Problem testing finish

Hello. I recently bought a sewing machine in a cabinet with top I will have to refinish. (The machine is probably from the 1950s). Being in the middle of a some refinishing, I decided to test the finish to determine what I am working with. I found a "good" spot and dabbed some lacquer finish. Nothing happened. So I dabbed some denatured alcohol in another spot. Gummed up then turned really white. Thinking that maybe I had accidently put it on the same spot or on a spot that had some moisture. I did it again. Same result. Then this morning, just to be sure, I tried in another spot.
I have done web searches and can find plenty on white water rings, but nothing on denatured alcohol causing the suface to go white.
Any ideas what could be up>
Thanks Amy
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www.homesteadfinishing.com has several forums and Jeff is very diligent in answering questions. One forum, maybe Repair & ?, might help your quest. There are other forums for repair out there so if you don't get it resolved please repost advising what you did and found out.
On 7 Aug 2004 10:19:52 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@triad.rr.com (mythak) wrote:

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On 7 Aug 2004 10:19:52 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@triad.rr.com (mythak) wrote:

sounds like shellac.
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I vote for it being shellac.
David
mythak wrote:

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Was that lacquer "finish" or lacquer thinner? On the alcohol, how long did it take to have an effect? The way you said it, sorta implied an immediate response from just a "dab". A typical shellac finish will take a few minutes to respond to alcohol, and will not usually turn white. However, I've seen that happen with shellac over varnish or other coatings that are impervious to alcohol. It apparently breaks the mechanical bond and forms an air layer under the shellac, which then appears white. GerryG
On 7 Aug 2004 10:19:52 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@triad.rr.com (mythak) wrote:

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Whoops! I meant to write lacquer "thinner" Sorry.
On the alcohol, how long did it

Let me go test again. It takes about 30 seconds after a dab before it starts to whiten.

Hmmmm. I wonder what was under it? How should I proceed? Do I have to strip all the way down?
Thanks mythak
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Hmmm...maybe shellac and oil mixture. Check with a pencil if the surface is hard or has a little give. If hard and you're just concerned with the surface, may be able to coat with shellac, first coat very-very light to seal, then heavier, followed by whatever. If soft or wood surface needs repair, you'll need to strip.
I now seem to remember seeing this many years ago on something old, but I've aged as much since then, so the memory's failing.
As was previously mentioned, suggest you run this through www.homesteadfinishing.com . Jeff may recognize something here. If he does, let us know what happened. GerryG
On 10 Aug 2004 11:38:30 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@triad.rr.com (mythak) wrote:

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Good ideas. I have a mixture of shellac, oil and denatured alcohol that I might try. I suppose that if it doesn't work I can always remove it.
I will also try the list you suggested.
THank yo9u so mcuh for your ideas
Amy
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Hi. I am going on vacation tomorrow pending weather, but hope to work on this project when I get home. If there is a follow-up question to my questions, I won't be able to answer it until then.
I look forward to hearing any advice you guys have. In the past year I have tried to do some restoring/refinishing and am quickly learning that good advice save much frustration. I have a number of sewing machine cabinets that I seem to be aquiring and would like to fix them up without doing a complete refinish job. Thanks Amy

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