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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 04-18-2012, 05:30 PM
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Default Cleaning and repairing the shellac clear coat on vintage sewing mcahines

Supplies needed: Shellac
Denatured alcohol
Linseed oil (boiled)
Rags (old t-shirts or old tighty whites)

1. Clean the head with you favorite method to remove dirt and grime.
2. Wrap you finger with a couple of layers with the t-shirt.
3. dip finger in alcohol and place a few drops of linseed oil on the finger
4. now start rubbing the bed with light circular motions, add more oil if finger sticks to the finish.

We are now melting the old shellac into a smooth coating trying to eliminate the dull brown spots of old shellac.
5.Now go from left to right in a straight line ligthly lifting the finger and the repeat. you can also go from right to left if you like. Now we are trying to get rid of any swirl marks that were left by the rag.

Stay away of the decals at this time. Cont this tech until you have a smooth finish on the entire head.

When you hav a smooth and clear finish on the head(as clear as it will get and you will know)

6. Now go over the the decals with the same method above very lightly.

7. Let this cure for about a day then with new rag on finger dip it in shellac and place a few drops of oil and with a circular motion go over the decals and the head. Cont. dipping finger in shellac and a few drops of linseed oil and do this over the entire head and decals. this is adding more clean shellac to protect the decals and the japan coating. Always ending in the straight line finishing to get rid of the swirl marks made by the rag.

8. Do this until it looks good to you and smooth and shiny. Let cure for a week and then wax if you want. You favorite brand of wax is okay although it is not needed now.

Please note: I recommend you practice this french polish method on an old machine first so you can get the hang of it. Please do not hesitate to ask questions anytime. I am always here to help.
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Old 04-18-2012, 05:43 PM
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Default Before and after treatment

Here you can see the before and after treatment. The last photo is an old used singer oil bottle I load with linseed oil and the little mouthwash bottle is full of denatured alcohol. Makes it easier to but on the finger rag.
Attached Thumbnails shellac-repair-machines-003.jpg   shellac-repair-machines-005.jpg   shellac-repair-machines-006.jpg   shellac-repair-machines-004.jpg  
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Old 04-18-2012, 05:55 PM
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Thank you, Glenn, for putting this in one thread.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:08 PM
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Thanks for the info! This was probably asked before, but I am assuming the linseed oil is to keep the shellac from drying too quickly and give you more working time? This sounds very much like what I've done with a couple of pieces of furniture to "revive" the shellac finish.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:12 PM
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I have a little FW with some of the decals already rubbed off. Would you recommend this method?
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Bennett View Post
Thanks for the info! This was probably asked before, but I am assuming the linseed oil is to keep the shellac from drying too quickly and give you more working time? This sounds very much like what I've done with a couple of pieces of furniture to "revive" the shellac finish.
Yes you are correct the oil gives you more working time and to prevent the rag from sticking to the finish. It is the same tech we use when restoring furniture and French polishing finish.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by AZ Jane View Post
I have a little FW with some of the decals already rubbed off. Would you recommend this method?
This method will not restore the missing decals but will protect the decals that are left. I recommend this on any vintage machine to improve the appearance.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:30 PM
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You may want to add naptha or lighter fluid to the supplies. The naptha is used to wipe the the head to get rid of any oil or cleaning agents used to get the dirt off. Just one wipe down with naptha and a clean rag will do it.
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:36 PM
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My machine has precious little of the decorative decals left....is it madness to completely strip them off? I am not intending to re-sell or anything...
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Old 04-18-2012, 06:41 PM
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Originally Posted by earthwalker View Post
My machine has precious little of the decorative decals left....is it madness to completely strip them off? I am not intending to re-sell or anything...
This is a matter of personal choice, I would not if it was my choice. I would just clean it up and use it like it is.
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