Beautiful form, beautiful gold decorative decals, beautiful chromed plate and covers, beautiful black japan lacquer paint… just this description is enough for many people to think “Singer sewing machine”. They fit the description and more. Aside from outstanding build quality in the machines sewing mechanisms, no effort was spared in the cosmetic detail and finish of these outstanding vintage sewing machines.
Due to years of use, chips in the paint are very commonly found on the sewing bed edges, the sewing arm, and around the rim of the balance wheel. I do not find these chips objectionable, but when reconditioning a classic vintage cast iron black Singer sewing machine, it makes a difference. If you are contemplating paint chip repair on your black singer machine, you may find the following information helpful.
What I have learned is that when it comes to paint matching, “black” isn’t “black”. In fact, there is a very noticeable difference between different brands of black paint. This is true of gloss black, satin black, jet black, and flat black.
Compared to the deep black japanned lacquer originally applied on Singer sewing machines, readily available black paints look “gray” when placed side by side for comparison. Rustoleum, duplo, krylon, automotive paints, artists paints, on and on… they just don’t match the original shade of black on these machines.
The black lacquer Singer used was a formulation that used carbon black powder as the pigment for the deep black color. It was mixed in a shellac base and dipped… not sprayed or brushed on. Unfortunately, this type of finish is not commercially available today. This complicates finding a suitable color match paint considerably because any acceptable paint must have an oil base. Enamels are not compatible with and cannot be applied over this lacquer finish. The same applies to clear coats,
Based on my extensive research and experimentation, the only black paint that comes close is a GM touch up auto paint called “lamp black”. It can be purchased in small quantities suitable for chip repair. Available in paint pens and 1/4 ounce jars, it is as close to the original Singer black as you are likely to find. Use the internet to find the product as you will not likely find it at your friendly auto parts store, hardware store, Walmart, etc.
Expect to get good results on small areas (chip repairs) only. It is close in color, but noticeable upon close inspection, especially as the repaired area gets bigger.
If you are contemplating repairing the small chips on your machine, I with you the best results and hope you found this information helpful.
Let me know what you think!