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Jim/Steelsewing

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I figured I might as well dedicate a new thread to this one.  I remember it all so well, how it all began on an October afternoon and a classified ad in a city, far, far, away: Medina, Ohio.
Screen Shot 2019-10-27 at 7.19.58 PM.png 
The first picture was the one of choice by most sellers of used sewing machines, a nondescript photo of a closed cabinet... but, I knew that cabinet. I'd been looking for one of those!

Screen Shot 2019-10-27 at 7.20.20 PM.png 
And then... a second photo, but this picture told two different stories. The first story is that the seller had no idea at all what a sewing machine might be or how to roll it up - but that's a very common story and not really important now.

The second story however, was far less common. It was a tale that had began in 1876 and had culminated in 1926 with the 50th Anniversary of the White Sewing Machine Corporation and a somewhat limited run of bronze coated and embossed Family Rotary sewing machines. The color of those are unmistakable, and that's what I thought I saw in the photo above.

How the machine made it here involved $40 dollars, Kathy my Vintage Sewing Machine friend, and Kathy's best friend - and old college room mate - who just so happened to live in Medina, Ohio, and a time lapse of about two months.

IMG_4534.jpg   
Saturday night I get the call: Kathy has the machine at her house and here's a picture of what it looked like when I unloaded it into the garage on Sunday. That strange greenish 'sheen' on the deck may have been nicotine...

IMG_4538.jpg 

The better news was all the stuff that came with it... but many of you have seen all these so I'll hurry along. I went to bed at the usual hour Sunday night... but woke up at 3:30am with an overwhelming need to make sure the '26 White would sew. I'd already soaked down all the oil points, and the checked the hand wheel. The motor would turn, but it didn't sound great and further inspection found the grease wicks to be bone dry. An hour and a half later, the motor sounded great and I moved the drive wheel a quarter of an inch outward to avoid the dent in the rubber.

IMG_4541.jpg
Then, still working on coffee and adrenaline... I opened up the manual and threaded the machine - without so much as bothering to check for lint, or change the needle, and wouldn't you know...  the first stitches appeared. Minor adjustment of top tension was needed, but still.

 The part I can't show you is the unusual sounds of this machine.  The very noise of it is antique.

IMG_4543.jpg 
Knowing it would sew gave me the freedom to begin cleaning - and holy heck did it ever need cleaning. In the wrong light this bronze machine didn't look very different at all from the black embossed machines. The gunk and filth was thick with this one. A toothbrush, a whole lot of clean rags, and a pint of Mr. Clean later... (not being paid for that) parts of the machine have regained their finish. Other parts are still being worked upon.

IMG_4544.jpg 

Yesterday, I found it odd that the bronze had survived better than some of the chrome bits.

IMG_4546.jpg 

Today, I'm just a little tired... but more than half of the machine is clean and if I can get the hand wheel off... tomorrow may wrap up the machine cleaning and I can begin on the cabinet.


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Mkwatts

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Reply with quote  #2 
That machine is spectacular. It looks like a Art Nouveau bridge in France. Please keep the before and after pictures coming. It is fun to see the transformation.
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #3 
Sometimes when I post pictures it feels like an episode of Little House on the Prairie.

It's just not good TV to watch the characters do hours and hours of chores, so they'd cut straight to when things get exciting.

IMG_4547.jpg 

Here's a pic of the progress on the back side, but it doesn't really tell the whole story.

IMG_4548.jpg 

This might help a little. This is the motor from the '26. Notice how you'd think almost immediately that White
didn't make the motor the same bronze as the machine, or if they did... this must be a replacement, right?

IMG_4549.jpg 

Wrong. The motor is indeed the same color as the machine. It will just take a few hours to remove the filth off the case. 
When the machine first arrived... everything was the color of the motor, but it doesn't make for good forum posts to show the
slow and torturous hour-by-hour lightening as each thin layer of yuck fills rag after rag!

Discovering the true motor color has me a little concerned. I'm worried the machines face plate might be the same story...


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Reply with quote  #4 
You hit the nail on the head, Jim. Some of the machines I got my friends said they would not pay ten dollars for (a couple of them were free!) and would have passed them up. After scrubbing off all the crud and crap, cleaning out the packed lint from the shuttle and feed dogs, then stripping and staining and refinishing the cabinets, they changed their opinions in a hurry. Some even asked, "Where did you find this one?" even though it was the same machine they sniffed at and would have passed on a month earlier. I was given a free 1903 Minnesota A treadle that the guy begged me to take (no one wanted it!) that when finally cleaned up - there were actually decals under the crud!) and with the cabinet restored it went from ugly duckling to beautiful swan.

You are lucky indeed to have found this machine and cabinet!

-Bruce
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #5 
That is the most stunning machine. Your hard work really is paying off- you are getting fantastic results.

What a rare find - the beauty plus all the parts.  Amazing!
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #6 
If anyone asks me what I did today...

IMG_4550.jpg 

I've got an answer.

The black gunk on most of the machine wasn't easy, but it wasn't crazy difficult.
The motor, however, was crazy difficult. Almost as if the same gunk had been baked on.
The motor isn't perfect, but I'm quite tired of looking at it.

Gonna get out the Murphey's Oil Soap and relax and have a little fun.


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pgf

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Reply with quote  #7 
So... how _did_ you get off the gunk that was basically baked on.  On a black machine you can sort of get away with leaving the gunk there.  But not on that motor!

paul

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #8 
Well now, this is a little difficult to admit to... but I was getting nowhere with the usual attempts at cleaning that motor this morning. All my methods used on the machine were coming up blank. I got a little desperate and grabbed a well worn green 3m kitchen scrubby... soaked it down it with straight Mr Clean... and very gently, with slight increases in pressure (on the back of the motor) worked it back and forth until I found a way in. The baked on crud thinned and thinned and finally it found the bronze. I had to be really gentle, but I just continued around the motor taking the crud down to where it was almost transparent. Once the hardened outside surface was compromised, the layer of crud underneath was way softer and easy enough to go back to using a cotton rag. It was a rather delicate dance. Once I'd managed to get most of the black off, I wiped it all down with a clean damp rag and used an automotive rubbing compound to ease off the last of the filth and blur any little mark I may have made. I wouldn't recommend this method to anyone - and I'm still not sure how I managed to get it to work - except for saying that perhaps after two days of crud removal, I'd become somewhat familiar with how the crud behaved.
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Zorba

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Reply with quote  #9 
And I thought this story was going to involve WD-40!
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #10 
Yesterday I made the mistake of saying that I hoped the face plate hadn't also been bronzed... that was a dumb thing to say out loud.

IMG_4554.jpg 

Still working on the edges. Gave the cabinet two good rub downs with the Murph last night. There isn't any
issues to the structure, but the finish is worn off in places, and the lid, omg... the shellac there has fogged.
I'm looking forward to it though. Much more with this machine head and I'll have to wear sunglasses...


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pgf

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Reply with quote  #11 
Other pictures I've seen of that machine haven't done it justice -- I think no one else has managed to clean theirs as well as you have, Jim.  That's an amazing sewing machine.

paul

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Rodney

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Reply with quote  #12 
Wow! Great find on one of White's better cabinets and a Bronze to boot!  And what Paul said. Most of the bronzes I've seen haven't looked as nice as yours.
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #13 
I wasn't sure what to do with it when it got here. Lori reminded me that it should be cleaned...not redone. So that's all I really did, clean the metal. At nearly a hundred years old the bronze still has it's own old patina. So do all the knobs and levers, and there are spots I just can't get to, or clean. I did check out how people restore old bronze statues and that involved equal amounts of lemon juice and baking soda for a paste. It works, but leaves a little fog that comes off with a tight weave cotton rag, and then buffs out with a micro fiber cloth (harder cloth like terricloth would leave a scratch). It's also unusual for us sewing machine people to have a raw metal machine to clean. Usually everything is painted, Japaned or otherwise and there's often decals to consider. So having an opportunity to just shine metal on a sewing machine makes it unusual. 

And it doesn't hurt to borrow some 'natural lighting' from National Geographic.

Similarly I should by all rights do the same to the cabinet: just clean it. I've gone over it twice with the Murphey's, and once with OrangeGlo. All of that helped... but not a ton. So then I broke out the 'safe' mix of vinegar, Linseed & Mineral Spirits. That too is helping... but it's going to take something else to get it right. The large wooden table top cover may need even more. The funny (?) thing is that I'm looking at this combo in reverse. Usually I really want the wood grain to pop and stand out against an all black machine. This time I have a strong desire to darken the table shade and downplay the wood grain. I don't really want the table to be too busy. Might have to make some tea.


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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #14 
DAMN!  OK, YOU made me want a White rotary.....unbelievable!
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SteveH-VSS
YOU made me want a White rotary.....unbelievable!


There is one particular option on the 1926 White FR that should interest you Steve:

IMG_4557.jpg 

Notice how the hand wheel not only has a grove for a belt, but that there's clearance to the cabinet!
It -may- be that the bronze head would slip ever so easily into a White treadle cabinet of that era.
Now that would make for a very interesting piece.

That was sort of today's good news. The not so great news was trying to figure out what happened to the top:

IMG_4556.jpg 

Wow is that ugly. So this morning I decided it was time to figure out why the surface was so fogged. I began testing the finish coat. Vinegar didn't do a thing. Lemon oil, hoping it was a bad wax build-up, didn't phase the surface at all. Great, time for the cans... mineral spirits... nope, nada, not even a dent. One last chemical to go, denatured alcohol... and it just bounced right off.

IMG_4558.jpg 

That pretty much left me with only one option  - a ultra-fine sanding pad - and yeppers... that did it. So now I know that once upon a time, someone decided to clean up the cabinet and must have waited for the  worst rainy week of the year to poly the lid. The fog is moisture from the wood that is trapped below the poly as the piece dried. The only salvation here is to carefully scrub the poly off. A bit of a mixed blessing; yes the poly saved the cabinet, and yes here we go again with a whole lot of scrubbing. And that's all I'm going to try to do, scrub off the poly coat. Going to try to stick to the idea that we're just cleaning. No great piles of worn out sandpaper, just cleaning off one ugly thin layer - while doing my best to not think of the Karate Kid movie...


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pgf

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Reply with quote  #16 
Quote:
It's also unusual for us sewing machine people to have a raw metal machine to clean. Usually everything is painted, Japaned or otherwise and there's often decals to consider. So having an opportunity to just shine metal on a sewing machine makes it unusual. 


I'll say -- I didn't realize you were working on the bare metal.  It's intereseting that they didn't lacquer it.  But I suppose lacquer is usually used on decorative brass...  and if they were thinking of the machine as fine art, instead...   :-)

paul

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Reply with quote  #17 
Hello group,

  What a beautiful machine!  Interesting to see the comments on the lacquer over the finish.  There is debate on who originally had the first crinkle finish on a sewing machine.  I've seen folks say it was White and I've seen folks dis agree with their own take on it.  One of the advantages of the crinkle finish was supposed to be a finish that could not have a glare to it (can we say new lacquer finish over japanning?).  If I had a bronze finish White rotary (I love the old White rotary machines) I'd want an embossed cast version as well.  Your machine with it's belt groove makes it even better.  Sadly the newer White rotary machines did away with the belt groove.  As well engineered and excellent those machines were I believe they made a huge mistake by doing away with the belt groove.  Nice to see yours has it.

Best regards,
Mike


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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #18 
There's a smell that takes me back to high school. It used to be in the 'fixative' spray we used in art class. I doubt it's still allowed, but it reminded me. The other thing that reminded me was the 'onward through the fog' graffiti I used to see back then when it came to this lid for the Mount Vernon cabinet. I'll explain:

I have to say that this top really annoyed me. I do not like having to resort to some kind of chemical solution, but this one had me beat. I spent three hours on one quarter of the lid and got no where. So, did my research, went to the hardware store, brought back some lacquer thinner. Whew. What a smell. I mixed it 50/50 with mineral spirits, donned some gloves, and went through three 0000 steel wool pads.

IMG_4556.jpg 

^ this morning

IMG_4559.jpg 

^ now

IMG_4560.jpg 
^ still now

The results could be better, but it's one of those wood working paranoia things. It's pretty nice as it is... if I just go one more time... I could ruin it. So maybe it's time to back away, take what I've been given, be thankful, and move on. The old poly had been applied by brush, and it was not one coat, but many, many, coats. Where the finish is right now isn't perfect, but I don't really want perfect. Sorry, but I don't think it should be perfect after ninety three years, and I'm not doing this for a museum. The occasional nick and blemish -to me- tell a story. After I let the garage air out some...whew... I'll see if it will take a wax, that's when I'll know for sure.


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hilltophomesteader

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Reply with quote  #19 
WOW!  Nice job on that cabinet..and that amazing bronze machine! Now, I want to see it in a treadle!!!!
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Guy Montana

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Reply with quote  #20 
Fantastic!!!  What a great change in the look of it all!!  LOTS of elbow grease is a great reward!  If you do happen to take the motor apart I would love some pictures of the insides.   I wish they still made things with that same mentality; of just being able to repair it simply.  Now-a-days, everything is an assembly or proprietary wiring...  Its still just a live wire and a ground.  What a really great piece you found Jim!!  I would love to see such a piece in person!  Thank you for sharing!!  
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Reply with quote  #21 
What an absolutely gorgeous machine that is!!!! What a find!!
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Mavis

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Reply with quote  #22 
Just have to chime in and echo all the compliments you've received on this one.  I can't stop coming back to this thread and look at your before and after photos.  I agree with you on leaving the wood alone at this point.  Just like a painter who knows when it leave it alone rather then doing more and ruining the piece.  I am such a novice and would not have thought that machine was anything but covered with smoker's residue and dirt.  Bronze. wow, what important person do you suppose that was made for.  Or, do you think there are more of them "in the wild?"
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Phyllis1115

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Reply with quote  #23 
This is another Lust in my Heart machines. Your restoration is lovely. Good to see you kept as much of the original patina as possible.

My neighbor gave me an embossed White with scary wiring. One of these days ....

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WI Lori

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Reply with quote  #24 
Jim, another beautiful success story. Congratulations!
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pgf

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Reply with quote  #25 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mavis
Bronze. wow, what important person do you suppose that was made for.  Or, do you think there are more of them "in the wild?"


Mavis -- I think this was an "anniversary edition" of some sort, put out as a marketing thing by White.  So yes, there are more of them, but none of us has ever seen one as pretty as Jim's.  :-)

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #26 
Just to let everyone know, pretty comes at a cost. [smile] This machine just keeps going and going. Right when you think 'they couldn't have possibly have..." Oh yes... they did.  Both the hand wheel, and the lock assembly were bronzed. It's really neat how on one side of the hand wheel it's smooth steel, and on the interior and on the spokes, it's bronzed. I don't know how they did that, but it's pretty cool. Not so cool from a cleaning aspect, but oh well.

IMG_4561.jpg 

I had no idea at all when I first sat down to clean this that it was going to get as involved as it did. It just keeps going on and on. But even when I started in the back of my head was that fine line between patina and just plain crud. In this case, it's a lot of crud. When it wipes off you can see the wear underneath. There are spots where the bronze has thinned over the years. Other places, like on the hand wheel, show age.

IMG_4562.jpg 

I'd imagine that when the machine was new the spokes of the hand wheel were just as slick and smooth as the outside part. Now, all these years later, you can see pitting. The surface isn't slick. That's where I feel the line is between cleaning and going to far; trying to smooth out those little pits, or re-color some of the worn spots would be a no-no. That's the patina to me: the layer that shows the honest age and wear. On the other hand, crud is just crud, esp if the crud is slowly eating away at the finish. That would really need to go.

IMG_4564.jpg 

I'm still working on the crud here.

Thanks to everyone for the comments and the encouragement.
Yes, I'm sure there are more of these out there in the wild.
If you find one, you will need two things: a good sized pile of white cotton rags (I've probably gone through a small pillow's worth) and time.


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Seijun

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Reply with quote  #27 
These are my absolute favorite machines (I will be listing one on eBay in a few hours). From what I have been told, the color was originally a very dark bronze and not polished copper. I have one in my collection that is polished bright copper like yours, and a second one where I have kept the finish dark bronze. I should take some pictures of them together, they are both gorgeous. The polished copper one is still my favorite though. Here it is with and without flash.

IMG_20190202_162742545.jpg  IMG_20190202_162850184.jpg 

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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #28 
That is gorgeous as well!  I wish I had a choice when mine arrived but it was so filthy that there was little else that I could do. I'm hoping that given a year or two it will mature a little, like a fine wine. So yeah, it wasn't a easy decision, but the gunk and crud had to go. Whatever that layer of yuck was composed of, it had begun to pit the finish here and there. Here's hoping it will age better now. I have found another one for sale, just the machine head, and it looks a lot cleaner. Waiting to see if I hear from the seller, so yes... these machines are out there. You just need to train your eyes to see them. =)

It does make me wonder though.. what White must have applied to the metal to 'darken' the finish. There's an interesting question.

Oh, and that noise I spoke of, the antique sound when it starts up. I figured it out. It kept bothering me so I sat down and with the machine not threaded and no bobbin in place I started the machine, and stopped and started it again, and stopped. I figured out I had to have the bobbin plate in place, and stated it again and then the noise of it was clearer. The noise isn't exactly the same, but it's hauntingly familiar to the sound of the tardis... I know, I know, but that's it.

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SteveH-VSS

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Reply with quote  #29 
I do love that Bronze color.
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Reply with quote  #30 
Hello group,  For the post regarding the one listed on eBay in a few hours.  I looked on eBay....is this the one listed for 2495 dollars?  

  This thread has motivated me.  We have two White FR's here...typically they sell for 50 to 100 dollars on eBay.  We are making a table for one up on the balcony of the tree house and have an original twig table for the one in the terrace.  Maybe I'll buy another for 50-100 and convert to hand crank?  We just overhauled two Yamato 62fd feed off arm flat lock machines and had parts like the tension disc assembly and others re chromed.  If this same place does bronzing (very likely and also likely well under 100 dollars) I'll bronze one (maybe an embossed) then get a hand carved case done (another 100 dollars).  Picture of hand carved case attached that would look so good with a bronzed hand crank White embossed (diy).  It'll be one of a kind and only hundreds of dollars certainly nowhere close to 500 total expenses in project. 

   Picture is of our "Lotus decals" case for our Singer 66.  Case cost around 150 total dollars and has a stainless removable accessory box that has a hand carved wood top.  When box removed it reveals space for a treadle belt from underneath.

Best regards, Mike LotusDecalCase.jpeg 

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Seijun

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Reply with quote  #31 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ke6cvh
Hello group,  For the post regarding the one listed on eBay in a few hours.  I looked on eBay....is this the one listed for 2495 dollars?  

 


No, that one has been listed a long time. Here is mine: https://www.ebay.com/itm/303387955977 I don't know if I will get any bids, but gotta try making rent somehow!
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Reply with quote  #32 
Mike, that case. Wow.
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Reply with quote  #33 
Hi Seijun,

  That is a very humble and nice starting price.  May I ask if you can list with Global Shipping Program to allow to Philippines?  Usually auctions can be modified if one does it right.  If so, I'll bid (might be in trouble as I was not supposed to buy any more machines).  Here is a picture of another project which was done by same carver for a Sphinx top to match a 15-30 machine also over 100 years old.  Unfortunately, decals not perfect on the machine but it is what it is and it's a hand crank.  Gotta get around to finishing this one.  There is a carver in nearby barrio I meant to contact (again) as the original, very talented, one left to Manila to raise his grandchild.  I am crazy for White FR's but unfortunately they removed the belt groove later on making them less desirable or I'd have a larger collection (ex. a 43). Would be nice to get one in a case hand carved.   I have two Wheeler and Wilson no 8 hand cranks.  One has gears.  The other has a pin that goes into hand wheel when moved into the hole.  This no 8 can be hand cranked or belt driven.  I'm sure there is a way to use a hand crank with zero modifications to the machine so it remains a collector item unchanged.  sphinx.jpeg  .  Picture attached.  Mike

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Seijun

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Reply with quote  #34 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim/Steelsewing
That is gorgeous as well!  I wish I had a choice when mine arrived but it was so filthy that there was little else that I could do. I'm hoping that given a year or two it will mature a little, like a fine wine. So yeah, it wasn't a easy decision, but the gunk and crud had to go. Whatever that layer of yuck was composed of, it had begun to pit the finish here and there. Here's hoping it will age better now. I have found another one for sale, just the machine head, and it looks a lot cleaner. Waiting to see if I hear from the seller, so yes... these machines are out there. You just need to train your eyes to see them. =)

It does make me wonder though.. what White must have applied to the metal to 'darken' the finish. There's an interesting question.



I was reading an old book last month about the lost wax bronze casting process, and there was a section at the end about applying patina to bronze to get different colors. I looked into it a little more, and there is a lot of information about the subject online. It is a normal part of bronze casting, but it was all new to me! I had always assumed that patina on bronze statues was from normal aging (and sometimes it is). While the bronze Whites aren't the same as a bronze statue, I assume a chemical process of some kind was used to patina the surface, if dark bronze was indeed the original color. Chemicals can be purchased online to patina bronze.
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #35 
Seljun,

I did poke around a little as well and found that there are bottles of chemicals that I could purchase to 'darken' bronze, copper, brass and etc. The question in my head I suppose is how did the White company have these machines made? It would be interesting because I am unfamiliar with different 'shades' of metal. I would have thought that if you bought metal x, then it's the color of metal x, and that there wasn't really any options. =)

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Reply with quote  #36 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ke6cvh
Hi Seijun,

  That is a very humble and nice starting price.  May I ask if you can list with Global Shipping Program to allow to Philippines?  Usually auctions can be modified if one does it right.  If so, I'll bid (might be in trouble as I was not supposed to buy any more machines).  Here is a picture of another project which was done by same carver for a Sphinx top to match a 15-30 machine also over 100 years old.  Unfortunately, decals not perfect on the machine but it is what it is and it's a hand crank.  Gotta get around to finishing this one.  There is a carver in nearby barrio I meant to contact (again) as the original, very talented, one left to Manila to raise his grandchild.  I am crazy for White FR's but unfortunately they removed the belt groove later on making them less desirable or I'd have a larger collection (ex. a 43). Would be nice to get one in a case hand carved.   I have two Wheeler and Wilson no 8 hand cranks.  One has gears.  The other has a pin that goes into hand wheel when moved into the hole.  This no 8 can be hand cranked or belt driven.  I'm sure there is a way to use a hand crank with zero modifications to the machine so it remains a collector item unchanged.    .  Picture attached.  Mike


Those wooden cases are incredible!
I had international shipping as an option but it would not calculate for the Philippines. Have you bought machines before from the USA? I went into my settings and enabled the Global Shipping Program, and then applied it to the listing, but I am still not getting a shipping calculation for the Philippines. I think I will have to go to the post office tomorrow and ask about it.
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pgf

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Reply with quote  #37 
I did some research on that recently, as well, for brass:  I had to make a new tension assembly for my Gold Medal chain stitcher.  The original parts were all steel, but I knew that brass wouldn't look out of place, and and I was able to get a "close enough" brass pulley to replace the original tension pulley from the hardware store.  And for the sheet metal parts, it's a lot easier to work with brass (for me, at least).  But of course the new brass parts were all, well, "brassy".

So I researched, and tried the simplest method first:  put some white vinegar (I didn't have enough, so used some cider vinegar as well) in the bottom of a jar, hang your very clean parts (use acetone, or at least alcohol, to remove all grease, and don't touch them with your fingers again) above the vinegar, and put the lid on.  And wait.

Sure enough, in just 2 or 3 hours the brassy-ness was gone, replaced by a softer glow.  It was already perfect for what I needed, and it'll continue darkening over time, of course.

So Jim, you need to get yourself a really big jar, big enough to hold your embossed machine head, and about 7 bottles of vinegar, and...    well, maybe there's another way.

paul

brassy:  https://projects.foxharp.net/sewing_machines/gold_medal_14.jpg.html

not quite so brassy:  https://projects.foxharp.net/sewing_machines/gold_medal_25.jpg.html

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Seijun

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Reply with quote  #38 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim/Steelsewing
Seljun,

I did poke around a little as well and found that there are bottles of chemicals that I could purchase to 'darken' bronze, copper, brass and etc. The question in my head I suppose is how did the White company have these machines made? It would be interesting because I am unfamiliar with different 'shades' of metal. I would have thought that if you bought metal x, then it's the color of metal x, and that there wasn't really any options. =)


The first bronze white I ever had I actually over-polished. I used a baking soda, vinegar, and saltwater solution to darken it a little, especially around the embossed details. A chemical made specifically for darkening bronze would have worked much better, but the saltwater solution was ok in a pinch. 

The knowledge of what process White used is probably lost to time, although someone experienced with historical patination methods might be able to tell by examining the colors of our machines. 
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Seijun

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Reply with quote  #39 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pgf


So Jim, you need to get yourself a really big jar, big enough to hold your embossed machine head, and about 7 bottles of vinegar, and...    well, maybe there's another way.

paul

brassy:  https://projects.foxharp.net/sewing_machines/gold_medal_14.jpg.html

not quite so brassy:  
https://projects.foxharp.net/sewing_machines/gold_medal_25.jpg.html


There are so many different methods, commercial and homemade, it really comes down to what effect you are going for! Here is just a random page I ran into where someone was trying different homemade methods https://deployant.com/the-bronzed-patina-the-curious-case-of-patina-how-to-get-it-and-how-not-to/

Pgf: your darkened brass part looks great BTW! 
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Jim/Steelsewing

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Reply with quote  #40 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pgf

So Jim, you need to get yourself a really big jar, big enough to hold your embossed machine head, and about 7 bottles of vinegar, and...   


*hides dripping machine head behind back*

Now, how well do I rinse out this kerosene?  [smile]

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Seijun

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Reply with quote  #41 
Omg Jim, you use kerosene too? I go through gallons of the stuff on sewing machines. My b/f HATES it. 

I snapped some photos of my dark bronze white. It is really hard to photograph, and is a lot prettier in person.

IMG_9189.jpg  IMG_9191.jpg  IMG_9192.jpg    

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ke6cvh

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Reply with quote  #42 
Hi Seijun,  PM'd and we can do that for the rest.....I buy way toooo many machines through global shipping.  On Kerosene I have two merrow break apart seam machines I will use same trick on that are frozen.  Will fill with kerosene let sit.  Then run belt off chuck of Dewalt drill and run for several minutes and let sit again then drain and back fill with oil.  Worked extremely well before and then I found a Merrow manual likely over 70 years old that said to do exactly that!  Likely super tight tolerances cause this problem when they sit for years and then I buy.  I can see the bed of the machine as the basis of the top of the case...or maybe even better I should put a bronze in the balcony of tree house and then buy an embossed and convert to hand crank with matching case 😉  So much for not buying any more machines.........  Picture of tree house where the balcony is and future table (too many ongoing projects).  Likely I'll use abaca and make an "Asian" white table.  Abaca imbedded in epoxy is how we made the fold out desk and lamps for the treehouse.  Looks like a 1950's tube radio speaker grill.  hmmmmm bronze White in Asian treadle desk in tree house.....just got higher on our priorities.  Picture of tree house and twig table next to Singer no 2.  On the tree house it was a 100 plus year old jack fruit that died when building the house so we treated the insanely hard wood and made a concrete re enforced base under tree and around roots then put 6 inches of dirt on top.  On the machines in front terrace we made covers for them 😉   Best regards, Mike  edited to comment on the
picture showing the treadle foot piece.  It was missing as someone converted to electric.  We bought available pieces off eBay but too narrow.....so we made those small rectangular pieces to "extend" and now fits/works just fine 😉
TreeHouse18MarKendall.jpg  White FamilyRotary11AugPic4.jpg  WhiteFamilyRotary11AugPic1.jpg  WhiteFamilyRotary11AugPic2.jpg  WhiteFamilyRotary11AugPic3.jpg

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Mavis

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Reply with quote  #43 
This just keeps getting better.  Darkened bronze is beautiful!  And changing the new, too "brassy" to a more subdued shade is great!  Loved seeing Mike's Philippine tree house and machines!  Wow, just wow!  
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Chaly

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Reply with quote  #44 
Mike - If I had a tree house like that I'd never come out!  Looks like a peaceful retreat.  And you really have an amazing setup.

Regarding the bronze - which I believe is mostly copper - it's a really big thing now for people to add patina to copper - especially the copper sinks.  Last year  I got the most beautiful copper table for our patio - it was used and didn't look that great but for $30 I took the chance to see if I could get it to my liking.  There were scratches and rings, etc.  plus some areas had a beautiful patina.  I used lots of different household supplies that have been mentioned and was able to get it looking the way I wanted.  It was really fun as different colors and swirl patterns came out.  I then set it outside and within a few weeks the whole pattern changed - with exposure to air and humidity.  To freeze the look I was after I needed to wax.  Anyway, I am letting it patina naturally and it's developing a very nice aged look again.  Just need to keep it out of the sun as it gets hot enough to fry an egg!  I wonder if the motors on the bronze machines would get hot on the outside?

Those White bronze machines are such a work of art and I think they look beautiful in whatever state they are in - patina or no.
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ChattyKathy

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Reply with quote  #45 
Jim,
Your gorgeous White Rotary is now rivaling...seriously rivaling my love for MOP SM!!!   I am really in bad shape...lol lol lol.  I think these bronze SM sculptures are truly works of art.  Thanks for sharing your painstaking endeavors to bring this beauty back to life.  Curious and does she sew?  I have 1 MOP SM and am hesitate to use her ...worried about her stunning decals being bruise.  I just enjoy viewing my own displays at home.  

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