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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)

tuckyquilter 04-29-2015 06:45 PM

Thank you so much for this tutorial. Do you also have a youtube channel showing videos of your methods? I just bought a 1925 Singer Treadle (per my sewing machine repair guy) But he doesn't clean the finishes. This will help me a bunch.

tjbosley 06-01-2015 06:58 AM

Ok, looking thru this thread, what is the Naphtha used for??
Thanks

Glenn 06-01-2015 02:45 PM

Naptha is used to clean the oil off the machine without hurting the decals. Used as a prep before the french polish.

thepolyparrot 06-13-2015 07:52 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Thank you for this tutorial! You gave me the courage to try to protect three gorgeous machines before time can take a further toll on them.

The first one is looking pretty good. After getting it as clean as I dared, I had to apply spray shellac rather heavily just to get some protection over the decals. In this heat, the spray resulted in a pebbled surface, which had to be sanded and melted down with alcohol, and I guess I've applied eight or ten coats of French polishing over that.

I've been letting it rest for two or three days, polishing twice and letting it sit, again. The surface is either greasy feeling (after cool days) or sticky (after hot days) - if it's sticky and I try to polish, the rag just peels up the previous coat.

Is the linseed oil supposed to harden as when oil painting? Or am I supposed to be wiping it away with naphtha whenever I'm ready to give it a couple more coats of polishing?

Should I be waiting longer between polishing? Or should I be piling on the polishing coats several times a day until it's super shiny and then let it sit for a week or so?

The other day, I propped up the dry side of the arm on top of a giant Tums bottle, so that I could see the underarm area better, and when I righted it, the plastic bottle had left deep impressions in the black japanning. I slowly massaged those areas smooth with an oiled finger, but the japanning shouldn't be that soft after sitting for two or three days, should it?

I'm using Zinsser clear bullseye premixed shellac, fresh and newly opened, with only a tiny bit of boiled linseed oil. The polishing looks glossy and beautiful when is first done, but dulls gradually over a couple of days.

What do you think might be going wrong?

This is how it looks, a few hours after two polishing coats
[ATTACH=CONFIG]522287[/ATTACH]

http://www.quiltingboard.com/members...34-522286.html
I have an album in my profile with the progress on this - the other pictures are much smaller than this.

Thanks again! :)
Elizabeth

Glenn 06-14-2015 06:29 AM

The dull look is nothing more than the linseed oil coming to the surface of the shellac coat. This is normal. Let the shellac cure for a week or so then wipe down with the naphtha to remove any left over oil. Then apply a good wax to shine it up and to keep it looking nice. Now when you wipe is with naphtha just a light swipe will do and it will look a little cloudy after this. This is also normal the waxing will take care of this. Don't worry about the cloudy linseed oil until you are thru with the french polishing. The surface looks fine and you are doing it correctly you just need to do some more. The machine looks good.

thepolyparrot 06-14-2015 08:21 AM

Okay, so I can stop worrying! :D

Thank you so much - I have really loved this process; reading the thread several times, ordering the stuff, reading the thread, again... ;)

The cleaning part was almost miraculous - this 66 felt like 80 grit sandpaper, it was so covered in oil and lint. It was amazing to watch a shiny clean machine emerge from under it.

Thanks to your excellent method, I was able to save almost all of the decals. :) And the cleaning of the working parts is just as beautiful - love, love, LOVE it! Thank you!

sews 06-14-2015 01:42 PM

Hi thepolyparrot, I looked at your album and the transformation is incredible. Great job!

HelenAnn 06-14-2015 04:48 PM

Great photos and job. I'm working on a Davis that needs a little more work than yours. I am encouraged.
HelenAnn

thepolyparrot 06-14-2015 07:24 PM

Thank you, Sabine - it's been a lot of work, but I've wanted a red eye for years - never saw one I could afford until a couple months ago and it's worth every bit of money and elbow grease I've put into it. :)

HelenAnn, these three machines have all been through some ugly stages, but I knew from this thread that I shouldn't panic - the only thing that really threw me was the japanning going soft. And too, I wasn't sure how long I'm supposed to keep this up! :D

I was serious about re-reading this thread several times, though. :thumbup:

SteveH 06-18-2015 10:22 AM

1 Attachment(s)
Since I do not collect sewing machines with plastic parts, I had not tried Glenn's #1 solution on anything other than old wood cabinets, but I was having a hard time finding a plastic cleaning product for my 65 Corvair that I am restoring, and lo and behold the #1 solution is FANTASTIC on old plastic. It's been sitting for a couple days and it has not "reverted" to dried out yet!
[ATTACH=CONFIG]522749[/ATTACH]


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