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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)

ThayerRags 12-11-2014 02:47 PM

Originally Posted by Ellpea (Post 7004341)
I wonder what the record is on this board.. who drove the most miles to get a machine? I'm sure SteveH has me beat with the Walla Walla round trip... anyone else?

Why don’t you start a new thread called “Longest or Most Interesting Roadtrip” or something like that? Several of us have briefly mentioned an unusual road trip on several threads. Maybe you can get a nice group of tales in one thread. I’ll repeat my longest and most interesting road trip in your thread if you do....

CD in Oklahoma

Glenn 12-11-2014 02:48 PM

Yes BP Blaster is it. I have two tutorials one for the head and one for the cabinet. The sticky is for the repair of the shellac clear coat on the machine head. Go to my profile and go to my threads and you will find my tutorial there for the cabinets.

Ellpea 12-11-2014 04:02 PM

OK, CD, new thread started! (thanks for the nudge to keep topics on track!)

best, Ellpea

Jennigma 12-15-2014 11:48 AM

1 Attachment(s)
I'm embarking on this shellac repair with a Franklin Rotary-- off to purchase materials in a moment. Here's the before pic:


The White FR behind is a donor/parts machine, though when I moved it to the bench I saw that most of the parts don't actually match the Franklin.

The partially disassembled Free behind them is also a parts machine; I saved it from the dump for its irons, but am retrieving spares for my nicely restored one. I'm planning to go back and French polish the Free eventually; lots of machines on my to do list. :-)

Glenn 12-15-2014 12:11 PM

Be really careful with the decals on the Franklin, there is not much shellac on them to protect them. I see they are in very god shape to. I was not so lucky with the one I restored in this Tutorial.

miriam 12-15-2014 01:12 PM

do the scrap one first so you can practice

Jennigma 12-15-2014 04:30 PM

I will be careful. I can see they are raised off the bed, which suggests they aren't very well covered with any sort of protection. I'm going to touch them as little as possible.

I've used traditional finishes on wood, generally shellac and old school BLO without the drying agents. I was taught by my dad and granddad that 30 coats of finish was a nice round number. Ten coats on a 24 hr cycle, 15 coats every other day, and the last 5 with 3-4 days drying time and sanding/steel wool between them. If it gets tacky I know I put it on too thick and need to clean it off and take a step back. I expect two - three months for a good finish, so I'm prepared for the level of commitment this will represent. :-)

I'm seriously considering restoring the original color I see on lots of Franklins-- the green and purple. This one is orange and brown, which blends into the gold. I've done model and decoy painting in the past so I know what I would be in for with that sort of project. I kind of feel like if I'm putting in the effort to get a good shellac on the machine I may as well re-color the decals while I'm at it.

Does anyone make replacement ruler decals for the cabinets? Since the Free and the White cabinets had the same decals I'm assuming there was a common supplier.

If no one does, do you think there would be interest in them? It seems like they would be an easy decal to work up and get produced in bulk inexpensively since it's just a long rectangle. I could easily work up repro art that was a good facsimile of the original. I looked into getting decals printed and I can't justify the cost for the couple cabinets I have, but if a dozen or so folks wanted them I could figure out getting them designed, manufactured, and mailed out.

Jennigma 12-15-2014 04:34 PM


I'm going to do some testing on the bottom of the machine. :-) I'm pulling the useful parts off all my donor heads to make room in the shop. I currently have almost 30 machines, and that's way too many! I've finally gotten good at saying NO to free ones, but I got a bit overrun before getting to that point. I've been having a hard time wrapping my head around scrapping old machines, but I'm getting past that.

Jennigma 12-15-2014 04:39 PM

Glenn- one more thing. I am not willing to use Naptha in my shop because I don't have good ventilation and don't want to deal with a gas mask. I don't have any rust and very little gunk to deal with on the Franklin, so I think I should be ok for everything except cleaning off oil. Do you have any suggestions for alternatives, or am I on my own? I have a good citrus de-greaser, but I've been a chicken about getting that close to the decals on prior heads.

Glenn 12-16-2014 08:29 AM

If you don't want to use naptha the alternative is wipe the machine down with a damp cloth of denatured alcohol. You can go buy a small bottle of lighter fluid(for cigarette lighters) and use it . The machine only needs a quick wipe and you will not use it again. Don't use citrus de-greaser it leaves a residue that the shellac will not stick to. the naptha will evaporate instantly when you wipe down the machine. Other than this I know of nothing else that will remove the sewing machine oil from the surface of the machine. It is important to remove the sewing machine oil from the machine so the shellac will stick during the french polishing. You will use such a small amount of naptha I would not worry about it, you know best what is good for you. Please post pics when done we love to see other peoples work.Skip

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