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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)

Glenn 02-12-2014 03:15 PM


Originally Posted by tropit (Post 6571092)
Well...wouldn'tcha know it. right after I discovered this thread, I bumped into a little FW that was just perfect except for one thing. It's finish is peeling away all around the lower part of the base of the head. I think it may have been sitting in water for awhile. The oil pan finish is a little bubbled up too. The inside gears and mechanisms look OK though...no rust. The bed looks almost perfect, except for a couple of light scratches and a small, bumbled touch up that the previous owner did. Those are easy fixes. However, I need some advice on how to repair the peeling paint. This is a 1951 FW and I'm wondering if they still used shellac finishes on them? It is seriously coming off of the body all along the 4 sides. It may be able to be repainted and then blended in at the top edge without being very noticeable. Please help...thanks. I will post some pix tomorrow.
~ Cindy

Hi Cindy, a pic would be helpful. Most singers used a clear coat of shellac. But you can test it to be sure. Use denatured alcohol in an area that is bas or will not be seen. Place a Q-tip full of alcohol on the area and if the finish melts or gets sticky then yes it is shellac. If it does not then it is lacqure. In either case you can sand the bad parts smooth an repaint it with black high gloss paint. You can use shellac by french polish to belen everything. If you need help just let me know and I will be glad to quide you thru the process.
Skip

tropit 02-12-2014 03:36 PM

Thanks for getting right back to me Glenn. I will definitely post pix tomorrow. I really appreciate your help. I'll be back in the morning with imagery.
~ Cindy

Glenn 02-12-2014 03:38 PM

I will be waiting for the pics. I will be here most of the day tomorrow.
Skip

tropit 02-13-2014 09:47 AM

Thanks so much. OK, I've taken pix.
Then, the power went out. Fired up the Genny.
Then, my desktop decided to update a zillion Windows updates. Uploaded pix to laptop instead, which does not have Photoshop on it.
Then, the battery on laptop went dead. Got her plugged back in.

Are these all omens? LOL.

I'm going to try to upload these pix, but I'm afraid that they are all too big of files. If I can't do that, then we'll just have to wait for Microsoft to do it's thing with my desktop and I'll try again this afternoon. Thanks for your patience.

Pix to follow(?)

~ Cindy

tropit 02-13-2014 10:15 AM

3 Attachment(s)
OK, I'm back on the desktop and now have PS to work with. Here's the pix...

tropit 02-13-2014 10:17 AM

The peeling goes all the way around the base of the machine, but does not go over, onto the bed. The oil pan has some bubbling, but the inside gears look OK. IT looks like it was sitting in some water. Perhaps the former owner's water heater blew out. There's also a couple of places where the former owner touched up the black paint on the bed extension, which looks a little rough. Other than that, it's beautiful!

tropit 02-13-2014 10:24 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Here's a pic of the oil pan and one of the botched repair.
~ Cindy

tropit 02-13-2014 10:26 AM

I'd like to repair this machine to as close to original as possible. I'm really not into faking it, if possible. I don't really plan to resale it, but I love old, original stuff. I know that may not be possible, but I'd like to get as close as I can to original.

tropit 02-13-2014 10:56 AM

I think that I just said the word, "original" 3 times. You get the drift...LOL.

Glenn 02-13-2014 12:03 PM

Hi Cindy,
You can sand the bad areas without the paint by by using wet or dry sand paper until smooth, Prime and then spray paint several thin coats of gloss black paint. If you can't remove all the pitted areas you can fill them in with car bondo filler. It is red and comes in a tube (from auto store) sand again until very smooth before painting. Let cure for a week and then you can french polish with shellac and linseed oil to match the rest of the finish. You can repair the bad patch job in the same way. Make sure you clean all surfaces first with naptha to remove any oils and dirt.
Skip

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

Skip,

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.
Skip

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.
https://home.comcast.net/~rexmill/pl.../japanning.htm

~ 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.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]462641[/ATTACH]

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

Glenn 02-16-2014 09:00 AM

Miriam is right those white spots are where moisture and dirt got under the shellac. Clean the machine and then use my french polish process. they will go away and smooth out and fill in with the shellac. Wipe down the machine with naptha and then clean all decals with sewing machine oil and then do the french polish. This will shine the machine and add more protection for the decals.
Skip

redapple 02-16-2014 11:17 AM

Thanks for the info. I am new to this and couldn't find a description - what is the french polish method?

I want to try your method but I'm scared I'm going to damage the machine...do you have a video showing what you do?

Also, what do you think of using Blue Magic's TR-3 Resin Glaze (dab it with a cotton ball and rub on machine a lot) - someone else used it and got good results.

miriam 02-16-2014 11:44 AM


Originally Posted by redapple (Post 6578600)
Thanks for the info. I am new to this and couldn't find a description - what is the french polish method?

I want to try your method but I'm scared I'm going to damage the machine...do you have a video showing what you do?

Also, what do you think of using Blue Magic's TR-3 Resin Glaze (dab it with a cotton ball and rub on machine a lot) - someone else used it and got good results.

No there is no video. You will need to go back the the beginning of this thread and read every word Glenn has written and then follow any links that come up. Here is a link for a second tutorial we collaborated this fall: http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...r-t235747.html
You can try the Blue Magic's TR-3 Resin Glaze if you are more comfortable - it's your machine.

redapple 02-16-2014 03:31 PM

Thanks - I went back to the search field and tried another set of terms and found the definition for French Polish! I will be sure to read every word of this thread (and the additional link you provided) before I attempt anything.

miriam 02-17-2014 10:28 AM

Glenn, my machine did not do well with French polish - I think it is the lack of any kind of finish on the machine. Should I brush on some shellac then polish? HOW? Does it get thinned? Should it be applied straight out of the can? It seems like it is just the bottom of the machine - the arm seems a bit better - well at least it looks shiny. The bottom just doesn't look right.

Glenn 02-17-2014 11:26 AM


Originally Posted by miriam (Post 6580694)
Glenn, my machine did not do well with French polish - I think it is the lack of any kind of finish on the machine. Should I brush on some shellac then polish? HOW? Does it get thinned? Should it be applied straight out of the can? It seems like it is just the bottom of the machine - the arm seems a bit better - well at least it looks shiny. The bottom just doesn't look right.

No Miriam don't bush shellac on the base, have Plhil go get you a can of clear spray shellac at Lowes. Same brand as the can shellac. Wipe down the base with naptha and then spray several thin coats of shellac to build up some finish then you can french polish. If you brush shellac you will have to thin it down the denautured alcohol so it will flow smoothly and you may have to sand with wet or dry sandpaper to remove any brush marks. I think you will have better luck with the spray shellac.

tropit 02-19-2014 04:22 PM

Hi Glenn,

I've gone all over town and no one carries Naptha anymore around here. I think it might be banned for environmental reasons. Do you have another suggestion? Thanks, Cindy

Glenn 02-19-2014 04:34 PM

Lighter fluid(zippo cig lighters) is the same thing. Our Lowes carries naptha. If you can't find neither just clean the surface with warm water and a soft rag with a little dish soap. The rag should be damp and not wet. You really need the maptha or lighter fluid to clean any oils left on the machine. You can also wipe it down with damp rag with denatured alcohol lightly to remove any oil but be careful with the decals. I use old white t-shirts and old whitie tighties for this.
Skip

miriam 02-19-2014 04:49 PM


Originally Posted by Glenn (Post 6584845)
Lighter fluid(zippo cig lighters) is the same thing. Our Lowes carries naptha. If you can't find neither just clean the surface with warm water and a soft rag with a little dish soap. The rag should be damp and not wet. You really need the maptha or lighter fluid to clean any oils left on the machine. You can also wipe it down with damp rag with denatured alcohol lightly to remove any oil but be careful with the decals. I use old white t-shirts and old whitie tighties for this.
Skip

Is it the same stuff you use to light up the charcoal?

SteveH 02-19-2014 05:05 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Cindy,


Welcome to California..... In the Bay Area the Home Depot acarries the current "substitute" for Naptha, it looks like this.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]463393[/ATTACH]

miriam 02-19-2014 05:08 PM


Originally Posted by SteveH (Post 6584900)
Cindy,


Welcome to California..... In the Bay Area the Home Depot acarries the current "substitute" for Naptha, it looks like this.

[ATTACH=CONFIG]463393[/ATTACH]

I betcha that would take off the decals in a hurry.

Glenn 02-19-2014 05:47 PM

I have never used this product. It sounds harsh compared to naptha. Have you used this before Steve? I know of it we can get it here to . And no Miriam it is not the same stuff to light your charcoal. We are in Alabama and can't get almost anything LOL. I will just keep to my naptha. Toluene and xylene will take off decals if clear coat is thin. Leave it to CAlifornia and I don't see this being safer that naptha.

Glenn 02-19-2014 06:40 PM

We use this product as a sub for turps and paint thinner.

Jennifer23 02-20-2014 01:10 AM

According to its MSDS, that stuff contains very little xylene (<5%), and no toluene. It's mainly naptha, ethyl acetate and petroleum hydrocarbons, with small amounts of trimethylbenzene and xylene. I suspect it would behave much like pure naptha, although I would be careful using it on decals. It should be a fairly good degreaser, though.

Now I'm going to spend tomorrow wondering why this is considered an "environmentally friendly" alternative to naptha.

SteveH 02-20-2014 08:28 AM


Originally Posted by Jennifer23 (Post 6585328)
Now I'm going to spend tomorrow wondering why this is considered an "environmentally friendly" alternative to naptha.

Every day of my life in this wonderfully goofy state. Although in truth I suspect it has more to do with what this cannot be used as easily for like "pure" Naptha can ....

tropit 02-20-2014 10:29 AM

Steve, you live kinda close to me. I saw that stuff at ACE and the store manager said that this is what they carry now instead of Naptha. because, "it's safer." I read, "toluene," in the list of ingredients and I thought..."I really don't think this is any safer," so I passed it by.

Glenn, I'll just stick to soap and warm water. Thanks again for all of your tips.

~ Cindy

SteveH 02-20-2014 11:59 AM


Originally Posted by tropit (Post 6586180)
Steve, you live kinda close to me.~ Cindy

Yep, In fact we will be up in Willits for the Kinetic Carnivale again this year in August

Sunflowerzz 02-20-2014 12:12 PM

1 Attachment(s)
I think by doing the test that my machine is lacquered? I tested a small area on the bottom with pure acetone. The cloth looked like tobacco, I did it again and it was lighter, I did it a third time and it was much lighter. All the while looking like a tobacco brown. I then waited a few minutes and tested the area by touching it with my finger thinking it might possibly be sticky. It wasn't, it was squeaky clean and looked like brand new shiny black! So does this mean it is for sure a lacquer? Did they apply shellac over lacquer or was there no need with lacquer? Sorry I am not really savvy on the sewing machine paints yet. I am very grossed out to think that the whole machine may be covered in layers of tobacco brown icky stuff. I wiped her down with warm water and a drop or two of soap and thought she was pretty clean when I got her home.:eek:

Glenn 02-20-2014 12:24 PM

Your machine is not lacquer it is shellac. If you tested it with acetone it would be sticky. Test it with denatured alcohol and you will see the shellac get soft. What you are removing with the acetone is old yellow oil and may not be covered in brown cig smoke. The acetone can remove old shellac that as turned brown so be careful with the decals with acetone and denatured alcohol. Many of us confuse the brown color as smoke when it is really old oil and shellac. Now I would clean the machine and decals with sewing machine oil and cotton balls or a soft white T-shirt.

Sunflowerzz 02-20-2014 12:58 PM


Originally Posted by Glenn (Post 6586371)
Your machine is not lacquer it is shellac. If you tested it with acetone it would be sticky. Test it with denatured alcohol and you will see the shellac get soft. What you are removing with the acetone is old yellow oil and may not be covered in brown cig smoke. The acetone can remove old shellac that as turned brown so be careful with the decals with acetone and denatured alcohol. Many of us confuse the brown color as smoke when it is really old oil and shellac. Now I would clean the machine and decals with sewing machine oil and cotton balls or a soft white T-shirt.

That was my first thought that it should be sticky from the acetone but I got the results reversed. Thank you Glenn for clarifying. This is a great thread and I appreciate all of your time and shared experience. I will be very careful as the decals are gorgeous on this machine and I don't want to ruin them.


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