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Cleaning and repairing the shellac clear coat on vintage sewing mcahines

Cleaning and repairing the shellac clear coat on vintage sewing mcahines

Old 04-24-2012, 11:44 AM
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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.
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Old 04-24-2012, 03:14 PM
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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.
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Old 04-24-2012, 06:33 PM
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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!
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Old 04-24-2012, 06:41 PM
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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.
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Old 04-25-2012, 08:39 AM
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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.
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Old 12-12-2012, 05:55 AM
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Huge thanks for posting all this wonderful information.
dee
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Old 12-15-2012, 07:39 AM
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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
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Old 12-16-2012, 06:39 AM
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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
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Old 12-16-2012, 08:54 AM
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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
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Old 12-16-2012, 07:51 PM
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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!
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