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Thread: Cleaning and repairing the shellac clear coat on vintage sewing mcahines

  1. #51
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    I have a question. I have a 1952 singer 201 that I have recently brought back from our other house. In my enthusiaum to clean it, I have removed what I assume to be the shellac. So now is it better to remove the rest of it or to do as the tutorial here in this forum suggests? I only ask because I saw directions on how to remove it and wondered if it was better to remove it and start over or just start with what little is left? Any thoughts would be appreciated.

  2. #52
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CynthiaG View Post
    I have a question. I have a 1952 singer 201 that I have recently brought back from our other house. In my enthusiaum to clean it, I have removed what I assume to be the shellac. So now is it better to remove the rest of it or to do as the tutorial here in this forum suggests? I only ask because I saw directions on how to remove it and wondered if it was better to remove it and start over or just start with what little is left? Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    No you don't have to remove all the shellac. you can add more and even out the finsih by using the istructions in the thread I started.
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  3. #53
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    Thank you Glenn! I just spent some time reading up on shellac and am going to try your tutorial method.
    Shellac is an animal product, a resin secreted from the Coccus lacca (lac beetle), a scale that feeds on certain trees in India and southern Asia.After hatching, the nifty little bug snoops around for a place to eat, selecting a stem or leaf as its breakfast counter. It has a sharp teensy beak, and it uses that to puncture the tissue of the plant, and settle in for a lifetime of sucking nourishment.
    After feeding, the insect secretes a resin, which dries and hardens into a protective covering called lac. The lac is collected, crushed, washed, and dried. After cleaning and heating, it is drawn into thin sheets of finished shellac.
    The level of refinement, the timing of harvest, and source of the lac, determine the specification color that comes to you, the happy woodworker.
    Something kind of magical about spreading bug juice on a sewing machine too!

  4. #54
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Shellac is a green product and glad you spent some time learning about it. It has been used in the the furniture industry for centuries and is use in antique restoration. BTW did you know it is food safe after curing and used on salad bowls etc.
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  5. #55
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn View Post
    No you don't have to remove all the shellac. you can add more and even out the finsih by using the istructions in the thread I started.

    Thank you, I should have left it alone. Hopefully I can semi-repair the damage and make her beautiful again.

  6. #56
    Super Member craftiladi's Avatar
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    Huge thanks for posting all this wonderful information.
    dee
    Dee Lowe
    Las Vegas Nv.

  7. #57
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    Thank you Glenn for this tutorial.

    I recently homed a 111 year old 28k who was quite dirty, I cleaned her up with sewing machine oil until she looked respectable again and then I waxed her - oh no! disaster! I used the same wax (Simoniz car wax) that I used on a 201k and 99k with good results on both, I even did a test patch on the 28k which looked good too, then I whacked on the wax all over and within minutes most of the machine looked like it was covered in a dark brown fine crackle glaze, I was gutted. I decided to give her up and popped her into the garage so that she was out of sight, then I re-read your tutorial and realised I had a chance to put right my mistake. I am delighted with the results and would never have believed I could have done it (well I couldn't have done it without your help) she looks lovely again. I've also cleaned up her case using your wood recipe and tutorial. Now I just have to keep my hands off her for a week while she cures.

    Clare

  8. #58
    Super Member BoJangles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Littlebearquiltingboard View Post
    Thank you Glenn for this tutorial.

    I recently homed a 111 year old 28k who was quite dirty, I cleaned her up with sewing machine oil until she looked respectable again and then I waxed her - oh no! disaster! I used the same wax (Simoniz car wax) that I used on a 201k and 99k with good results on both, I even did a test patch on the 28k which looked good too, then I whacked on the wax all over and within minutes most of the machine looked like it was covered in a dark brown fine crackle glaze, I was gutted. I decided to give her up and popped her into the garage so that she was out of sight, then I re-read your tutorial and realised I had a chance to put right my mistake. I am delighted with the results and would never have believed I could have done it (well I couldn't have done it without your help) she looks lovely again. I've also cleaned up her case using your wood recipe and tutorial. Now I just have to keep my hands off her for a week while she cures.

    Clare
    Clare, we'd love to see some before and after pictures? It is so much fun to see one of these old machines come to life again!

    Nancy

  9. #59
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    Nancy, I do wish I had taken some before pictures - I need to learn some patience! I still have a bit of metal work to polish up and when I have done that I will post some photos.

    Clare

  10. #60
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    Thank you for this information and for the photos! I have been desperately searching for a way to clean up my White Rotary. Some of the decals have already been silvered and I want to preserve the rest. I will try this!

  11. #61
    Senior Member Cecilia S.'s Avatar
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    Dear Glenn, Thanks for this tutorial. I am preparing to possibly do this to my F & R handcrank, which is now working beautifully mechanically, but has rough spots where I can see shellac flaking up, mostly gone, some remaining. If I could possibly ask a few questions to clarify, I would really appreciate your wisdom...

    1) I have some "Circa 1850" food-grade wood-finishing oil, sold at Lee Valley; it does not list its ingredients, only to say it is pure oil, no other ingredients. It is quite a viscous oil, as compared with tung oil, for example. Do you think it is okay to use this instead of the linseed oil? (I would love to be able to use what I have, and not purchase more bottles of stuff!)

    2) I have some stick shellac; I have used this in other applications, but never for wood finishing etc. Am I correct that I simply crush it up and stir with alcohol in order to make liquid shellac?

    3) The rubbing alcohol, I thought, would take off decals; I presume this is why you say just to go over the rough spots and avoid the decals?

    4) Naptha, won't this also take off decals? I was wondering how to clean off the gunk (sewing machine oil, wax, etc) which is on the machine now, and then I read your recommendation of naptha; I do have some white gasoline at my disposal, however, could you please advise me as to what -not- to do with it, in terms of wrecking the decals and finish? I am confused because I thought that naptha was to be kept far far away from a decalled/japanned finish.

    Many thanks in advance, if you are able to advise.

    -Cecilia.
    -Cecilia. Tinkering more than stitching, really.

  12. #62
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cecilia S. View Post
    Dear Glenn, Thanks for this tutorial. I am preparing to possibly do this to my F & R handcrank, which is now working beautifully mechanically, but has rough spots where I can see shellac flaking up, mostly gone, some remaining. If I could possibly ask a few questions to clarify, I would really appreciate your wisdom...

    1) I have some "Circa 1850" food-grade wood-finishing oil, sold at Lee Valley; it does not list its ingredients, only to say it is pure oil, no other ingredients. It is quite a viscous oil, as compared with tung oil, for example. Do you think it is okay to use this instead of the linseed oil? (I would love to be able to use what I have, and not purchase more bottles of stuff!)

    2) I have some stick shellac; I have used this in other applications, but never for wood finishing etc. Am I correct that I simply crush it up and stir with alcohol in order to make liquid shellac?

    3) The rubbing alcohol, I thought, would take off decals; I presume this is why you say just to go over the rough spots and avoid the decals?

    4) Naptha, won't this also take off decals? I was wondering how to clean off the gunk (sewing machine oil, wax, etc) which is on the machine now, and then I read your recommendation of naptha; I do have some white gasoline at my disposal, however, could you please advise me as to what -not- to do with it, in terms of wrecking the decals and finish? I am confused because I thought that naptha was to be kept far far away from a decalled/japanned finish.

    Many thanks in advance, if you are able to advise.

    -Cecilia.
    I sent you an answer to your PM
    Skip
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  13. #63
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    This machine looks like Glenn already got to it....
    http://sfbay.craigslist.org/sfc/hsh/4161527786.html
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  14. #64
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    Wow, so this is what they looked like! Wow, absolutely beautiful. And he's selling it for a decent price, too.
    Bernina 640, Singer 201-3, Singer Centennial 15-91, Tin Lizzie 26" long arm

  15. #65
    Senior Member leakus's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tute.
    :-( I wish I was a full time quilter!
    Andrea (Margate, FL)

  16. #66
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    OK Glenn, I am reading and practicing this in my mind, gearing up to try it. I have some questions for you. * I have a sick grandbaby today, so it won't be today.

    1. I read I should wipe the machine down with Naptha before starting. Won't this damage the decals if the clear coat has failed?

    1.a After the alcohol and linseed oil and I have waited a day, do I need to wipe down with the Naptha again before the next step?

    2. My machine has large bubbles in the clear coat and some are cracking and bits flaking off. Should I rub them to remove any bits first or will the alcohol melt it in and help it blend?

    3. Do you do the whole machine? Even the belt guard part? How do you get things smoothed into little corners?
    Christy
    Starting the year out fresh

  17. #67
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    Naptha will not hurt the decals. After the alcohol and linseed treatment and if you are going to follow this with the shellac french polish no need to wipe it down with naptha again. The alcohol and linseed treatment should reduce the appearance of the bubbles and blend them in. This will take some time so go slow. I do the entire machine and use Q-tip for the corners and tight places.
    Skip
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  18. #68
    Super Member Mrs. SewNSew's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn View Post
    Naptha will not hurt the decals. After the alcohol and linseed treatment and if you are going to follow this with the shellac french polish no need to wipe it down with naptha again. The alcohol and linseed treatment should reduce the appearance of the bubbles and blend them in. This will take some time so go slow. I do the entire machine and use Q-tip for the corners and tight places.
    Skip
    Ahhh good! I worried a Q-tip might leave little fibers but wasn't sure how it was all going to blend together. I'm looking forward to giving this a try! Thank you so much for all your help.
    Christy
    Starting the year out fresh

  19. #69
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    You are most welcome.
    Skip
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  20. #70
    Super Member audsgirl's Avatar
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    Thanks, Glenn. You described the process very well.

    Leslie

  21. #71
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    It looks like someone put red nail polish on the machine - how do I get that off with out ruining the finish?
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    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.

  22. #72
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    Hi Miriam, I would use finger nail polish remover. It has some oil in it so it will not be hard on the finish. Although it is acetone the oil in it will help. If you use pure acetone it will remove the shellac. Go easy with a Q-tip.
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  23. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Glenn View Post
    Hi Miriam, I would use finger nail polish remover. It has some oil in it so it will not be hard on the finish. Although it is acetone the oil in it will help. If you use pure acetone it will remove the shellac. Go easy with a Q-tip.
    Glenn, how about the non acetone polish remover, would that work and be better for the machine?

    Cari

  24. #74
    Super Member Glenn's Avatar
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    It might but the non acetone remover is for the acrylic polish not the the old lacquer polish. So you will have to try it to see if it will remove the polish. If the polish is on an old balck machine I am sure it might be the old finger nail polish. I hope it works.
    Glenn W. Cleveland

  25. #75
    Super Member Cari-in-Oly's Avatar
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    I used to do nails. Non acetone remover is for acrylic(fake) nails, it doesn't matter what type of polish. Acetone will melt the fake nails.

    Cari

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