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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)

redbugsullivan 07-23-2012 09:36 AM

I am excited to see how that Davis turns out! It is a PERFECT candidate.

Dan, I understand your position. Skip's method is amazing and I've used it multiple times. In fact, I'm going to try and save what is left of the finish on my Alvah National (my very first treadle). On the flip side, I am using non-traditional finishes on the woodwork. Wipe-on poly is my finish of choice because I know life happens! None of my cabinets ever have decent finishes when I get them. Sometimes, I spend more time gluing down lifting veneer than working on the head!

Like Skip says, make your own tutorial! I'm not very skilled with metal/paint finishes so I'll be sticking with the French Polish method for the heads. It will be very interesting to contrast the two methods. Right now, I'm avoiding buying machines with cracked paint. Could you start with one of those?

Christine- 07-23-2012 10:12 AM

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This is my 201k. The ebay auction showed the paint was cracked, but it's not as bad as I had expected. The shellac is cracked some but it's not down to bare metal. In fact, the cracking is minimal and I'm not going to do anything to it.

Notice the light is attached to the back! Yipee! I'm going to rewire the entire machine, the wiring is in bad shape. And then I'll put it in a table.

J Carol 07-23-2012 11:01 AM

Glenn

Did you use gold paint or gold leaf to repair the decal? What brand of gold paint or gold leaf? Your machine is beautiful. I now have 23 machines all in different stages to refurbish and your instructions a very explicit. Thank you

J Carol 07-23-2012 11:09 AM

Our Lowe's store carries evaporust but it is in with cleaning supplies near the naval jelly.

KittyKat77 07-23-2012 12:02 PM

I am trying to fix up my Davis, and it is looking better... the black areas no longer have that icky sticky orange peel texture, BUT, some of the areas with the decals seem stubborn, and despite going very slow and cautious, I ended up with a bit of silvering. It may be the damaged shellac is adhered so strongly to the decals that anything affecting the shellac will damage the decals. Talk about a catch-22. It's made me nervous to continue!

I have been focusing instead on cleaning and rust-removal of the metal pieces.

Glenn 07-23-2012 12:25 PM


Originally Posted by KittyKat77 (Post 5388106)
I am trying to fix up my Davis, and it is looking better... the black areas no longer have that icky sticky orange peel texture, BUT, some of the areas with the decals seem stubborn, and despite going very slow and cautious, I ended up with a bit of silvering. It may be the damaged shellac is adhered so strongly to the decals that anything affecting the shellac will damage the decals. Talk about a catch-22. It's made me nervous to continue!

I have been focusing instead on cleaning and rust-removal of the metal pieces.

Clean the decals first with sewing machine oil then apply a little shellac over them to protect them. Then continue. Remember the decals have gold in them and other metals so they will have tarnished some and will not come as bright as we would like them to. If the decals are silvering you are removing two much shellac over them. Please don't rub hard and use more linseed oil with the alcohol.

vintagemotif 07-23-2012 12:40 PM


Originally Posted by KittyKat77 (Post 5388106)
I am trying to fix up my Davis, and it is looking better... the black areas no longer have that icky sticky orange peel texture, BUT, some of the areas with the decals seem stubborn, and despite going very slow and cautious, I ended up with a bit of silvering. It may be the damaged shellac is adhered so strongly to the decals that anything affecting the shellac will damage the decals. Talk about a catch-22. It's made me nervous to continue!

I have been focusing instead on cleaning and rust-removal of the metal pieces.

I own two Davis NVF with the same situation of the protective coating and decals damage as yours. Most, not all, but most of the Davis NVF that I have seen seem to have this issue. My suggestion is to only clean these machines with sewing machine oil. The sewing oil is the only chemical that does not remove the decals or "silver" them. For one of my machines, some previous owner used something other than sewing oil which made the decals turn green, not silver. I'm not into using lots of chemicals to clean these vintage ladies and gents since I dislike using them. The sewing oil cleans up the dirt and old oil, that is good enough for me. Since I use my Davis for quilting and binding work, the crackled in the protective coating of the machine doesn't hinder that work or damage the fabrics. The machine still works well! I doubt I will be looking very pretty or even working when I hit a hundred. :D

KittyKat77 07-23-2012 12:45 PM

Hi Glenn,

I did clean them first with sewing machine oil. I had been gently wiping them with sewing machine oil before I read this.

What I've been doing is dipping the rag in the linseed oil, and then just barely touching it to the alcohol.
When that started silvering one spot, I also tried oil + a tiny dab of shellac. That worked better in one spot, but the darkest/crackliest area on the front doesn't seem to want to lighten up, and even going very slow, mostly oil and the tiniest drop of alcohol or shellac, I still got a bit of silvering on one section.

I'm going to continue rubbing mostly oil and a bit of shellac to try to protect it. I am pleased with how much better the black areas look, that's for sure.

Glenn 07-23-2012 01:52 PM


Originally Posted by KittyKat77 (Post 5388208)
Hi Glenn,

I did clean them first with sewing machine oil. I had been gently wiping them with sewing machine oil before I read this.

What I've been doing is dipping the rag in the linseed oil, and then just barely touching it to the alcohol.
When that started silvering one spot, I also tried oil + a tiny dab of shellac. That worked better in one spot, but the darkest/crackliest area on the front doesn't seem to want to lighten up, and even going very slow, mostly oil and the tiniest drop of alcohol or shellac, I still got a bit of silvering on one section.

I'm going to continue rubbing mostly oil and a bit of shellac to try to protect it. I am pleased with how much better the black areas look, that's for sure.

the decals on the Davis seemed to be more delicate than the singers or others. I think in this case you need a good coat of shellac on the decals and leave them alone. Just work on the black Japan. I have found that some decals just need to be cleaned with machine oil and a coat of shellac and just leave well enough alone. Being so delicate just clean around them. You are doing everything right you have just run into some bad decals.

Glenn 07-23-2012 01:58 PM

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.


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