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-   For Vintage & Antique Machine Enthusiasts (https://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage-antique-machine-enthusiasts-f22/)
-   -   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)

daisywreath 09-01-2014 08:40 AM

I'm trying out this method on a 15-91 that had a pretty messed-up clear coat. I've gotten as far as going over it with linseed oil & denatured alcohol, and so far it looks like it's doing it a lot of good -- the clear coat has smoothed out a lot. The first instructions I saw were the ones in this thread which said to let it sit for a day to let it cure. When I checked on it yesterday it was still pretty tacky to the touch. Today it's better but still has some tacky areas.

Am I doing something wrong to cause this, or am I supposed to apply the shellac now even though it still feels tacky? I think I followed the instructions closely but it's the first time I've tried this and might have messed something up. It's inordinately humid here -- could that be keeping it from curing properly? Any advice is much appreciated!

Rodney 09-01-2014 09:08 AM

Humidity does affect the cure rate. It could be the oil and alcohol was applied too thickly too. I'm hoping Glenn sees this and gives you the real answer.
Rodney

Glenn 09-01-2014 10:06 AM

Hi Daisy,
The surface feels tacky from the linseed oil. At this stage I wipe down the surface with naptha to remove the excess oil. Now don't be alarmed after wiping down with naptha if surface looks very dry and a little milky colored. This is normal. If the surface is smooth to your liking you can start the french polish with shellac and a little linseed oil. Just be careful of the decals. You are not doing anything wrong. Yes after removing the oil from the surface do let the old shellac cure for a day or two to harden back up before french polishing.

yobrosew 09-02-2014 04:15 AM

Could someone direct me to more on French polishing?

yobrosew 09-02-2014 04:19 AM

The only naphtha I know comes in bricks. Am I to make some sudsy water with it? I will continue reading through thread so as not to ask too many questions already asked and answered.

HelenAnn 09-02-2014 05:04 AM

You are thinking of Fels Naphtha soap, No that is not what you use. Naphtha comes in a can and you can find it at local hardware or paint stores. It is a liquid. Go back and read the start of this thread for more info.

Glenn 09-02-2014 05:11 AM

You can buy it in the grocery store. It is the lighter fluid used in zippo cig lighters. It will come in a small yellow bottle. Or as HelenAnn said go to a hardware store and get a qt of it in a can. Yes do go to the first of this thread and I have a good tutorial on cleaning up the machine heads.

new-quilter 10-24-2014 09:16 AM

I have been a stocker to this site. Using it to restore my born date May 19,1925 Singer. I am having a problem with trying to remove the stitch length regulator. Does it unscrew all the way out for easier polishing? I can't get it to unscrew at all?

SteveH 10-24-2014 09:20 AM


Originally Posted by new-quilter (Post 6941566)
Does it unscrew all the way out for easier polishing? I can't get it to unscrew at all?

It "can" be removed but the re-assembly is a bugger. If it is stuck you can apply sewing machine oil to try to loosen it, if that does not work a few drops of kerosene on it will help break loose the old crud.

HelenAnn 10-24-2014 09:32 AM

Like Steve said they are a bugger to get back in. I have never said so many bad words and then I had to call in the help of my son. Just loosen it.

new-quilter 10-25-2014 04:32 AM

Thanks for the support! With the help of my son, I got the screw turned about 1/4 turn, then put sewing machine oil in the grooves overnight. That seemed to really help. I WILL NOT take it out - thanks for that advise! It does have to be able to turn some for thread adjustment?

HelenAnn 10-25-2014 04:47 AM

Yes it does need to move. You are lucky you didn't get it all the way out. It has a horse shoe shaped thingy that has to fit between a couple other thingy s and they are all in a place you can't reach or see easily. (that is clear as mud)

Susanmarie 10-25-2014 05:24 AM

Thank you for your great tutorial, Glenn. Although the post is a couple of years old I hope I can ask a couple of questions.
If you intend to touch-up some of the decals do you apply shellac first, paint and then shellac again? or skip the first shellac application?
You mention before painting the pin-rash that a person should remove rust. Can you add details? If the japanned surface has eroded away in some places does one apply Evaporust in those areas first before painting? I'm just not sure how to prep before the painting step. Thank you, Sue

needles3thread 10-25-2014 09:32 AM

Results are unbelievable.

new-quilter 10-25-2014 10:31 AM

Beginners luck I guess!

new-quilter 10-25-2014 10:48 AM

Next question, the tension assembly.....I have oiled it thinking it would make the screw come off a little easier. Hasn't happened. If I do get the screw to turn, it is relatively easy to take off and reassemble? I will be careful to take a pic with each thing taken off. I will be using the MAAS polish, correct?

Glenn 10-25-2014 12:56 PM


Originally Posted by Susanmarie (Post 6942609)
Thank you for your great tutorial, Glenn. Although the post is a couple of years old I hope I can ask a couple of questions.
If you intend to touch-up some of the decals do you apply shellac first, paint and then shellac again? or skip the first shellac application?
You mention before painting the pin-rash that a person should remove rust. Can you add details? If the japanned surface has eroded away in some places does one apply Evaporust in those areas first before painting? I'm just not sure how to prep before the painting step. Thank you, Sue

Yes I usually apply evaporust to the areas with a small artist paint brush and be sure not to get it on the decals. Then I use aniline dye( alcohol soluble) mixed with shellac to make a black paint. Paint only the the areas that need it and it make take several coats to make the blend. I touch up the decals with gold paint after cleaning and before shellac. After touch up then you can apply shellac to protect the repairs. It is never to late to ask questions and I am always around to help.
Skip

Mrs. SewNSew 10-28-2014 07:20 AM


Originally Posted by Glenn (Post 6943101)
Yes I usually apply evaporust to the areas with a small artist paint brush and be sure not to get it on the decals
Skip

I tried this yesterday but don't see any difference. Normally I have to soak parts for a few hours. Does painting a dab on the rusted spots remove all the rust? Should I be dabbing it often? Then do I still rinse it off?

Glenn 10-28-2014 11:06 AM

I usually keep putting a little on at a time just as long as you keep it damp with the stuff. It takes about 30 minutes. Wipe the area with a little naptha and then use fine sand paper. Now paint.

Mrs. SewNSew 10-28-2014 11:36 AM


Originally Posted by Glenn (Post 6947350)
I usually keep putting a little on at a time just as long as you keep it damp with the stuff. It takes about 30 minutes. Wipe the area with a little naptha and then use fine sand paper. Now paint.

Thank you. So I just didn't keep at it long enough. :)

jmabby 12-02-2014 09:20 AM

Glen,
I cleaned my machine as you said, then wiped it down with naptha. It still looked a little smeary. I wiped it with a dry cotton cloth and let it set overnite. When I appled shellac with a drop of oil the shellac looked streaked. What should I do different. I removed everything again and will wait to hear from you.

Glenn 12-02-2014 09:42 AM

The streaks are most likely your technique. Be sure to use a very soft rag when doing this, I usually use a white t-shirt for this. Use light touch and reduce the amount of shellac or a little more oil. It takes a little practice to this. It will lookk smeary after wiping down with naptha this is normal. Apply quickly in a circle and then finish with a light touch going straight across. It may take several applications to get the look you want.
Skip

jmabby 12-02-2014 10:11 AM

Thanks, I'll try again. God forgot to give me patience, this process seems to take a lot of that. Now that I swiped everything down again with naptha how long do I wait to apply shellac? I did use a white tee, but it isn't real soft. I didn't have any tees, I had to go to a thrift shop to get a few, but even after washing they aren't as soft/worn as I would like. Back to the application of shellac. I put shellac on the tee, applied a little oil, but it got streaked, more oil?? Maybe I'm pressing down too hard. I think I'm so nervous thinking it won't look good I'm messing it up. As you can tell this is my first machine, I'm uncertain of what to do even though I read your instructions many times, printed them out and still it seems like I'm doing something wrong. There are really tiny bubbles in the shellac after I apply it. Is it too thick?? Sorry about all the questions, thanks for your quick response.

miriam 12-02-2014 10:26 AM

First off - Glenn's fingers are bigger than mine. I have to stretch the t-shirt material over two fingers. Then after the Naptha just put it away. Next use the linseed oil and denatured alcohol - go light - just go over it. Then you can go over it with some denatured alcohol and shellac. You do not need to repeat the Naptha. You can repeat the alcohol and shellac a couple times then you might need to go over it with the linseed oil and denatured alcohol if it doesn't go smooth any more. I'm good at messing it up and getting in a hurry and making it blotchy. Glenn is the king of slow and patient on the finishes.

jmabby 12-02-2014 10:54 AM

Thank you Miriam, I'll try your method. Any length of time needed between applying oil/alcohol and alcohol/shellac? It's snowing out and a good time to do this type of work.

Glenn 12-02-2014 11:11 AM

Yes try Miriam method I also do this. Miriam has the advantage. I visited her several times and showed her how to do it and she is pretty good now. Besure to use a light touch. Once you wipe it down with naptha you can use the technique immediately no need to wait. Miriam is right you don't need the naptha anymore. Keep playing with it and soon you will get the feel of the technique. Patience is needed here. Don't be nervous you can't do any harm. Relax and enjoy the process. You just need to get over being afraid of doing it. I know this is easier said than done LOL And please ask all the question you need to we are here to help.
Skip You only have to wait a minute or two between applications.

jmabby 12-02-2014 12:43 PM

Thank you Glenn. I just put the first application on, I think I put it on too thick the first time. I'm picking up a Singer Red Eye Thursday and hope to high heaven it's in good condition. Again, thanks for your support

miriam 12-02-2014 01:00 PM

2 Attachment(s)
Put it on thin and have patience. I'm not patient. I've been learning - school of hard knocks. I have one I'm working on - it was butt ugly but it is starting to look pretty good. It will never be a beauty but it is a nice work horse. [ATTACH=CONFIG]500947[/ATTACH]
And as I am progressing:
[ATTACH=CONFIG]500948[/ATTACH]
The machine has now been cleaned and oiled. It now turns real sweet. Likely, it will always be somewhat ugly. It has had a coat of Naptha and then some denatured alcohol with linseed oil. After a few minutes, I went over it with denatured alcohol and shellac. You want to keep the pad you use tight on your finger. It is still pretty blotchy. I keep going over it. To get it really smooth will take a lot more work. You can quit any time and use the machine then go back over it as you wish. My DGD Miss L is over so we put the machine back together - she loves to help... I need to find a working motor and test the machine. Right now Barbie is a lot more fun than waiting for shellac to dry. I shot some more pics so you can see some more progress but not perfect. At this point I can sew on it and then when the kidos go home or I have some time then I can do some more with the shellac. When it gets hard to work I use the linseed oil again.

miriam 12-02-2014 01:20 PM

I'm not sure you can see a lot of difference. I can. I can also see that it needs more work. This is after Miss L and I put it back together and after I spent more time with Glenn's method of restoring the finish.
[ATTACH=CONFIG]500953[/ATTACH]

miriam 12-02-2014 01:24 PM

Some of it is poor lighting and poor photography. In the first picture I shot the pic as I got the machine. The second one was after I cleaned it up and did just a little French polishing. The third was after more French polishing and after it was re-assembled.

miriam 12-02-2014 01:26 PM

Maybe Glenn can give us some hints on pin rash. I've considered etching a pic of the horse head in the paint where the tension would go if it was a front tension... If I could draw it would help. To me it looks like the mane is already etched... Then it could be a work horse........

Glenn 12-02-2014 02:23 PM

Miriam the pin rash on this machine is easy. I use aniline(alcohol soluble not water) and mix it in the shellac to make a black paint. you can paint it on with a really good brush or wipe it on with a rag. Then use the black shellac and french polish it to a shine. This is what I do and you can see in my tutorial on the Franklin. It will take many applications but well worth it.
Skip

miriam 12-02-2014 02:36 PM


Originally Posted by Glenn (Post 6992384)
Miriam the pin rash on this machine is easy. I use aniline(alcohol soluble not water) and mix it in the shellac to make a black paint. you can paint it on with a really good brush or wipe it on with a rag. Then use the black shellac and french polish it to a shine. This is what I do and you can see in my tutorial on the Franklin. It will take many applications but well worth it.
Skip

This machine is turning out to be one very nice machine. It is a shame people ignore the ugly well used old machines. From what I have seen those are the ones you want to really use and use and use...

miriam 12-02-2014 04:12 PM

I just gave it another few licks. The surface is very smooth feeling and it's sleek but it doesn't look fabulous. Short of a repaint I doubt if it is going to look fabulous. It sure sews fabulous...

redbugsullivan 12-02-2014 05:28 PM

You two are the reason I have tackled so many old machines. Yes, these techniques work. I've had the best results just using the french polishing method. I focus on one small area at a time. It takes practice to blend. The two fingered method, I swirl 1, 2, 3, and swipe up, seems to be the best. Much like working on other machine bodies, I tend to swipe towards an area that will remain hidden. I hope this helps.

jmabby 12-03-2014 08:06 AM

Thanks all,
At this point anything helps. I think I'll try cheesecloth since my tees seem to be too heavy and firm. Do you ever use pumice powder in cheesecloth (on a dry finish) to smooth out some of the tiny bubbles/streaks? It appears I'm doing better, but still not satisfied with the finish. I let it go yesterday afternoon otherwise I would have stripped it down again.

miriam 12-03-2014 09:15 AM


Originally Posted by jmabby (Post 6993328)
Thanks all,
At this point anything helps. I think I'll try cheesecloth since my tees seem to be too heavy and firm. Do you ever use pumice powder in cheesecloth (on a dry finish) to smooth out some of the tiny bubbles/streaks? It appears I'm doing better, but still not satisfied with the finish. I let it go yesterday afternoon otherwise I would have stripped it down again.

I've never had any bubbles - you are using very little shellac at a time - I don't know why you would want to use cheese cloth. You are not applying shellac you are softening old shellac and it is merging with what little bit of shellac you are rubbing into it. If you want a nice even finish you will need to remove all the old and spray it with something. Of course then you will need new decals. Glenn's method is not some kind of hurry up thing it is definitely old world style craftsmanship. Some people have said they like the description I made here: http://www.quiltingboard.com/vintage...h-t257669.html

Glenn 12-03-2014 11:18 AM


Originally Posted by jmabby (Post 6993328)
Thanks all,
At this point anything helps. I think I'll try cheesecloth since my tees seem to be too heavy and firm. Do you ever use pumice powder in cheesecloth (on a dry finish) to smooth out some of the tiny bubbles/streaks? It appears I'm doing better, but still not satisfied with the finish. I let it go yesterday afternoon otherwise I would have stripped it down again.

No cheese cloth please it will cause you problems. I use well worn T's that are very soft or tighty whities well worn also. I don't know why you have tiny bubbles unless you are using to much shellac. I don't think you need to strip it down again you just need to keep working on it untll the streaks are gone. I really think you might be rushing the process. Try a small area with just denatured alcohol and linseed oil with a light touch untill the bubbles are gone. Any very soft rag will work.

jmabby 12-06-2014 09:40 AM

I've been working on the shellac procedure, I had a difficult start. I was working too fast (as Glen said) and putting on too much linseed oil producing bubbles. Thanks for all the help, the machine looks like it will be beautiful. I had to walk away from it for a couple of days and read over Glen's tut about 3 times. I can't believe how good she looks. I was so proud, showed her to a friend (non sewer) she said "Why would you waste your time doing all that work when you have a $1K machine in the other room"? No use trying to explain, she hates anything old, but she does like me as a friend, and I'm older than the machine.

Rodney 12-06-2014 12:04 PM

Glenn congrats on this being made a sticky! Thanks Admin for moving it here. This is where it belongs.
Rodney


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