RESURRECTING antique machines.
Sometimes I am asked to help restore old, old, old pieces of machinery. This weekend I finished up restoring an early 1940's antique Brunswick machine where the oldest patent listed on it was 1941. I was only asked to make it look shiny and decorative, but later I found out why; the wires from the motor to the power "box" were entirely bare. All the sheathing that was on them had long-since dry-rotted and been covered in rust. That's a fire hazard, one hell of a fire hazard.
Below is a layout of all the parts that were "external" on the machine. Aka pretty much anything that would touch the outside, or kept something in place that touched the outside. With older machines, there's quite a few pieces, but significantly less than with newer all-metal machines. Almost every standard steel portion of the machine had rust, including some that were chromed and that it was leaking through in small spots.
I've used quite a variety of parts cleaners over the years. Ranging from ultrasonic baths to bench grinders with wire wheels and just about every kind of chemical cleaning agent you can name. I've found that a diluted version of grill cleaners, stainless steel polish, and something like WD-40 will do wonders. I've found my own mix of them, but it's taken me close to 5 years to figure it out. If you want to do some testing, best of luck! (It's not difficult, I just appreciate the ability for people to learn for themselves with a little nudge in the right direction.)
Below is the end product of what came out. It came in colored with as much rust and grime as there was black enamel on it, and left like this. Not too shabby for about 6 hours of work and another 3 hours of soaking. I still had to give a thorough warning to the owners not to plug it in or turn it on, and they said they weren't planning to, it was only a decorative piece, so let's hope they keep it that way. Yay!
caution - Chemicals are bad, m'kay! i've been using these cleaning agents for quite some time and know their ins and outs. Wear a face mask, safety glasses, and keep pets away from the area in which you are working. skin contact is tolerable if you immediately wash it throroughly.
Your sewing machine guy:
I am a Jack-of-Most-Trades that was roped into working on sewing machines, and managed to find a knack for it. I love hilarity, fixing things that are broken, video games, dogs, cats, most other creatures, and sleep. Especially sleep. On here you'll usually find tidbits about recent visits or ADORABLE CREATURES THAT LOVE ON ME WHILE I WORK. There may be ancient machines, there may be unique machines.