Sunday, November 24, 2013

So it Begins- Sewing Machine Restoration

I've been dreaming of learning how to tear down and repair old sewing machines. Ever since I got Mighty Tiny, my featherweight, (who has yet to get a proper name) and learned that I have to do some basic service on her myself, I've wanted a machine that I can tear down and really see how it works. I understand the basic mechanisms of the lock stitch but the gears and parts and springs and screws were endlessly fascinating yet still a mystery to me. I also adore vintage machines over the new plastic wonders that can't be generally serviced at home.

 So, what's a girl to do? Craigslist! I found a Singer 128 in bad shape for $30 and, after asking Sweetie for an early Christmas present, made the call to the sellers. I made an appointment to go see it on a Friday night. I more or less knew it would come home, the question was how fast and how much would I pay for it. The ad said that the machine worked when the balance wheel was turned but either the motor or cords were non-functioning. No biggie, I want to turn it into a hand-crank machine anyway so I thought this would be perfect!

 A word of advice. When you ask Karma for something, in my case a beater machine to refurb, be careful. You might get exactly that. When I got to the house of the seller I was shown the machine. The needle bar did not move and there was no light attached when there should have been. Because the cords were frayed I didn't get to plug it in to check the motor. Again, not huge since I didn't want a motorized machine anyway but it would have been nice to check. So the needle bar and feed dogs don't move, yet the balance wheel does. Hmmm. Not ideal because that means a gear is not engaging somewhere. I offer $25 and it's accepted and I carry the new girl out to the car.

 I lovingly set her in the backseat and I'm driving down I-35 when someone makes a quick lane change. Mary Jane (her new name, I've decided) goes ass over tit into the floorboard. At this point the impact has happened to the case and I figure there's not much more I can do so I drive her home, haul her out of the car and proceed to whack the case with a small rubber mallet until it comes off. That's as far as I got since I had to do some day-job work. Today Sweetie took her down to the basement work table where she'll get deconstructed, cleaned, oiled and reassembled but not before I snapped some "before" pics. I'm hoping the case can go to my dad's workshop for some TLC after Christmas. So, here's Mary Jane, the newest member of the family and I'm hoping she'll be right as rain very soon.


Head Plate

Motor with the cord cut off


A little dark but you can clearly see the
needlebar is completely down.

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