Cleaning a Bentwood Case

Old 03-13-2020, 12:33 PM
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Default Cleaning a Bentwood Case

I was given a 1928 Singer 99 in a bentwood case. The machine is a bit rough, but I am sure will come out pretty nice with a lot of work. Since I already have a 15-91 taken apart at the moment, I thought I would start with the case of this little machine. The case isn't in too bad of shape, but is so dirty that it is almost black. What would be the best way to clean this case? I kinda assume that the finish is shellac, am I right in this assumption?
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Old 03-13-2020, 02:54 PM
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You can start with something like a good classic furniture polish, with a generous amount of product it lifts up dirt and grime very well. If you want to be extra careful choose something that is approved for shellac. I know some experts have used basic Pledge furniture polish among other brands. These days Renaissance wax is the most trusted, it gives a very stable finish for. Producst like tis will usually get the job done. For the more difficult clean up jobs I know they use a very well wringed up cloth an, even soapy water to get the grime off. It's generally not recommended for daily cleaning, but the grime needs to come off and you amp up the effort as needed. Be careful with the decals, no hard rubbing. You will run into conflicting advice on this. Sellac is in many ways a very hard, durable and easily to clean finish, but it has some weakneses; it doesn't stand up to prolonged exposure to dampness and alcohol will dissolve it.
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Old 03-13-2020, 06:34 PM
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I can't remember the exact proportions, but I was amazed at what I used on a bentwood case with just the Singer letters. I'm thinking it was just mineral spirits and boiled linseed oil. I remember it was very odorous and I left it in the garage for a few days. If I remember correctly, I rubbed down the case and avoided the lettering until the very end and then went over them gently.

On my Weed, table & bonnet, I used the formulas as indicated in https://www.quiltingboard.com/tutori...s-t109859.html In the post above the one I linked to in the "Probably new Work Stand template needed and info Please" thread, I had wiped the inside bonnet and underside of the table with Boiled Linseed Oil and white vinegar. I prefer reviving rather than refinishing. I must admit that I have never really refinished. It is highly unlikely that I would consider refinishing, when reviving works so well, is fairly easy and looks so good.

Janey - Neat people never make the exciting discoveries I do.

Last edited by OurWorkbench; 03-13-2020 at 06:45 PM. Reason: link single post & clarification
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Old 03-13-2020, 06:55 PM
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I have also heard of those that have used equal portions of Mineral Spirits, Vinegar, Boiled Linseed Oil on bentwood cases.

Janey - Neat people never make the exciting discoveries I do.
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Old 03-14-2020, 05:38 AM
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Mine was nasty when I got it. I used Murphy’s Oil Soap. After it was clean I used wax and she looks like new!
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Old 03-14-2020, 07:40 AM
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My grandson used Howard's Restor a Finish cleaner and wax (two separate items) on my 1926 Leader cabinet. It came out beautiful. I've used it on a 1930s dressing table with good results.
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Old 03-14-2020, 08:47 PM
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Thanks OurWorkbench (Janey and/or John) for the info and the link about the cleaning solution. I think it is what would on this case. I don't think it will need refinishing the case is actually in good condition, it is just unbelievably grimy.

Can't wait to see what it looks like once cleaned up.

Tammy
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Old 03-15-2020, 11:22 AM
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Originally Posted by Irishrose2 View Post
My grandson used Howard's Restor a Finish cleaner and wax (two separate items) on my 1926 Leader cabinet. It came out beautiful. I've used it on a 1930s dressing table with good results.
I second Howards. It's found usually at antique stores. It cleans and shines without stripping down the finish.
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Old 03-16-2020, 05:50 PM
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Default Murphy's oil...

I second luvstoquilt -- you'd be shocked how much improvement can be had from just a cleaning with Murphy's oil soap. After that if you want to preserve the patina and not restain or sand down, I can't recommend Renaissance Wax enough (takes some learning how to use it properly but worth it)

Pre-Murphys:

img_5934.jpg

Post-Murphys:
img_6135.jpg

Post-Renaissance Wax
img_6154.jpg
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Old 03-17-2020, 06:17 AM
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Once you get started, you probably will discover how well shellac cleans up. You will spend a few cloths and a bit of product on layers of grime, but if the shellac is in good condition it will clean up relatively easily. If the finish is more worn on damaged, restore products mentioned will give very good results too.
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