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-   -   Cleaning and repairing the Shellac clear coat on Vintage sewing machine heads (https://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage-antique-machine-enthusiasts-f22/cleaning-repairing-shellac-clear-coat-vintage-sewing-machine-heads-t193635.html)

tropit 02-13-2014 05:01 PM

OK...I'll try this method during the weekend. We're in the middle of a rain storm, so it's not a good time to paint right now. I'll check back with you when I get a little further along. Thanks so much for all of your help. :)
~ Cindy

tropit 02-14-2014 04:59 AM


A couple more questions...What type of paint do you recommend? Enamel? Lacquer? I'm thinking auto paint. Do you really think that I can get a good, smooth surface with a can of paint? I'm a tad worried about that. Maybe I need an airbrush. I hope that I can match up the black.
~ Cindy

Glenn 02-14-2014 05:42 AM

I use auto spray paint and you can use an airbrush. If you use the airbrush I recommend testors gloss black from a craft store if you can find it large enough quantities to use. I have used both methods and they work fine. Just lay the paint down in several thin coats. You may have to wet sand between coats to get a very smooth finish. Lacquer is better.

tropit 02-15-2014 07:07 AM

I found an interesting site about asphaltum paints and japanning. While I'm not planning to do this to my FW because it would be too costly, (afterall, it's not like they only made a 100 of them,) I do think that this might be a good solution for an older, more rare machine. Liberty on the Hudson. They sell Pontypool japanning paint.

tropit 02-15-2014 07:31 AM

Here's another good resource about japanning. This person collects woodworking hand tools and has two methods of japanning. The first is very similar to Glenn's method. It's a more a up to date process, using modern paints, etc. (Note that he uses auto engine paint.) The second method is the more traditional way. It concerns me that he actually uses a brush to apply the asphaltum paint. Anyway, it think that it's very informative and right on target with Glenn's advice, so I'm following that Glenn; although, I think I'll try the engine paint for my base coat.

~ Cindy

SteveH 02-15-2014 08:03 AM

Originally Posted by tropit (Post 6576281)
... It concerns me that he actually uses a brush to apply the asphaltum paint. https://home.comcast.net/~rexmill/pl.../japanning.htm

~ Cindy

The only way you could be "more correct" would be to make enough to dip it. That is what they did.....

redapple 02-15-2014 09:29 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Hello Everyone,

I have been learning a lot about cleaning up a vintage sewing machine. I don't have any of the classic Singers yet, but I have my eye on one - it's a treadle. I don't really have room for a treadle in my house (and they are so heavy!) but the machine looks so nice - decals look perfect and the cabinet is in great shape. However, when I look at photos of the machine, there seems to be a weird pattern of 'white' splotches on it...it doesn't look like dust because the splotches are circular with a white pin prick in the center. I haven't seen the machine in person and probably won't be able to before deciding to buy it. Can anyone tell me what these white splotches are and can they be removed? I've attached a close-up photo.


miriam 02-16-2014 02:45 AM

Glenn's method will fix that.

redapple 02-16-2014 08:19 AM

Do you know what it is? Corrosion? It looks like a fungus!

miriam 02-16-2014 08:24 AM

Originally Posted by redapple (Post 6578216)
Do you know what it is? Corrosion? It looks like a fungus!

Where do you see corrosion? The white blotches in the black finish are probably from moisture - they will smooth out with the chemicals and the process Glenn uses. You might not want to spend a whole lot of money on the machine just because you are having to work it over extensively.

I just spent all day yesterday and so far today on an 1892 Singer 15-30 - it is coming along - I'm not satisfied with the finish yet. I'm thinking it needs a lot more shellac because there is none on there to rework.

We got our nightly snow last night - everybody is shut in again... grr

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