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

  1. #26
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    You'll be surprised how nice these machines take to this kind of treatment. Here is a Vindex Special Glenn coached us through.
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    I don't have a before picture but I have an almost before picture. It is a pic of one in the condition the Vindex Special was in - it is setting in front of the Vindex Special:
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    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  2. #27
    Super Member jeaninmaine's Avatar
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    Thanks Glenn. I've saved all this so that I'll have it whenever I need it.

  3. #28
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    If your machines are fairly clean and the decals are good. Before you try my method please go to MUV's video on cleaning vintage machines. She is extremely good at cleaning the old ladies. My methods are for really grimey and machines that are in rough shape. MUV knows a lot about these machines and has the same love for them as I do. Please do look at her videos first so you can make a choice as which way to go. Thank you..
    Skip
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  4. #29
    Super Member jeaninmaine's Avatar
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    I have a Singer 66 Redeye and a very old Davis treadle from around 1885 that are both in VERY sad shape.

  5. #30
    Senior Member quiltdoctor's Avatar
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    Another great tutorial, Glenn !! Can't wait to be able to try it out when I am able to.

    Texas Jan

  6. #31
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn View Post
    Caroline you have a very good machine for my method of cleaning and bringin it back. Just make sure sure you clean the mechanics first then after the dish soap bath clean the decals with sewing machine oil then wipe the thing down with naptha to remove the oil. Now you can to the shellac tech. Have fun with it.
    Skip
    Your Brunswick is just like my Alvah! Holler and I'll even help you. I love that machine.
    Annette

    There is no fireside like your own fireside.

  7. #32
    Super Member cabbagepatchkid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn View Post
    Caroline you have a very good machine for my method of cleaning and bringin it back. Just make sure sure you clean the mechanics first then after the dish soap bath clean the decals with sewing machine oil then wipe the thing down with naptha to remove the oil. Now you can to the shellac tech. Have fun with it.
    Skip
    Will the rusty metal parts to Caroline's machine be able to be brought back to shiny like your machine, Glenn? I have a New home machine with rusty metal parts and never thought to use a dremel .

    Also, in the first pic you have a container of Naptha. What did you use it for? I have looked through the tutorial a couple of times and can't find what it was used for. Thanks so much for putting this tute together . I have most of the stuff that I need and will get the rest and get started on my New Home.
    ~~Cathy~~

  8. #33
    Senior Member pippi65's Avatar
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    What a great save!! It gives people hope that although the machine looks really ratty it can be saved. You are really dedicated. Nice Job!!
    Be kinder than necessary,everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle.

  9. #34
    Super Member BuzzinBumble's Avatar
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    What you've done is so impressive! Thank you for sharing your technique!

  10. #35
    Super Member SewExtremeSeams's Avatar
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    Thank you, thank you! What a great tute. I have a question about my Jones Hand Machine. I am afraid to touch it anymore since even putting my finger on the decals lightly, the gold comes off, especially around the top part of the base as in this photo. Should I do your thin layer shellacing first?
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    Linda

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  11. #36
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cabbagepatchkid View Post
    Will the rusty metal parts to Caroline's machine be able to be brought back to shiny like your machine, Glenn? I have a New home machine with rusty metal parts and never thought to use a dremel .

    Also, in the first pic you have a container of Naptha. What did you use it for? I have looked through the tutorial a couple of times and can't find what it was used for. Thanks so much for putting this tute together . I have most of the stuff that I need and will get the rest and get started on my New Home.
    I am sorry the naptha is used to remove any oil on the suface of the machine before doing the shellac thing. The rusty parts need to be soaked in Evaporust to remove the rust. Then I polish with Brasso and a buffing wheel on the demel to a high shine. If the rust has pitted the chrome they can't be polished out but will be less noticeable after polish. As I said I use Brasso but you can use your favorite metal polish. If you look closely at the Franklin you can see pitted areas in the shiny metal. Hope this helps.
    Skip
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  12. #37
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SewExtremeSeams View Post
    Thank you, thank you! What a great tute. I have a question about my Jones Hand Machine. I am afraid to touch it anymore since even putting my finger on the decals lightly, the gold comes off, especially around the top part of the base as in this photo. Should I do your thin layer shellacing first?
    If the decal is this delicate, I would get a can of spray shellac (clear) from Lowes or HDepot and sray a light coat over them before cleaning. If you use my finger method it might take them off. Spraying will glue them down for you.

    Skip
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  13. #38
    Super Member SewExtremeSeams's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn View Post
    If the decal is this delicate, I would get a can of spray shellac (clear) from Lowes or HDepot and sray a light coat over them before cleaning. If you use my finger method it might take them off. Spraying will glue them down for you.

    Skip
    Thank you Skip. I will try that.

    Linda

    Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind, but now I see.
    [John Newton (1725-1807)]

    http://sewextremeseams.blogspot.com/

  14. #39
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    Thanks for this tut. I will be of great help to a lot of us. I, too, wondered about the Naphtha. Thanks for clearing that up.
    Last edited by blueheavenfla; 07-06-2012 at 10:55 AM.

  15. #40
    Super Member vintagemotif's Avatar
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    Glenn, Thank you for taking the time posting this tutorial!

  16. #41
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    Glenn, thank you so much for posting this tut. Do you think I would be able to use it clean up this Pfaff? Other than the 2 bad spots, it's not in bad shape. Thanks, Bobbie
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  17. #42
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by grannysewer View Post
    Glenn, thank you so much for posting this tut. Do you think I would be able to use it clean up this Pfaff? Other than the 2 bad spots, it's not in bad shape. Thanks, Bobbie
    Bobbie you sure can. Just make sure you remove the loose japan and paint it with the aniline dye stain I described and then polish with the shellac technique and it should come out fine. Skip
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  18. #43
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    Glenn, your time has been well spent here. There are tons of vintage machines that will be salvaged due to this thread. While most folks treasure looks over function, this method of restoration will be sure that each is worthy of best of both worlds!

    Just remember folks, these machines have history worthy of saving, stitch by stitch. Each time you "fix" a machine to increase its value, even if it is just its looks, a wee bit of the past is saved. Our young ones are paying attention, to be sure!
    Annette

    There is no fireside like your own fireside.

  19. #44
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redbugsullivan View Post
    Glenn, your time has been well spent here. There are tons of vintage machines that will be salvaged due to this thread. While most folks treasure looks over function, this method of restoration will be sure that each is worthy of best of both worlds!

    Just remember folks, these machines have history worthy of saving, stitch by stitch. Each time you "fix" a machine to increase its value, even if it is just its looks, a wee bit of the past is saved. Our young ones are paying attention, to be sure!
    I could not agree more. There will never be machines like these made ever again. They are so well made. Clean them up and fix the finish.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  20. #45
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    Great thread.

    I am a bit confused though.

    Why don't you use lacquer rather than shellac. I use lacquer and spray it when I'm completed with paint restoration, then buff. The key question is?

    Did Singer et. al. use clear lacquer or shellac?

    Thanks,

    Dan

  21. #46
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanofNJ View Post
    Great thread.

    I am a bit confused though.

    Why don't you use lacquer rather than shellac. I use lacquer and spray it when I'm completed with paint restoration, then buff. The key question is?

    Did Singer et. al. use clear lacquer or shellac?

    Dan
    singer used shellac not lacquer I use only the original finish on these machines. I touch up the japan with alcohol based aniline dye mixed with shellac. i never repaint a machine. I always restore with the original products.
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  22. #47
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    Didn't realize that they used shellac...I will start using it too then...great help.

    Dan

  23. #48
    Senior Member redbugsullivan's Avatar
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    Since I have now cleaned 2 machines using this method, here is a useful tip. When cleaning those areas that have heavy residue embedded in the japan, apply the alcohol/linseed mix and wait half a minute. You can sure tell when the grunge is ready to be wiped off! It starts to get tacky instead of just waiting for a quick wipe. Then, I apply a bit more of the mix with a cotton swab on the worst areas only. The results are amazing!

    I also use those blue shop/paper towels instead of fabric. Yes, they cost more but I find myself doing a neater job when working. Instead of searching for a clean area of the rag, I grab a new towel! No lint, great at holding the mixture in one spot instead of bleeding through to larger areas. Plus, this way I don't have to go searching through my DH rag bag!!
    Annette

    There is no fireside like your own fireside.

  24. #49
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by redbugsullivan View Post
    Since I have now cleaned 2 machines using this method, here is a useful tip. When cleaning those areas that have heavy residue embedded in the japan, apply the alcohol/linseed mix and wait half a minute. You can sure tell when the grunge is ready to be wiped off! It starts to get tacky instead of just waiting for a quick wipe. Then, I apply a bit more of the mix with a cotton swab on the worst areas only. The results are amazing!

    I also use those blue shop/paper towels instead of fabric. Yes, they cost more but I find myself doing a neater job when working. Instead of searching for a clean area of the rag, I grab a new towel! No lint, great at holding the mixture in one spot instead of bleeding through to larger areas. Plus, this way I don't have to go searching through my DH rag bag!!
    Great tip redbugs. thanks Skip
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  25. #50
    Super Member nanna-up-north's Avatar
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    Skip, great tut, as always. I so appreciate your advice. I'm wondering though where to look for evaporrust. My DH and son left some fishing lures down in the boat last week and the hooks got rusty from the heavy rain that came down. I'm thinking that soaking the hooks in evaporrust might be the solution to the problem. If the hooks aren't sharp (and rust sure makes them dull) the fish don't get caught. I've got to find a way to get the rust off. Then, I can use evaporrust on the machines I find as well.

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