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Cleaning and repairing the Shellac clear coat on Vintage sewing machine heads

Cleaning and repairing the Shellac clear coat on Vintage sewing machine heads

Old 07-25-2012, 10:43 AM
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Sam, the decals on the machine are in good shape. All you need to do is clean them with sewing machine oil but very gently and they should be just fine.
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Glenn View Post
Use my tutorial on cleaning and reviving sewing machine cabinets first. After this cleaning you will be abel to see what is needed in repairs and to the finish. Please post a pic of the machine and cabinet on this thread so I can see what needs to be done and can advise you better.
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Thanks Glenn, here are a couple of pictures of my old girl. I want to clean her and use her, but dont want to wipe out her character, I still want to show her wrinkles! I have removed the drawers for cleaning
I have cleaned and oiled the machine today, and with a bit of twiddleing with the tension she sews like a dream!jones-machine.jpg
jones-cabinet.jpg
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Old 07-25-2012, 02:44 PM
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Enachantedglass, Use solution one for cleaning the cabinet. then when done and dry look it over it may not be as bad as you think. If you need to glue down veneer or replace some now is the time to do it. After that use solution 2 to revive the finish and if it looks good then apply a coat of wax. I use briwax(dark). Don't use minwax or johnson paste wax. Any paste wax from antique stores will work but I prefer Briwax. The decals on the machine need to be cleaned with sewing machine oil. You can do the black with my tut on this thread but be sure and apply a coat of shellac over the decals to protect them. You can use a Q-tip and clean around them if you like. You can touch up the missing black japan with instructions on this thread also.(aniline dye alcohol base bought in powder form from wood workers cat.)
The irons I would clean with a small wire brush(about the size of a toothbrush from Harbor Frieght). then spray the irons with a rust converter like Extend(from auto store) Smooth down with steel wool after curing for a day or two. The rust converter will turn the rust black so you may not have to do anything further but to polish them up with wax or wipe them down with liquid gold(Lowes) You can paint them if you like but I never do. If at any time you have a question while working on the cabinet or machine stop and ask. That what's this thread is for. Remember our goal here is not to refinish(although sometimes this is needed) but to restore and to make them pretty as can be and functional. I wish I could get rid of all my wrinkles to but that will not happen. Have fun with this project you have a nice machine there.

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Last edited by Glenn; 07-25-2012 at 02:47 PM.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:08 PM
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Thank you!

I have cleaned the machine as in Muv's vidio, and it looks Ok, not perfect but its clean so I think I will leave it at that for now.
I will tackle the cabinet tomorrow as you suggest, and I do have some briwax so will use that after solution 2 if it looks OK.

I dont really want to paint the iron, and will polish it, what sort of polish should I use?

Thanks again, I will post more photos as work progresses
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Enchantedglass View Post
Thank you!

I have cleaned the machine as in Muv's vidio, and it looks Ok, not perfect but its clean so I think I will leave it at that for now.
I will tackle the cabinet tomorrow as you suggest, and I do have some briwax so will use that after solution 2 if it looks OK.

I dont really want to paint the iron, and will polish it, what sort of polish should I use?

Thanks again, I will post more photos as work progresses
You can use briwax, black shoe polish(paste) stove polish, etc I have also used regular liquid funiture polish that contains a wax. You can even polish with linseed oil. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

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Old 07-25-2012, 04:45 PM
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I think Vintagemotif maybe someone else on the baord used shoe polish with good results to.
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Old 07-25-2012, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Glenn View Post
I think Vintagemotif maybe someone else on the baord used shoe polish with good results to.
Glenn, It was Laura, aka NurseknitsLaura, that uses the shoe polish. I have only use shoe polish on shoes.
If is were to clean up my treadle irons, I would follow your method that you suggested.
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:51 AM
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I have treated the iron to rust converter that my DH had in his car repair workshop, and it looks nice and black now. I will leave it for a day or so before deciding how to finish it.

The wood is looking good so far
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Old 07-26-2012, 12:25 PM
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Well she is nearly finished, the cabinet wasnt as bad as I thought, and the iron has just had rust converter on it so far, but looks much better already.

One or 2 things to sort out, one of the handle drops is missing, but DH says he can make one, I need to fit the belt, and the extension table is missing its support, so wont stay extended, and I am not sure how to fix it, or what to use.

The old lady is looking OK for about 117 years old!
almost-finished-006.jpgcleaned-up-head-011.jpg
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Old 07-26-2012, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Enchantedglass View Post
Well she is nearly finished, the cabinet wasnt as bad as I thought, and the iron has just had rust converter on it so far, but looks much better already.

One or 2 things to sort out, one of the handle drops is missing, but DH says he can make one, I need to fit the belt, and the extension table is missing its support, so wont stay extended, and I am not sure how to fix it, or what to use.

The old lady is looking OK for about 117 years old!
Beautifully done!!! You can find from time to time a hinge that will fit under the extension table on sale on ebay. Or just google around to find who is selling those type of parts. Here is a link to one seller that may have what you are looking for: http://www.sewingdownmemorylane.com/Pages/default.aspx. I had to do that with one of my cabinets. Until you find that bracket, you can always use an ironing board set up to hold the extension out. That is what I did for a temp solution.

Again, BEAUTIFULLY done! She looks royal! Let us know how well she sews.

Last edited by vintagemotif; 07-26-2012 at 01:30 PM.
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