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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)

tiny-umbrellas 08-04-2015 09:04 PM

Glenn could I use this to repair the black parts on the machine? http://www.liberon.com.au/?act=products&cat=17&prod=78

looks like shellac with the black dye already in it.

And if I'm buying proper shellac (I've found a source that pre-mixes it in alcohol then sends it to you) do I want super blond? Waxy or de-waxed please?

Glenn 08-05-2015 05:14 AM

Yes you can use this product and you want the clear shellac(super blond) de-waxed.

thepolyparrot 08-05-2015 09:19 AM

tiny-umbrellas, the only thing I didn't like about the spray shellac is that it dried before it could level out very much, leaving a shallow pebble texture.

I tried for days to work that down with French polishing and finally resorted to wet-sanding to get it smooth. Next time, I'll apply all the spray shellac I'm going to do and go straight to wet-sanding. I didn't have any trouble with the shellac not sticking, or clouding up - it's really nice, and shinier than the hand-applied shellac. I wish I could have sprayed all of it, because it sure was easier.

With you being in winter, the temperatures may be cool enough that the spray might level out more before it dries. Here in Texas, we have about three days in January. ;) Exaggerating, but this really isn't the ideal place for spray shellac.

tiny-umbrellas 08-06-2015 04:08 AM

Thanks polyparrot,

I'm hoping the spray will be ok but I have found a source for flakes if it doesn't work out. Yes being winter here may retard the drying process, here's hoping!

I did finally after hours of searching find some aniline dye and some absolute denatured alcohol that can be shipped to me at a semi-reasonable cost, so there is that.

I did see on another forum someone complaining that he had to buy a quart of shellac for a whopping $15 because they didn't have pints in stock. Here in Australia Zinsser don't import the pint, the only readily available size is the quart for $32. This whole process is breaking the bank and i'm having to buy huge quantities of everything, to be honest I'm a little disheartened and thinking of just leaving the machines and if the exposed decals rub off so be it! The money I save not buying these materials will get me another machine easily.

Sorry if I sound like I'm having a whinge but in Australia everything is more costly because of transport.

miriam 08-27-2015 10:18 AM

Singer 201 here. After getting rust off the bobbin area and getting the tension adjusted it sure sews nice. Some one has already rewired it. DH checked it out and pronounced it just fine. I checked inside the motor and liked what I saw. The finish felt like alligator... This morning, I cleaned it with naptha. Then I used the alcohol and linseed oil. Then I spilled linseed oil all over the place so I mopped it up and spread it around. WOW. I think I need to quit. It is so smooth and pretty. I did use a little shellac on it after that. I suppose I should go back over it with more shellac but it looks so pretty...

WideAngleMind 09-18-2015 02:47 PM

Hello Glenn and All! I'm new and thankfully haven't started cleaning and restoring before reading all this wonderful info. I got to page 15 of this thread then headed to Auto Zone for some loot. Still need to go to Home Depot or Lowe's for more things and am wondering if I'll find shellac there?

Thanks Glenn and everyone for your help! - Tori in Loveland, CO

miriam 09-18-2015 05:09 PM

You should find shellac at Lowe's or HD.

WideAngleMind 09-18-2015 05:41 PM

Thanks Miriam. I just came from Home Depot with a bag full of chemicals. :) Including shellac. Now I'm all set.

Question Glenn - should I use a hard wool Dremel polisher or a soft flimsy one? I just bought a Dremel recently and this will be my first project.

Thnaks so much! - Tori

Toggpine 10-21-2015 10:04 PM

While I was waiting for hubby to wag home the chemicals from work I tried the sewing machine oil and it made some progress on the dirt. It wouldn't touch the brownish yellow gunk covering the decals. This machine has a lot of wear on the decals, especially on the bed.
Being very cautious of the decals, I tried some of the Dairy Du we use to cleanup our milking equipment. It is a powdered detergent designed to cut through milk fat. I have used it to cleanup some pretty icky vintage milk equipment.
I mixed up a batch in hot water and dabbed it on the gunk. It softened up the old oil, dirt, and lint, but stopped at the shellac. I started on the bottom and then tried the area over the decals on the treadle belt cover. I had excellent success on the really thick stiff using a frayed bamboo skewer and a very light touch over the decals. After I wiped the machine down with a nearly dry rag, I oiled it all over with the SM oil. It looks a lot better, and if I ever get my hubby to bring home the rest of the chemicals, I'll finish the process Glenn's way.
Just so you know there is another gunk buster out there that will help us clean up these beauties with out damaging them. (I would still not soak a japanned piece or an unprotected decal with it, just in case, as I haven't tested it on multiple machine surfaces.)

SteveH 10-22-2015 07:37 AM

Toggpine - Welcome and thanks for the share! I'll see about ordering some and doing a few experiments


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