric. Oh, and a vintage iron. Now why this happened when I have plenty at home to sew, I don't know. I was out, the store was there, the shirts were there, now they're under my cutting table waiting to go.

    Tomorrow more fun, and now that these two are mostly done, am working on a Universal 15-30, putting on a hand crank, etc.

    When I get my dye I'll read through this thread again and make sure I remember all of the advice you've given (and then will post pictures when I'm done).

    With appreciation,
    Ellpea aka Pamela

    1876 Singer 12, 1906 White FR treadle, Featherweights (2), Singer 319, 401A, 15-91, Universal 15-30, Hale Crescent treadle, Brother heavy metal, Singer 9W, plastic BabyLock and plastic Singer. Yearning for a chain stitch.

  18. #118
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    What do you suggest for a cabinet that has been painted with lead based paint? The treadle part has been painted, too. It's not in great condition, but I think I can glue back down the laminate. This is one of the 1920's cabinets - 5 drawer without the scrolls. The paint is on the drawer fronts and the top when it's folded. Maybe on back, too. The paint is chipping, too, and I'm worried about the kids and grandkids being around it. Thanks for all the tutorials and help you give!

  19. #119
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    Many thanks to Glenn and everyone for all the useful info here. These techniques will be useful for the two treadle cabinets my husband has. However, the two cabinets I have are in good condition but need "touch ups". The original color of both are a lighter red, like a Cherry finish, with Shellac (tested with denat alcohol) and they have Shellac flaking. Cabinet #1 must have sat near a window because there is discoloration on the front drawers and appears brownish and faded. Cabinet #2 has the darker red, like patina, on the lower areas and has dark ripples in the shellac where your arms go when sewing (Murphy's soap did not take the ripples off). The matching stool looks great with the exception of the legs which are very rough in texture and the color of dark mahogany/dark chocolate.

    So, my question is... What would be the best method to restore the color and finish of my two cabinets? I was thinking a wood soap to clean, then Howard's Cherry Restore-a-finish; but can I French polish with Shellac over Howard's? I've never done any restoration before except Glenn's method of machine restoration with Shellac.

  20. #120
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    I have several sewing machine cabinets that need minor veneer patching. I bought some veneer from Rocklers and patched a small spot on a Singer cabinet. The problem I'm having is that the veneer is a lot thinner than the veneer on the cabinets, so it's not matching at all.

    This is my first shot at repairing veneer, so obviously, it's not perfect. We couldn't figure out what wood it was. A friend said it was oak, but that guy at Rockler said Beech. I tried a golden oak stain and it's not a great match. (I'll work something out there to hide it.)

    I bought some mahogany veneer from Rockler to repair a Pfaff 130 cabinet and some Singer cabinets I have. If the are not the right depth, it will really show on the other repairs as they are more up front and visible. I tried a google search, but am not sure what I'm looking for as far as the proper terms, etc.

    Anyone have any experience with this and can help me find what I need for these repairs?

    bkay
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  21. #121
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Your cabinet is white oak and have patched it with red oak. Todays veneer is thinner than the old veneer so you need to double the thickness with two layers of veneer to bring it up to the correct height and then sand it flush with the surrounding veneer. Your finish on the original cabinet is button shellac that is dark amber in color. Use a light oak stain only on the replaced veneer. If you had white oak and then coated it with the amber shellac the match would be better. It is a trial and mix thing to match the color. Remember to double up on the veneer to bring it up to match. Sometimes you even have to use triple layers then careful sanding flush to the original. Tape around the patch so you won't sand to much of the original. As for as color trial and error until you get the match you want. hope this helps you in the project.
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  22. #122
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    Thanks, Glenn.

    bkay

  23. #123
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    bkay btw you can ask these questions on the VSS to. I am Skipper on the the VSS.
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  24. #124
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    Oh, Wow! Thanks, I didn't notice that.

    bkay

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