After a week of silence, I am back. I am certain that all of you have been thoroughly disappointed in me for not having written last week. My apologies. But, I am back on the job this week and have done some more work on the Singer sewing machine project that we began two weeks ago.
Before I write another word I want to take the time to state that using a stripper such as I proposed last installment has some danger to it. Mixing lacquer thinner, acetone, and methanol in equal proportions creates something that is quite flammable.
For the record, this is not a project to do with the garage door down! Yes, I understand that most of you who read this will probably be well versed in the hazards of using flammable solvents. But, at the same time, this article is readily available to anyone on the internet. To all of you, do not do this in a confined space where fumes can build up. The fumes are potentially explosive. You will be creating a lot of them. Use caution and be careful. Also, proper organic vapor filtration is also suggested for you while you work.
Here’s my shopping list for the stripping phase of this project.
1 gallon lacquer thinner
1 quart acetone
1 quart denatured alcohol
Several 2” chip brushes (cream colored hogs hair paint brush)
Lots of cloth rags
Neoprene gloves or heavy nitrile gloves that will resist chemicals
1 pint glue bottle
1 quart cottage cheese container w/ lid
1 plastic washing machine pan – approx 30” square
I put the pan on two saw horses to control the mess. These are the kind that you will find at an appliance store or hardware store. You put them under your washing machine to contain any spills/dripping/leaks. This is well worth the price to keep this sticky, smelly mess contained! Also, I wear my apron while I do this to keep me from becoming a mess.
I take the chip brush and a sharp pair of scissors and cut off half the length of the bristles. This makes the brush stiffer and helps to get down into the pores of the wood to remove the finish
I mix equal parts of the three chemicals in the cottage cheese container. I then pour that mixture into the glue bottle. The glue bottle puts the solvent exactly where I want it. Try to just barely open the tip of the bottle so that a very small stream comes out. Any more than that is a waste.
Now I’m ready to begin. I put on my gloves, apron, and respirator and grabbed my first part. There were a number of them to do. I started with the four pieces that constitute the top of the machine.I squirt the solvent mixture onto the wood and begin to work it around in a circular motion with the brush. I hold the brush perpendicular to the wood surface so that the bristle tips are working straight down into the finish. As it works, the solvent will go from clear to a brown color. That tells you that you are making progress. Don’t be in a hurry. Let the solvent and the brush do the work for you.