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-   For Vintage & Antique Machine Enthusiasts (https://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage-antique-machine-enthusiasts-f22/)
-   -   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)

BarbM32 07-23-2012 02:31 PM

I am so impressed. Having been raised in the manufacturing business of sewing machine cabinets I was also aware of the wholesale and retail part of sewing machines. HOWEVER, at no time was I involved in the process of restoring the beautiful old machine heads and did not have a clue as to what to do for the major overhaul. I did repair machines but no restoration so I do thank you for all this wonderful valuable information. You are a dear for passing it along to the rest of us. I do have a 1911 White in need. I had the gorgeous cabinet restored professionally about 30 years ago so now maybe I could work on the head. Thank you again. BarbM32

vintagemotif 07-23-2012 02:44 PM


Originally Posted by Glenn (Post 5388410)
KittyKat, I always test an area to see how will the decals will hold up or if they need a coat of shellac to protect them. Vintagemotif is right sometime all you can use on the decals is machine oil. I do this also when I know the decals will not hold up. But I always clean the black Japan.

Glenn, I have found that there are just some vintage machines that don't like to be messed with. They take on their own personality... and with that comes loving old age. :)

Glenn 07-23-2012 02:51 PM


Originally Posted by vintagemotif (Post 5388509)
Glenn, I have found that there are just some vintage machines that don't like to be messed with. They take on their own personality... and with that comes loving old age. :)

Vintagemotif, you are so so right some of these old ladies just want to be old ladies with a little make up of sewing machine oil. They just want to loved and used as they were meant to be.:thumbup:

KittyKat77 07-23-2012 03:20 PM


Originally Posted by Glenn (Post 5388523)
Vintagemotif, you are so so right some of these old ladies just want to be old ladies with a little make up of sewing machine oil. They just want to loved and used as they were meant to be.:thumbup:

Haha Glenn this makes a lot of sense.

My Mom and I were talking about possible names for this machine, and one of her suggestions was Bette, after Bette Davis. It seems her personality may favor that option.

Glenn 07-23-2012 04:19 PM


Originally Posted by KittyKat77 (Post 5388597)
Haha Glenn this makes a lot of sense.

My Mom and I were talking about possible names for this machine, and one of her suggestions was Bette, after Bette Davis. It seems her personality may favor that option.

Bette Davis is a great name for this machine, her decals are a little fiesty like Miss Davis. Sorry she has caused you some trouble but that is Bette for you:D

Glenn 07-23-2012 04:46 PM

:D

Vintagemotif and KittyKat bring up a good point. My technique is not a cure all and will not restore bad decals or make them look new again but will brighten them, they do need to be cleaned well with sewing machine oil(decals). Remember they have tarnished with age so keep this in mind when they don't seem as clean and bright as you think they should be.
After cleaning apply shellac over them to protect them. Some decals are so brittle and basically rotten from age there is nothing you can for them but to leave them as is. the basic head japan black can be cleaned up well and will shine again but don't expect to get all the crazying out, although it will smooth out a lot. Are goal is to make the machine clean and pretty without ruining the original patina of age. All my old age wrinkles can't be smoothed either.:D This is not a miracle cure but it will make it look much better and in keeping with antique restoration techniques without devalueing the machine. Skip

Enchantedglass 07-24-2012 06:16 AM

Thank you so much for the tutorial Glenn, very useful as I have just rescued an old Jones treadle from death at the dump!

Do you have any tips on restoring the wooden table and coffin top, also the metal treadle?

Glenn 07-25-2012 07:27 AM


Originally Posted by Enchantedglass (Post 5390006)
Thank you so much for the tutorial Glenn, very useful as I have just rescued an old Jones treadle from death at the dump!

Do you have any tips on restoring the wooden table and coffin top, also the metal treadle?

Use my tutorial on cleaning and reviving sewing machine cabinets first. After this cleaning you will be abel to see what is needed in repairs and to the finish. Please post a pic of the machine and cabinet on this thread so I can see what needs to be done and can advise you better.
Skip

Christine- 07-25-2012 07:37 AM

Oh yes, I'd love to see it too!

sammygirlqt 07-25-2012 10:30 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Thanks Glenn for this excellent tutorial. I have a 301 that has lots of pin scratches and I think your plan will improve it's appearance.

Here is my 1904 15-91 treadle with it's delicate decals. Do you think I can touch them with machine oil? I love sewing on this machine.

Glenn 07-25-2012 10:43 AM

Sam, the decals on the machine are in good shape. All you need to do is clean them with sewing machine oil but very gently and they should be just fine.

Enchantedglass 07-25-2012 12:26 PM

2 Attachment(s)

Originally Posted by Glenn (Post 5393023)
Use my tutorial on cleaning and reviving sewing machine cabinets first. After this cleaning you will be abel to see what is needed in repairs and to the finish. Please post a pic of the machine and cabinet on this thread so I can see what needs to be done and can advise you better.
Skip

Thanks Glenn, here are a couple of pictures of my old girl. I want to clean her and use her, but dont want to wipe out her character, I still want to show her wrinkles! I have removed the drawers for cleaning
I have cleaned and oiled the machine today, and with a bit of twiddleing with the tension she sews like a dream![ATTACH=CONFIG]351440[/ATTACH]
[ATTACH=CONFIG]351441[/ATTACH]

Glenn 07-25-2012 02:44 PM

Enachantedglass, Use solution one for cleaning the cabinet. then when done and dry look it over it may not be as bad as you think. If you need to glue down veneer or replace some now is the time to do it. After that use solution 2 to revive the finish and if it looks good then apply a coat of wax. I use briwax(dark). Don't use minwax or johnson paste wax. Any paste wax from antique stores will work but I prefer Briwax. The decals on the machine need to be cleaned with sewing machine oil. You can do the black with my tut on this thread but be sure and apply a coat of shellac over the decals to protect them. You can use a Q-tip and clean around them if you like. You can touch up the missing black japan with instructions on this thread also.(aniline dye alcohol base bought in powder form from wood workers cat.)
The irons I would clean with a small wire brush(about the size of a toothbrush from Harbor Frieght). then spray the irons with a rust converter like Extend(from auto store) Smooth down with steel wool after curing for a day or two. The rust converter will turn the rust black so you may not have to do anything further but to polish them up with wax or wipe them down with liquid gold(Lowes) You can paint them if you like but I never do. If at any time you have a question while working on the cabinet or machine stop and ask. That what's this thread is for. Remember our goal here is not to refinish(although sometimes this is needed) but to restore and to make them pretty as can be and functional. I wish I could get rid of all my wrinkles to but that will not happen.:D Have fun with this project you have a nice machine there.

Skip

Enchantedglass 07-25-2012 04:08 PM

Thank you!

I have cleaned the machine as in Muv's vidio, and it looks Ok, not perfect but its clean so I think I will leave it at that for now.
I will tackle the cabinet tomorrow as you suggest, and I do have some briwax so will use that after solution 2 if it looks OK.

I dont really want to paint the iron, and will polish it, what sort of polish should I use?

Thanks again, I will post more photos as work progresses:)

Glenn 07-25-2012 04:43 PM


Originally Posted by Enchantedglass (Post 5394277)
Thank you!

I have cleaned the machine as in Muv's vidio, and it looks Ok, not perfect but its clean so I think I will leave it at that for now.
I will tackle the cabinet tomorrow as you suggest, and I do have some briwax so will use that after solution 2 if it looks OK.

I dont really want to paint the iron, and will polish it, what sort of polish should I use?

Thanks again, I will post more photos as work progresses:)

You can use briwax, black shoe polish(paste) stove polish, etc I have also used regular liquid funiture polish that contains a wax. You can even polish with linseed oil. Looking forward to seeing your progress.

Skip

Glenn 07-25-2012 04:45 PM

I think Vintagemotif maybe someone else on the baord used shoe polish with good results to.

vintagemotif 07-25-2012 07:43 PM


Originally Posted by Glenn (Post 5394352)
I think Vintagemotif maybe someone else on the baord used shoe polish with good results to.

Glenn, It was Laura, aka NurseknitsLaura, that uses the shoe polish. I have only use shoe polish on shoes.:)
If is were to clean up my treadle irons, I would follow your method that you suggested.

Enchantedglass 07-26-2012 12:51 AM

I have treated the iron to rust converter that my DH had in his car repair workshop, and it looks nice and black now. I will leave it for a day or so before deciding how to finish it.

The wood is looking good so far:)

Enchantedglass 07-26-2012 12:25 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Well she is nearly finished, the cabinet wasnt as bad as I thought, and the iron has just had rust converter on it so far, but looks much better already.

One or 2 things to sort out, one of the handle drops is missing, but DH says he can make one, I need to fit the belt, and the extension table is missing its support, so wont stay extended, and I am not sure how to fix it, or what to use.

The old lady is looking OK for about 117 years old!
[ATTACH=CONFIG]351619[/ATTACH][ATTACH=CONFIG]351620[/ATTACH]

vintagemotif 07-26-2012 01:21 PM


Originally Posted by Enchantedglass (Post 5396592)
Well she is nearly finished, the cabinet wasnt as bad as I thought, and the iron has just had rust converter on it so far, but looks much better already.

One or 2 things to sort out, one of the handle drops is missing, but DH says he can make one, I need to fit the belt, and the extension table is missing its support, so wont stay extended, and I am not sure how to fix it, or what to use.

The old lady is looking OK for about 117 years old!

Beautifully done!!! You can find from time to time a hinge that will fit under the extension table on sale on ebay. Or just google around to find who is selling those type of parts. Here is a link to one seller that may have what you are looking for: http://www.sewingdownmemorylane.com/Pages/default.aspx. I had to do that with one of my cabinets. Until you find that bracket, you can always use an ironing board set up to hold the extension out. That is what I did for a temp solution.

Again, BEAUTIFULLY done! She looks royal! Let us know how well she sews.

vintagemotif 07-26-2012 01:26 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Here is a photo of the hinge or bracket that may work for your cabinet.
[ATTACH=CONFIG]351633[/ATTACH]

Christine- 07-26-2012 02:00 PM


Originally Posted by Enchantedglass (Post 5396592)
Well she is nearly finished, the cabinet wasnt as bad as I thought, and the iron has just had rust converter on it so far, but looks much better already.

The old lady is looking OK for about 117 years old!
[ATTACH=CONFIG]351619[/ATTACH]

WOW, you rescued this from a scrap heap? Thank you for saving her. What a beautiful cabinet. You found a real treasure!

Glenn 07-26-2012 02:13 PM


Originally Posted by vintagemotif (Post 5394825)
Glenn, It was Laura, aka NurseknitsLaura, that uses the shoe polish. I have only use shoe polish on shoes.:)
If is were to clean up my treadle irons, I would follow your method that you suggested.

Thanks Vintagemotif, I knew it had to be Laura. I now remember her thread just a senior moment, oh well!!!!!

Glenn 07-26-2012 02:17 PM

Enchantedglass the cabinet game out nice. Did you use my cleaning solution on it? I think it is ready to be waxed.
Skip

Enchantedglass 07-26-2012 03:13 PM

Yes I used your cleaning solution on it, and it has had one coat of wax. I think it would benefit from another coat of Briwax.
Thank you for the information regarding the hinge.:)

I have done some stitching rotating the wheel by hand and she sews beautifully! My leather belt should arrive tomorrow, and i will be able to try her properly. The treadle is lovely and smooth and works really well.

I found the machine in the yard of an antique shop, it was going to be wieghed in for scrap, the coffin lid was in the trash filled with rubbish ready for the bin collection and the machine was at the back of the shop, not working (I think the stop motion was on!)
I paid 5 for it and took it home!

I think she is adorable

Glenn 07-26-2012 04:56 PM


Originally Posted by Enchantedglass (Post 5396918)
Yes I used your cleaning solution on it, and it has had one coat of wax. I think it would benefit from another coat of Briwax.
Thank you for the information regarding the hinge.:)

I have done some stitching rotating the wheel by hand and she sews beautifully! My leather belt should arrive tomorrow, and i will be able to try her properly. The treadle is lovely and smooth and works really well.

I found the machine in the yard of an antique shop, it was going to be wieghed in for scrap, the coffin lid was in the trash filled with rubbish ready for the bin collection and the machine was at the back of the shop, not working (I think the stop motion was on!)
I paid 5 for it and took it home!

I think she is adorable

I think you have rescued a shinny new diamond. Nice work.
Skip

eafe 08-12-2012 07:23 PM


Originally Posted by Enchantedglass (Post 5396918)
Yes I used your cleaning solution on it, and it has had one coat of wax. I think it would benefit from another coat of Briwax.
Thank you for the information regarding the hinge.:)

I have done some stitching rotating the wheel by hand and she sews beautifully! My leather belt should arrive tomorrow, and i will be able to try her properly. The treadle is lovely and smooth and works really well.

I found the machine in the yard of an antique shop, it was going to be wieghed in for scrap, the coffin lid was in the trash filled with rubbish ready for the bin collection and the machine was at the back of the shop, not working (I think the stop motion was on!)
I paid 5 for it and took it home!

I think she is adorable

Beautiful job. Am confused. What is solution 1 and solution 2 for cleaning wood.

Glenn 08-13-2012 11:46 AM


Originally Posted by [email protected] (Post 5436925)
Beautiful job. Am confused. What is solution 1 and solution 2 for cleaning wood.

Go to the tutorial section and search for cleaning and reviving cabinets and you seed the instruction for making the two solutions. Go to Charlee's blog(a link is under her signature and scroll down till you see it. This is easier to find on her blog.
Skip

Ioftheneedle 08-13-2012 02:35 PM

Very nice. One question, please explain the French polish method. Thanks

Glenn 08-13-2012 04:04 PM


Originally Posted by Ioftheneedle (Post 5438639)
Very nice. One question, please explain the French polish method. Thanks

French polishing is to apply shellac with a rag. The rag is made into a fist size ball to fit the hand, then charged with shellac with a few drops of linseed oil. Wipe it on with a circular motion and then with the grain. The more you apply the better the finish. We also to the same with with a rag wrapped around a finger clean the black japan on old sewing machines.

kateh 09-14-2012 05:15 AM

When I try to read all the posts on this topic there is a BIG photo of the sewing machine covering the post. How do I minimize this photo?

oregongirl 09-14-2012 06:26 AM

i don't think you can change the photo size on an existing post, but you can use your bar at the bottom of your computer screen to slide your view to the right and left. perhaps that will help.

J Miller 09-14-2012 08:45 AM

kateh,

Some members just insist on posting gigantic pics. They make it very hard for those of us on dial up to get through a thread. I reduce my pics to 640x480 pixels and they fit in the post box. Easy to view and those on dial up don't have as much trouble loading them.

About all you can do is scroll back and forth like oregongirl said.

Joe

pinkCastleDH 10-03-2012 12:39 PM

Glenn, how would you handle crazed and cracked clear coat over solid Japanning and decals? I was thinking that a new coat of shellac would fill and flow the existing shellac but I'm not so sure after reading this. It sounds more like you would just clean the current shellac coat to brighten it up (or I might be misreading your advice.)

miriam 10-03-2012 01:56 PM

wait a couple days - Glenn went fishing again...

pinkCastleDH 10-03-2012 02:07 PM


Originally Posted by miriam (Post 5559947)
wait a couple days - Glenn went fishing again...

I hope they're biting for him!

miriam 10-03-2012 02:21 PM


Originally Posted by pinkCastleDH (Post 5559975)
I hope they're biting for him!

LOL I hope he isn't in rain...

rupato 10-19-2012 08:01 AM

Hi,
I'm new and I'm very upset about my machine......I just wanted to clean it and now I've ruined it and I don't know what to do! I think I seriously have to find someone that can restore the finish on it. It's my favorite machine to sew with. Anyone around Albany New York that does restoration?

Caroline S 10-19-2012 08:08 AM


Originally Posted by rupato (Post 5596937)
Hi,
I'm new and I'm very upset about my machine......I just wanted to clean it and now I've ruined it and I don't know what to do! I think I seriously have to find someone that can restore the finish on it. It's my favorite machine to sew with. Anyone around Albany New York that does restoration?

Welcome, Rupato. How about posting some pictures of your machine? Be sure to give front and back to show us what you have done. Perhaps it is not as ruined as you think. I am sure you will get a lot of advice from us.

rupato 10-19-2012 08:23 AM

Thank you, unfortunately my stinking camera is on the fritz! It was in A1 tip top perfect condition, given to me from my Aunt, it was hers. In the most beautiful art deco type of cabinet, Singer mode 15-91 prior to the fifties I believe, what a lovely machine, the whirring sound is so soothing and she sews perfectly. Anyway my aunt was a smoker and as I was cleaning it, I got alot of yellow on the cloth (thinking it was nicotine), I kept cleaning it until I realized that wait a minute, this can't be from smoke. So henceforth my search and finding out about the shellac finish...I should have never attempted this.....got the boiled linseed oil, denatured alcohol, shellac, appropriate cloth, and attempted to do this....what a mess.....trying that french polish method, can't get it right, took it off again, ruining my decals.......I'm simply crying!!


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