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Thread: A very dirty 15-91 and how I am exposing the shiny black

  1. #1
    Super Member Sunflowerzz's Avatar
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    A very dirty 15-91 and how I am exposing the shiny black

    I picked up a second 15-91 the other day and didn't realize just how grimy she was until I started cleaning her. In the first pic I cleaned a small area to see if I could find any pretty black shiny paint underneath and I did. But it was very hard just to clean that small area. I almost put her back into the table and said ....later.
    It was going to take me weeks if I tried to do it the regular way with soft rags and oil. I am not sure what the grime is but I certainly do not want to leave it on her and I certainly do not want to touch it while sewing. My guess is tobacco grime with dirt and grease mixed in.

    I am not necessarily lazy but as a true Pisces I always search out the paths of least resistance while accomplishing the same goals. LOL So I searched out today my path of least resistance and thought I would share. You can tell in one of the photos the whole machine looks like she has a very light weight crinkle paint job. The whole machine felt rough and textured all over. YUCK!!! Since I do not know what the grime is I am using a respirator, safety glasses with Turtle Wax bug and tar remover and my secret weapon....Sonic Scrubber by Windex. Link below:
    http://www.amazon.com/Sonic-Scrubber...sonic+scrubber

    There are other bands of Sonic Scrubbers too.


    I lightly spread on two drops of bug and tar remover onto small area and then use a small brush head in the Sonic Scrubber kit and go lightly over the area with the bug and tar remover. Off comes the grime. It actually is taking two times because the first time you can feel the brush starting to slow down and it feels like it is just swirling around the gummy grime but it has loosened it up. So I wipe the brush clean and also the area on the machine and do it again and Voila' super shiny clean black sewing machine.

    I also use the sonic scrubber set for wood work, grout, and well just about everything. It has made cleaning fun, well....more fun and so much quicker and my hands, fingers and arms do not get tired. Do not use on decals...
    Attached Images Attached Images



    Last edited by Sunflowerzz; 04-09-2014 at 04:56 PM.
    Creativity needs focus and application...
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  2. #2
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Are you sure you're not removing the shellac?

  3. #3
    Super Member Sunflowerzz's Avatar
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    I don't think so because the Bug and Tar remover is safe for clear coats and won't strip wax. I have used it on all of my other machines and they turn out great so far.
    Creativity needs focus and application...
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  4. #4
    Super Member oldsewnsew's Avatar
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    I'm sure you're actually removing the old shellac, but don't feel too bad, I do it all the time. You just have to be wary of the decals. Once you're through with that you can try a french polish or clear shellac to restore a protective clear coat. It DOES feel very satisfying to work through the goo, but french polishing itself can reamalgamate the shellac and level it back out.
    Jim

    "What do you mean worrying doesn't help? Everything I ever worried about...never happened!"
    quote by __________ I forget who.

  5. #5
    Super Member Sunflowerzz's Avatar
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    Thanks, If that is the case and I am removing the shellac it definitely needs to be removed because it has turned a very ugly powdery tan brown over the years and a new shellac coat will be coming her way.

    I switched to using sewing machine oil with the sonic brush to see if there was a difference in the end results and I am getting the exact same results...hmmm. Oh well she will be beautified in the end
    Creativity needs focus and application...
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  6. #6
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Right, the ugly shellac needs to be removed, but if the black paint isn't sealed and protected it will soon follow.

  7. #7
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I'm thinking tar and bug remover is ok if it is clear varnish or lacquer on the machine - but you are likely removing shellac under that black stuff. I had one not long ago I used tar and bug remover on then had to get some shellac back on the machine. One way you can kind of tell if you are getting too deep is to watch to see if the black stuff is turning brown. If so you went too deep. Glenn should be back in a couple days or a week and he will have some ideas about this.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  8. #8
    Super Member oldsewnsew's Avatar
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    The old shellac can be re-amalgamated and mixed with a little fresh, by french polishing. Glenn's posts help explain a way to do it. Just don't get alcohol or solvents over the decals. Sewing machine oil by itself is the fluid of choice in these parts.
    Jim

    "What do you mean worrying doesn't help? Everything I ever worried about...never happened!"
    quote by __________ I forget who.

  9. #9
    Super Member Sunflowerzz's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone, I went out last week and bought all of the items needed in Glenns tutorial and the aniline dye arrived yesterday by UPS so I was preparing to recoat or revive whichever.
    I will post photos after she is cleaned up and (we) can take it from there. I appreciate all of the help on this forum and all of the people it takes to get one neat vintage machine up and running and looking beautiful again. Thank you all.

    I tell ya I now have enough vintage cleaning and repair tools and such to fill a small garden shed. Even hubby searches through my arsenal. He says it is quicker and easier than going out to his shop or out to the garage. NEVER thought I would have tools hubby would be wanting and using.
    Creativity needs focus and application...
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  10. #10
    Super Member Sunflowerzz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by miriam View Post
    I'm thinking tar and bug remover is ok if it is clear varnish or lacquer on the machine - but you are likely removing shellac under that black stuff. I had one not long ago I used tar and bug remover on then had to get some shellac back on the machine. One way you can kind of tell if you are getting too deep is to watch to see if the black stuff is turning brown. If so you went too deep. Glenn should be back in a couple days or a week and he will have some ideas about this.
    Thanks Miriam. What is happening is I am removing a dry ugly tobacco brown with the bug and tar remover until I feel the area getting smooth and it looks shiny black and the rag I use to wipe the gunk off is looking much cleaner. There is still a little discoloration on the rag. What is left is a nice shiny black that wipes fairly clean so I still don't know where I am exactly concerning the shellac (varnish or lacquer )coat. But by the time I finish with this machine and all y'alls help I should be more knowledgeable for the next machine. Quite a learning experience.
    Creativity needs focus and application...
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  11. #11
    Super Member oldsewnsew's Avatar
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    there isn't a whole lot of difference between "tar" and what SM mfrs dipped the machines in to make em black. I think it was asphaltum based.
    Last edited by oldsewnsew; 04-10-2014 at 02:22 PM.
    Jim

    "What do you mean worrying doesn't help? Everything I ever worried about...never happened!"
    quote by __________ I forget who.

  12. #12
    Super Member Rodney's Avatar
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    The old Japan finishes were basically a baked on varnish with asphaltum as the coloring agent.
    It looks to me like you're stripping off the old shellac.
    The 99 I'm working on for my daughter has a very badly damaged shellac clear coat. Most of it is going to come off whether I like it or not. The machine didn't look too bad at first, just some alligatoring is what I thought. It turns out the entire coat of shellac was basically floating on top of the black. It's a pretty big mess at the moment. I figure I'm better off taking it off as gently as I can and then I'll either wipe or spray on a fresh coat.
    Rodney
    "Neglect to oil the machine will shorten its life and cause you

    trouble and annoyance" Quote from Singer Model 99 Manual

  13. #13
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I still get amazed at what the really bad shellac will do when you work with the French polishing.
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    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  14. #14
    Super Member oldtnquiltinglady's Avatar
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    That is one cute inspector.....
    Make every day count for something!

    JoAnn

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    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Yes, shellac turns a weird powdery brown when it fails. The alligator flakes on Rodney's machine were likely brown around the edges... I also have a machine here that the shellac has failed on and it's got that brown powdery film on it. I may take it on one day, but it's a real project and not a machine I've bonded with (about a 1920s 99 that requires massive electrical, mechanical and appearance work.)

    Rodney, I was once looking for a good photo of an alligatored machine and had no success. You don't happen to have one, or the willingness to make one, would you?

  16. #16
    Super Member oldsewnsew's Avatar
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    the sewing oil (or mineral oil) brisk rubbing and a soft rag, eventually softens up and sort of re hydrates the yellowed shellac. If you add a teeny spot of alcohol, it will melt the shellac quicker. That's what shellac thinner is, alcohol. The thing is, you can damage some decals so easily. I haven't tried Bug and Tar remover, yet. What does it smell like? Kerosene?
    Jim

    "What do you mean worrying doesn't help? Everything I ever worried about...never happened!"
    quote by __________ I forget who.

  17. #17
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    The bug and tar remover I used seemed to have a masking odor of pine. I use it on the non black machines with good results. I'm not sure of the all black machines but I did use it on one - nothing else worked and the machine was toasted anyway... (works now) Ask Glenn when he gets back from wandering around Texas.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    good mothers let you lick the beaters - great mothers turn it off first

  18. #18
    Super Member oldsewnsew's Avatar
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    I spend a lot of time rubbing away old shellac in front of the TV after a hard day at the factory. Baby oil, mineral oil, sewing machine oil, basically all names for the same thing, with a soft cloth, and rub so fast it gets hot and squeeks, when it squeeks the old shellac is letting go.
    In the old days we removed tar with kerosene. And polished the paint on VW bugs...
    Jim

    "What do you mean worrying doesn't help? Everything I ever worried about...never happened!"
    quote by __________ I forget who.

  19. #19
    Super Member Sunflowerzz's Avatar
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    I've used the Bug and Tar remover on all of my machines from the plastic to the old iron ladies and it works very well. It says it will not remove wax and is made for clear coats, apparently shellac is not included...

    As far as fumes the smell isn't bad but I have to wear a paint mask when using it or it wreaks havoc on my sinuses and I get a bad headache.

    Best used outdoors or with a workbench exhaust system if you are sensitive
    Creativity needs focus and application...
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  20. #20
    Super Member Sunflowerzz's Avatar
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  21. #21
    Super Member purplefiend's Avatar
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    My 1916 Singer red eye's finish has alligatored, can't get a good picture of it. All the photos make it look great.
    Sharon

  22. #22
    Super Member Rodney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ArchaicArcane View Post
    Yes, shellac turns a weird powdery brown when it fails. The alligator flakes on Rodney's machine were likely brown around the edges... I also have a machine here that the shellac has failed on and it's got that brown powdery film on it. I may take it on one day, but it's a real project and not a machine I've bonded with (about a 1920s 99 that requires massive electrical, mechanical and appearance work.)

    Rodney, I was once looking for a good photo of an alligatored machine and had no success. You don't happen to have one, or the willingness to make one, would you?
    Sorry, I'm not going to be able to get a good picture of this one. I've already started working on it and the appearance has changed dramatically.

    You're correct. The ridges between the flat areas were brown.

    At first it didn't look too bad. There were dime to quarter sized spots of "good" areas of shellac with little raised ridges in between. The raised ridges were where the edges of the individual flakes of shellac were pushing against each other.
    The machine had some really stubborn greasy grungy areas under the motor and a couple other areas. I was using mineral spirits to clean the machine before polishing it. It's supposed to be non-reactive with shellac and I haven't had any issues using it on wood projects. I didn't see any evidence of the mineral spirits disolving the shellac this time either. As soon as I started working with the finish the ridges broke off the old finish and the mineral spirits started lifting off the flakes of shellac where they looked like they were still good. It looks to me that somehow the shellac was just sort of floating on top the base coat, it had somehow lost it's grip.
    Even though my machine looked alligatored, I don't think that's what it was. The common form of alligatoring has flat areas of finish with dips in between them and the flat areas are adhered to the base. Mine was the opposite, it had ridges and wasn't adhered.
    Now I've got the brown looking little flaky stuff that dead shellac becomes all over the machine and it seems that I'm going to just have to clean it the best that I can and basically give it a new clear coat or 3.
    I'm still debating whether I want to french polish the new shellac or spray it on.
    I hope this helps,
    Rodney
    "Neglect to oil the machine will shorten its life and cause you

    trouble and annoyance" Quote from Singer Model 99 Manual

  23. #23
    Super Member Sunflowerzz's Avatar
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    Isn't that the way Sharon?!! Sometimes what we see just won't show up in photos.

    I took a dremel to my machine last night and afterwards decided to repaint her completely. I found out that the layer of shellac was very thick. Too much work and I have always wanted one in pearly white so she is scheduled for a repaint but not anytime soon.
    Summer is here and all of the summer outside work, watering, pruning and well you know...and I have a studio building to finish, so sewing machines are all on hold for awhile....
    Creativity needs focus and application...
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