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Thread: Cleaning and Reviving furniture(Sewing cabinets)

  1. #1
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Cleaning solutions needed:
    Solution One--4parts white venegar, 4parts boiled linseed oil, 4parts mineral spirits, 1part denatured alcohol and 3-4 drops of household ammonia.

    Solution Two--4parts mineral spirits, 1part boiled linseed oil

    Stept 1-- with a course lint free cloth(blue jeans is good) charge the cloth with Solution one and rub in a circular motion, turning a recharging the rag with solution one. Replace rag as it gets dirty. Continue until the whole is cleaned. Hard to clean areas use 0000steel wool with the solution. The final wipe down should be with the grain of the wood. This finish will be cloudy and dry looking at this point.

    Step 2--with a lint free cloth charged with Solution Two rub in a circular motion turning rag and recharging with solution two. Replace rag as it gets dirty. Continue until the whole is cleaned and the finish is not cloudy and dry lookeing. Finish by wiping the whole with only minaral spirits.

    Step 3-- Apply a good coat of wax( such as a tinted briwax or any of the antique paste waxes that can be found in antique stores) according to the directions on the can. Apply thinly and buff like crazy to a nice clean shine. The looks of the piece can be maintained by waxing once a year and regular dusting and buff to shine. Nothing else needs to be done. I do not recommend endust or pledge. No need for lemon oil or anything.

    This is the accepted method of proff antique restorers. After you can say I did not refinish the piece I restored the finish. Happy cleaning Glenn

  2. #2
    Super Member virtualbernie's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for the information! I'm going to try this!

  3. #3
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for posting your "recipe" and technique Glenn. I have a very old and dirty treadle I purchased and I intend to restore it and use it - so this is a great help. I am sure the vintage machine shop followers will find this useful too.

  4. #4
    Super Member roseOfsharon's Avatar
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    Oh wow, thanks Glenn. I have black windsor chairs with fruit prints on the back of chair top. Could they be cleaned with the same method. They seem to be soiled ... like a sticky grime. I have tried cleaning it off but it still seems stickyish.

  5. #5
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    Silly question...I have bookmarked your other tute on applying a shellac finish...which is preferred? The cabinet I intend to restore is pretty rough...the person I bought it from has attempted to sand the top...and the drawers etc are grimy and fairly dry looking. Also, the cast iron base is looking a bit brown and rusty...is it ok just to clean it up and maybe respray black?...your advice would be appreciated. Oh...here's a link to the pic.
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/t-68784-1.htm

  6. #6
    Senior Member olebat's Avatar
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    Thanks Glenn, as soon as the pollen dies down here in the pines, and I can get back to a ventilated area, I'll give it a try.

  7. #7
    Super Member bjnicholson's Avatar
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    Thanks! I have a couple of oooold pieces that need it.

  8. #8
    Member Cindy Lou Who's Avatar
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    Glenn,
    What would you use to clean what looks to be a faux leather-like rectangle on the sideboard of the cabinet? I haven't taken pictures yet, but will try if you have no idea what I am trying to describe (and not doing a very good job either!)
    Off to bed now - 4:30 am comes early so I'll check in tomorrow night.
    Thanks,
    Cindy Lou Who

  9. #9
    Moderator QuiltnNan's Avatar
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    thanks for the info. I'm going to try it on my antique treadle.

  10. #10
    Super Member jeaninmaine's Avatar
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    Thanks so very much Glenn, maybe this summer I'll be able to take a look around and see if I can find a good sized cabinet, now that I know how to clean it up.

  11. #11
    Super Member GailG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cindy Lou Who
    Glenn,
    What would you use to clean what looks to be a faux leather-like rectangle on the sideboard of the cabinet? I haven't taken pictures yet, but will try if you have no idea what I am trying to describe (and not doing a very good job either!)
    Off to bed now - 4:30 am comes early so I'll check in tomorrow night.
    Thanks,
    Cindy Lou Who
    would that faux leather be just a build up of old varnish, etc.? Old finishes can look like that if the piece isn't cleaned between applications of varnish or shellac?

  12. #12
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    very happy you said REsTOREd....people think they need to strip it down and refinish it...so sad...the natural patina is always so much nicer to look at!

  13. #13
    Member PatQuilts's Avatar
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    Thank you!!! You must have been reading my mind. Seeing all the restored machines has inspired me to "revive" the finish on my grandmother's treadle machine. It still work beautifully.

    I had no idea where to look for this information and I knew I didn't want to "strip" off the original finish.

  14. #14
    Super Member lawsonmugs's Avatar
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    Will this work on an old oak treadle cabinet that is from 1882? The finish is blistered and comes off as you rub your fingers on it. so I have taken the finish off and lightly sanded it.It's so pretty now. do I just wax it now or do I put some kind of shelack on it?Thanks in advance for any help Mary

  15. #15
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roseOfsharon
    Oh wow, thanks Glenn. I have black windsor chairs with fruit prints on the back of chair top. Could they be cleaned with the same method. They seem to be soiled ... like a sticky grime. I have tried cleaning it off but it still seems stickyish.
    Yes, they can be cleaned with this method. Just don't rub to hard over the painted fruit. This should solve the sticky problems. Just apply a coat of wax as per instructions to protect the chairs. Have fun cleaning. Glenn

  16. #16
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cindy Lou Who
    Glenn,
    What would you use to clean what looks to be a faux leather-like rectangle on the sideboard of the cabinet? I haven't taken pictures yet, but will try if you have no idea what I am trying to describe (and not doing a very good job either!)
    Off to bed now - 4:30 am comes early so I'll check in tomorrow night.
    Thanks,
    Cindy Lou Who
    If it is not leather, try a foam cleaner(fabric spot cleaner) or you can take dish soap and a little water and sponge. Dip the sponge in the soap mixture and massage several times until the sponge is very foaming but not dripping wet and rub lightly. The only problem with the old faux leather is they are sometimes not color fast so if you see a lot of color on the sponge stop. So test a small spot first. If it bleeds on the sponge, take corn starch and sprinkle thickly covering the whole thing and let set for several days then vacuum off. I really could use a good picture. If it turns out to be real leather I have a potion for that two. Glenn

  17. #17
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GailG
    Quote Originally Posted by Cindy Lou Who
    Glenn,
    What would you use to clean what looks to be a faux leather-like rectangle on the sideboard of the cabinet? I haven't taken pictures yet, but will try if you have no idea what I am trying to describe (and not doing a very good job either!)
    Off to bed now - 4:30 am comes early so I'll check in tomorrow night.
    Thanks,
    Cindy Lou Who
    would that faux leather be just a build up of old varnish, etc.? Old finishes can look like that if the piece isn't cleaned between applications of varnish or shellac?
    I could be what we call aligatored finish. The shellac could be grazed and crinkly from extreme heat. If this is the case after cleaning the piece, take a rag with denatured alcohol and rub the spot and if the finish soften continue until the area is smooth again. Now you must to the whole side by rubbing with alcohol to blend the area together. If this meets your approval apply a very thin coat of shellac to the area then rub down the side with oooosteel wool and paste wax to take the new look off.

  18. #18
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn
    Quote Originally Posted by GailG
    Quote Originally Posted by Cindy Lou Who
    Glenn,
    What would you use to clean what looks to be a faux leather-like rectangle on the sideboard of the cabinet? I haven't taken pictures yet, but will try if you have no idea what I am trying to describe (and not doing a very good job either!)
    Off to bed now - 4:30 am comes early so I'll check in tomorrow night.
    Thanks,
    Cindy Lou Who
    would that faux leather be just a build up of old varnish, etc.? Old finishes can look like that if the piece isn't cleaned between applications of varnish or shellac?
    I could be what we call aligatored finish. The shellac could be grazed and crinkly from extreme heat. If this is the case after cleaning the piece, take a rag with denatured alcohol and rub the spot and if the finish soften continue until the area is smooth again. Now you must to the whole side by rubbing with alcohol to blend the area together. If this meets your approval apply a very thin coat of shellac to the area then rub down the side with oooosteel wool and paste wax to take the new look off.
    The shellac should be applied to the entire side to blend.

  19. #19
    Super Member greaterexp's Avatar
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    Bless you, Glenn! This was just what I was looking for!

  20. #20
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    Thanks I have just found a potentially beautiful old wood dining table and I have lots of other old things that need spruced up I wanted to find a natural way so as not to harm the original finishes These are on my to-do list if we ever get spring to drop in for more than a day so I can do it outside

  21. #21
    Member Cindy Lou Who's Avatar
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    quote=Cindy Lou Who]Glenn,
    What would you use to clean what looks to be a faux leather-like rectangle on the sideboard of the cabinet? .......Thanks,
    Cindy Lou Who[/quote]

    If it is not leather, try a foam cleaner(fabric spot cleaner) or you can take dish soap and a little water and sponge. Dip the sponge in the soap mixture and massage several times until the sponge is very foaming but not dripping wet and rub lightly. The only problem with the old faux leather is they are sometimes not color fast so if you see a lot of color on the sponge stop. So test a small spot first. If it bleeds on the sponge, take corn starch and sprinkle thickly covering the whole thing and let set for several days then vacuum off. I really could use a good picture. If it turns out to be real leather I have a potion for that two. Glenn[/quote]

    Pictures on my agenda for this weekend - it definitely isn't just old crazed or built up finish - actually set into the wood.
    I'll see if I have any foam fabric cleaner stashed, too.
    Thanks for your help again Glenn!
    Cindy

  22. #22
    Senior Member GwenH's Avatar
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    Thanks for the information Glenn, I have an old Singer Treadle that my Dad got on a trade in for a washing machine or dryer years ago, it had been sitting in their attic for many years and has a bit of water damage, water marks mostly, would this technique work to remove or hide the water marks?
    I was thinking about totally re-doing it, sanding etc, cause to me the antique monetary value isn't really important, but if this will work I will definately give it a shot before I sand it all down and re-stain it. Thanks so much.

    Oh and one more question, how what should I do about the rust castors that don't move anymore, is there a way to restore them?

  23. #23
    Senior Member klarina's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing this useful info.

  24. #24
    Super Member cabbagepatchkid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn
    Cleaning solutions needed:
    Solution One--4parts white venegar, 4parts boiled linseed oil, 4parts mineral spirits, 1part denatured alcohol and 3-4 drops of household ammonia.
    Where can I purchase mineral spirits and denatured alcohol? Are mineral spirits and mineral oil the same thing?
    Thanks Glenn, I'm going to give this method a try.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn
    Cleaning solutions needed:
    Solution One--4parts white venegar, 4parts boiled linseed oil, 4parts mineral spirits, 1part denatured alcohol and 3-4 drops of household ammonia.

    Solution Two--4parts mineral spirits, 1part boiled linseed oil

    Stept 1-- with a course lint free cloth(blue jeans is good) charge the cloth with Solution one and rub in a circular motion, turning a recharging the rag with solution one. Replace rag as it gets dirty. Continue until the whole is cleaned. Hard to clean areas use 0000steel wool with the solution. The final wipe down should be with the grain of the wood. This finish will be cloudy and dry looking at this point.

    Step 2--with a lint free cloth charged with Solution Two rub in a circular motion turning rag and recharging with solution two. Replace rag as it gets dirty. Continue until the whole is cleaned and the finish is not cloudy and dry lookeing. Finish by wiping the whole with only minaral spirits.

    Step 3-- Apply a good coat of wax( such as a tinted briwax or any of the antique paste waxes that can be found in antique stores) according to the directions on the can. Apply thinly and buff like crazy to a nice clean shine. The looks of the piece can be maintained by waxing once a year and regular dusting and buff to shine. Nothing else needs to be done. I do not recommend endust or pledge. No need for lemon oil or anything.

    This is the accepted method of proff antique restorers. After you can say I did not refinish the piece I restored the finish. Happy cleaning Glenn

    Thanks so much for posting this information.

    I do have a question for you. Another posting asked about what to do with the treadle that was dusted and rusted, would you be so kind as to give your answer as a posting here? It would help any others reading now and in the future who are searching how to restore their treadle machines and cabinets.

    Thanks so much.

    Pam M

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