Friday, September 5, 2014

Stripping Down: Singer Featherweight Repaint

It's not near as sexy as it sounds. In fact it's messy and tedious work. Getting the machine prepped for paint actually took longer than the paint itself.
The first steps was to remove all the parts that were removable without going crazy. I highly recommend the book The Featherweight 221 and I. It does have an entire section on replacing the decals and repainting you machine. The motor, the light, upper tension, the thread guides, and so on. It all has to come off. I went through a lot of ziploc bags. Google and eBay were my friends at different points because sadly the upper tension bar guide broke apart as in literally fell apart. The badges on this machine were particularly annoying to remove. Usually they were just held on by brass rivets with bent over ends but not mine. These required the use of a dremel from the top to grind off the head of the rivet.
Once everything is off that hard part really sets it. The shellac finish has to be removed. This is time consuming, messy, and not exactly pleasant. Steel wool, wet/dry sandpaper and a some chemicals have to be employed. Old shellac is either easy to remove or in my case it went gummy and took forever to remove. As I went little areas of pitting were discovered. This machine is made from aluminum and aluminum can corrode or react with the other metals. Areas, where the pitting was quite deep, were treated with bondo. Yes, bondo, just like what they use on cars. As I worked on my machine certain oddities appeared that made me wonder if someone hadn't repainted it at another time in it's life.

sanded and ready for masking

Once cleaned it had to be prepped for primer and paint. The things that could not be removed were carefully taped off. Other areas had to be stuffed with paper. Toothpicks, the ends of matchsticks and wads of paper towel were used to keep screw and oil holes open while others were carefully taped over.

primer coated. It got two coats of primer.

All the pieces that needed paint were painted with quality automotive primer. In this case it was a light colored primer because my final paint color is a light color. I chose to repaint this machine using quality automotive paint in spray cans. The color was mixed for me by my local automotive paint store. One can is more than enough for a sewing machine. I purchased the primer and clear coat recommended to me by the store.
You may be wondering about the cardboard box. Well that was a homemade paint booth for painting the machine. It was made out of a large cardboard box, tape, an air filter for a furnace, and a box fan. It didn't help with the odor but it helped a great deal with over spray and the stuff you don't want to be breathing in.
After the primer comes paint, decals and clear coat. Than the final assembly.

This article is not a how to on how to repaint your machine. If you choose to repaint you machine you do so at your own risk.

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