Wednesday, November 30, 2011

That will be $81.70, ma'am


Sometime during the night last Wednesday, this dog ate a whole loaf of Wonderbread white bread (stuffing ingredients) and about a pound (454 grams) of raisins.  The bread I could care less about.  I was worried about the raisins.  Reportedly, grapes and raisins, in large enough quantities, can be toxic to canines.  He did not get sick, though he had a snare drum for a belly all day Thursday  until, well, you know....

Friday my vet was not in.  Since Wrigley  seemed to be fine by then I decided to not to worry. Monday I talked to the vet.  She suggested some blood work (easy enough, the vet tech can draw that) and a urine test.  Right.  Oh, and if you get a mid stream sample, that would be good.  Right.

Undaunted (I mean I can re wire a sewing machine, how hard can this be?) I went out with a large yogurt container to try to slip in there when the leg was up.  Wrigley thought this was a new game.  He had a blast.  I had no urine.

By now I had googled raisins and canines and found out that the problem is acute renal failure caused by toxins in the raisins.  The toxic dose is 11-30 grams per kilogram.  Wrigley, at 31.8 kilos, had consumed at least 454 grams and some cardboard.  Toxic dose for him was somewhere between 350 and 960 grams.  I think the Wonderbread saved his life.

Today I dropped him off at the vet.  I hemmed and hawed this morning about even taking him in.  He seemed absolutely fine.  Still, I had called the vet and asked for advice.  It seemed disrespectful to disregard her suggestions.   So after the poodles ate breakfast (Wrigley had to fast) we all traipsed over to the vet.  I left him there all day.  The report, at three oclock, was that his blood work was fine ( no kidney damage) but still no pee.  "We really would like to get some urine."  Right.

We traipsed back and I paid the bill (it wasn't all that much, maybe the value of my 2 wireless 201s) and as I left, with Wrigley on leash, I said, "oh I wish I had a pan right now.  I bet he will pee."  The wondeful vet tech followed me, and swooped in from behind just as he lifted that leg.  Great news.  His urine test was fine.  No protein and perfect specific gravity. 

 I keep telling Steven that we have larger frontal lobes and should be able to prevent his marauding.  We do have gates on the kitchen.  We just have to remember to latch them...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Train Whistle cont'd

So the truth of the matter is, that I am not so smart.  Oh, you knew that didn't you?  The train whistle noise was a motor noise, true.   But it is a bearing noise and one drop of oil strategically placed will cure it.  I did not strategically place anything.  It placed itself.  Someday when I can I will take apart the motor again and figure out where the strategic place is to drop that oil.  Until then I am grateful that the noise is gone.......

Monday, November 28, 2011

Do I dare????

I dis-assembled a 201 motor yesterday.  This is bad.......  The lead wires are bare of insulation but they are not broken at the connection to the core.  If the wrapping around the core is good, I  will solder new leads on and re-insulate with shrink wrap.  Don't hold your breath (Dear Friend, "A" in the 'burgh)  this will be an ongoing project and I will be taking my time  .  I need to get really, really proficient at soldering. 
The armature looks good, however.  The commutator will clean up nicely.  (My fingers are another story....)  Please, those of you who would, don't fret about the position of the worm gear.  I just put it there to keep it safe last night.  I will place it properly when I get back to the shop on Wednesday. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Stradivaro Cabinet Before and After



Frannie approves

As do the boys, Wilson and Wrigley.

I am pleased with the results.  the photos don't do it justice, though.  Nor does the setting.
I was not going to get into this level of refinishing at first.  Then, one thing led to another and I had the hardware off and just kept sanding.  I paid five bucks for this cabinet with the machine.  I gave the machine away....I almost made her take the cabinet...  I am glad I didn't .

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Train Whistle

Once I finished my chores today I finally got into the shop.  I did try to tidy it up this morning, but the truth is I have too much stuff.  I think it has been more than two weeks since I have bought a sewing machine.  I even sold one,  so have I turned a corner??????

 I bought this mocha 301  just before I went to Ithaca.  It came with a cabinet. I sure wish I could remember what the cabinet looks like. I have so many...

 I took this along with me to class.  It had a terrible noise.  It sounded like a train whistle when the motor revved up.  Ray heard it, turned his head to find out where the noise was coming from.  I felt pretty sheepish.  He told me it was a gear noise and I worked to try to resolve it.  Finally I had to give up.  I just had to work on other machines.......

Today I decided to start at the top of the heap and this machine was on top ...... I figured it would be a quick clean up and I could get it put away. I started with the motor.  I thought that maybe I could clean the commutator without having to take the motor apart.  I thought that I could reach into the brush opening and clean the commutator.  No deal.

I cleaned that commutator and got it really shiny and here you can see how the brush sits on the commutator when the motor is reassembled.

Here you can see how it is not supposed to sit.  See the space between the brush and the commutator?
I did that with the black 301.  You can see how it would not work so well, not a good connection at all.  Next time I will just mark the brush before I take it out....

 After the motor work,  I rewired the foot pedal. Compared to the motor cleaning, this was a straight forward task. It took an hour.  I soldered the little loops. I love to solder.  I am sure it is not good for me.  How healthy can inhaling lead vapor be?  I mean, jeez, and I am opposed to hydrofracking??? Go figure...

Once I got the foot pedal rewired I plugged it in and , oh yeah, I remembered that noise....  So then I started the search.

Now when Ray taught us he quoted Bill Holman.  Something about a train.  I don't remember exactly.  All I could think of today was that that train was in my shop and it was blowing its whistle loud and clear.  I knew that I could NEVER sew with this machine.  It just was too ANNOYING....

Since I had a clue from the expert, I started looking at the gears.  I could not figure out how to take out any slack in those gears.

 I traced back toward the hook from the gears and looked.  Yup there were two set screws there and I thought well, maybe... But then I decided that maybe those were for the timing and decided not to mess with them.  Then changed my mind...... No deal..... NO change in the whooooo hoooo.  I then traced back toward the hook and thought, what the heck, take the hook off.   So off came the hook.  No difference.  There was a small bushing on the hook shaft.  Loosened that set screw and LOST IT.  Why I didn't stop then, I don't know.....  I had to get into the house to cook Thursday's turkey (ok so I know it is Saturday, but it is still Thanksgiving Weekend, right?)  I got that bushing off but still no change in the noise.  Now I was screwed.  I had lost the set screw and I hadn't figured out anything and dinner was going to be late late late........

Somehow I just did not panic about that lost set screw.  I made a decision.  I would look one more time for the screw and then go in to start cooking.......

Found it.  Whew.  I am blessed.  I promise to sweep now under the bench so that looking for lost set screws will be easier.Why I don't vow to never lose another set screw I don't know......

I put that sucker back where it belongs and vowed to just GO IN THE HOUSE......  But I couldn't you know.  Then I had a brilliant idea.  Find out if it is really machine noise or is it motor noise?  Off came the hand wheel.  One more whooooo hoooo and that was it.  All over.  Some grease got where it was supposed to be and now I have a very sweet, quiet, lovely 301.

Well, except that it may not STITCH since I had the screw drivers out and turned this screw and that screw and looked and looked for gear noise...... It was motor noise.  I love Ray White.  He is a smart man and he taught me a lot.  He also taught me,  don't trust the expert......

Refinishing the Stadivaro.

Wilson's head  


My friend Andrea nagged me about some after photos of the cabinet refinishing project.  Here are some.  I am pretty pleased with how this came out.  It is dry now and tomorrow I will put the second coat of poly on it and put it back together and then we can see some really NICE photos of it.  I have kept a fire going all day in the shop.  It is toasty warm in there now.  OF course it isn't so hard when it is fifty out.  Nice day today. November hasn't been so bad......

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Singer 301A

  1951 Singer 301A NA 441635

I worked on this machine today.  I have two mocha 301s.  I found this one this summer, it was the second 301 that I bought.  The first was a LBOW.  This one came as is.  With only the foot pedal and power cord.  It sews very well and even better now that I cleaned the motor.  Might have to sell this one. I have another and I  don't need two. The power cord is bake lite at both ends and the cord itself is in good shape though old.  If I feel ambitious I might put new wire on it.  The foot pedal is just fine as is...
Clean and shiny copper commutator

carbon motor brushes
When I cleaned the motor on the black 301 I failed to put the brushes back in correctly.  It made a bit of a chirpy noise when turning the handwheel.  I could not hear it when the motor was running but it did drive me nuts.  I started over and when I disassembled the motor I discovered that I had put the brushes in without aligning them correctly to curve of the commutator.  I thought I had.  I hadn't

You can see the curve on these brushes.  ( I do have both brush holders, don't worry).  The brushes have plenty of life left on them.  I did get these back in right.  Live and learn.

It is really sad that people are not sewing as much as in the past.  These great machines deserve to be used.  Even though this is a straight stitch only machine it sounds so smooth and sews so well.  I made a pouch for the foot pedal with it and I also made a roll up for some of my tools with it.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stradivaro Cabinet Before

Today I started refinishing this Stradivaro cabinet that came with the Singer 27 VS that I gave away.  I rather like the lines of the cabinet.  It is true that I have too many cabinets and that they take up too much room.  I thought, though, that if I could just get this one dressed up and refinished without a lot of effort, someone might like it.  The "without a lot of effort" is the problem.  I have two hours in the project already and I still have more sanding before I can even think about the stain and the urethane.  Check in later for some "in process photos."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

IT'S A BOY !!!!

I would be remiss if I let today go by without mention of the happiest day of my life; 11/19/79.  Max asked me if I remembered his birth.  "Every minute of it..." 

Singer 328 K

I know that Bill Holman does not like these machines.  He is a very famous sewing machine guru who owns a couple of the sewing machine Yahoo groups.  I do like this machine.  It makes a pretty nice stitch and is strong and fast.   I bought it this past spring and cleaned it all up and oiled it.   Today I loosened the belt and adjusted the tension and now it is sewing just perfectly.  I think it is the perfect machine for a beginner sewist.
So I guess it is off to Craigs List now. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Black 301

I just love this machine.  It is in very nice condition.  At first I thought that it hadn't been used much but after I got into oiling and cleaning it, I can see the evidence of use.

It needs new wiring.  The power and foot controller are wired just like my 221 so I already have experience wiring that.  I do need to get a new plug since the original plug has soldered connections.  I was able to run this machine today and "stitched it in".   At first I had trouble with the tension and I could here the thread catching underneath somewhere.  Using my new skills as a  Ray White "certified" sewing machine technician, I isolated the problem to the needle plate springs. I was able to adjust the one that was catching the thread and now it seems to stitch just fine.

   I had the motor out today and cleaned the commutator and checked the brushes. 
Dirty commutator

Clean commutator.
 I learned how to take out and clean this style of motor this past spring.  It is just like the motor on my 401.  Every time I work on a motor like this I think of Ray Waganka, one of the moderators/owners of We Fix It a yahoo group.  He passed on this past summer.  I cried.  I never knew the man but I got to "know" him through his posts on We Fix It.  When I brought the motor.  I was afraid  that I would bung it all up.  He advised that it was not that hard and that I could try it myself.  He was right. Every time I work on this kind of motor I think of him.  His kind encouragement helped me learn a new skill.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


I forgot that Mom reads the Blog from time to time.  I have not truly confessed to her how many sewing machines I have.  She is pretty appalled at the whole idea of having more than one machine and a serger.  So when she emailed me this morning and all she wrote was  70!!!!!  I knew that I was busted.  She taught me to sew and hence, is remotely responsible for this crazy affliction I have.  When I go to see her in December she has promised me her serger "To add to your collection."
I love my mother with all of my heart.  She is a beautiful, strong woman who taught me the importance of honesty and integrity and has always loved matter how many sewing machines, or dogs,  I have had over my life.....

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Singer 301

This is my new 301.   I shined up the bed a little bit and it glistens.  I don't think this machine was used much.  There are no scratches on the bed at all.  I haven't had a chance to work on her yet.  I had intended to today but Sally came over with her machines and we played with those.

Her go to machine was sluggish she said.  We cleaned and lubed it and it worked ok, but there was a clack every time the cam follower dropped into the vally on the zz cam.  It drove me nuts.  We tried to figure it out but she claimed that it was sewing  better and "I think it clacked like that before" so we went on to another machine. 

The New Home (probably 1990s?)  had been given to her a couple of years ago. It would stitch for one or two stitches then not advance the fabric at all.   It was very clean and DRY  (sort of like something I say about an incision when I am charting at work).   We got out the tri flow and the hair dryer.   We figured  it had to be the feed dogs and found that the feed dogs were stuck down.  More heat and lubrication and we finally got it stitching.  It makes a very nice stitch. 
I used my new knowledge gained from my Ray White class.  I left the tools in the tool box and oiled, applied heat and moved the parts in question.  Ray talked about tracing backward from the problem area.  It works.  Feed dogs, he said, have more adjustments than any other part of the sewing machine.   I was about to re set the feed dog height when I looked again and discovered that, indeed, it would help to have the needle plate on.  Sally had suggested it about ten minutes earlier.  Despite my ignorance and her deferring to me, the "certified" technician, we finally figured it all out.  What fun.

Then I gave her the five dollar Singer 27 VS I had bought on Wednesday.  I had freed it up (LW is my friend) She needed a machine to go in her treadle cabinet.  This machine should work.  It doesn't have the large, spoked wheel, but I bet she can make it treadle.  Besides, she will have a blast getting all that grime off and shining up the machine.   Yes, I am trying to get her hooked.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Raggedy Ann Dolls

I used to sew.  I love to sew.  I love old sewing machines.  Something has to give.  Sewing gave.  But when I used to sew I made the grand daughters Raggedy Ann Dolls one Christmas.  I had a blast.  I think I have to do this again.  I can do it now that I have stopped buying sewing machines, right?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Black 301

I have been coveting a Black 301 for a while and found one on Craigs List.  I am off to fetch it this afternoon.  Then I must ABSOLUTELY stop buying machines.  We lost the local election yesterday which means that, if horizontal gas drilling is permitted in NY, our town board won't fight it.  If gas drilling comes to our little town, we have to leave.  I am slowly approaching critical mass ( I think I have said that before)  but this is serious.  Who wants to move 70 sewing machines?
Looking East from the top of our hill

Monday, November 7, 2011

Elna Supermatic

For those of you familiar with the Elna Supermatic, you are aware that when it sits without use for a long period of time, the rubber friction wheel gets a "flat."  That is because, the handwheel sits against the rubber, putting pressure on it and it gets flat.  We changed that friction wheel in class.  Holly, who is a pharmacist, wanted to take a photo of the flat and stuck a sticky note on the machine to identify it.
The idea is to push out the roller pin that holds the friction wheel to the motor shaft and pop out that little wheel over the top of the motor shaft. This is the tricky part.  Elna sells a 300 dollar tool to help, but it can be done without it.  Ray will send directions along with the part.  The friction wheel   usually pops right up and out.  This one did not clear the shaft for some reason and Ray broke the old wheel.  BUT  the new wheel did not have enough clearance to get in.   "We" ( well, I was there, after all) had to drop the motor down a bit just long enough to pop the new friction  wheel on and then move the motor up into its proper position.  I heard " I have NEVER had to do this before, look at that"  over and over again.  He was pretty amazed.
Elna friction wheel (upside down)  The one on the left HAS been altered.
I guess I never imagined hearing someone with 50 years of experience say that.  Yet Ray will readily admit that he learns something with every class.  He is very knowledgeable and at the same time humble.  He knows he can figure something out.  Just give him time.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The 206K

I had really messed up this machine.  I found out just how much today when I got it out to work on it.  I had an idea that it was all messed up yesterday at class.   I had to adjust the needle position on the 401 so I put this one away yesterday in order to work on that.

So after unpacking and rearranging the shop so I can get some heat in there, I got out this poor 206K.
I am not fond of this machine.  I see it as a challenge to fix it and get it stitching.  I probably will hang on to it, though.  It is Singer's first attempt at zz.  It is in a class with the 306 and 319.  They all have that big knob on the arm near the pillar. They all are front loaders, meaning the bobbin case loads from the front. I find it difficult to do and a disagreeable part of using the machine. The 306 has flat cams that allows it to do decorative stitches as well.  The 319 has built in decorative stitches and flat cams.  They all take an odd ball sized needle the 206/13 which is slightly shorter than the standard sewing machine needle. The 130/705 is the standard needle and it fits almost all sewing machines.  The 206/13 does not come in a twin needle anymore so the twin needle capability on the 306 and 319 is now obsolete.   . 
You can see that the 206/13 is a bit shorter.  Some people have changed the timing on these machines to accept the 15 needle.  I won't do that.  It is not the way the machine was designed.

Today when I got the machine out there were several things wrong.  The hook timing was way off, the needle bar did not move in concert with the needle bar position knob.  It was all gummed up and dirty.

So starting with the sage advised from Ray White, I lubricated the machine and got everything moving pretty well.  The needle bar did not move easily side to side and I applied heat and lubrication.  But it still would not shift when I moved the needle position lever.  So, I traced back from the needle bar and up,looking for screws that might allow me to make an adjustment.
I got this far
That screw would not let me adjust anything but I looked at the back of this and found this:

Now when I found it, there was no screw there.  You see that the screw has to be there to clamp down on that slot and tighten that connection.  That is what fixed that probelm.  Now when I shift the needle position lever, the needle changes position, just as designed.  Well, almost.  The needle goes to far, because I altered the adjustment when I was trying to figure out how to get that old part out.  I took the back plate off of the machine and discovered this:

I guess someone else had been in there as well.  you can see that the screw it a bit buggered up. 
Well that, as it turns out, is an adjustment, for the pendulum swing of the needle, I am pretty sure.  I am also pretty sure that I totally messed that up when I was trying to figure out how to get the ol broken piece out. I had removed all these parts and put them back together.  At class, Ray saw me get out the new part and his eyes lit up.  Not as much as when I took out the new gear assembly for the cams for the 158.84 (another story).  But light up they did.  He claimed to be unfamiliar with the 206 but he took one look at the new part
Arrows point to the impression made by the set screws.
 and said "  It looks like there must be some set screws....., yes there they are."
You can see then better on this beige 306.  Same place on the 206.  I popped those out and the broken piece came out.  Thanks to all of the triflow  I had applied trying to get it out the other way.  I call that an I d ten T error  (ID10T).  None the less, it did slide out. 

I did manage to get the new one in, but I had to dissamble the adjustment nut from the eccentric and fork on the back, get the nut that belongs in the end of the new piece and put it all back together.  That threw the needle swing WAY out.

I am sorry that there is no needle here for you to see.  Just trace down to the needle plate and you will see what I mean.  This is supposed to be needle far left.  If there were a needle in there, it would hit the foot.  Those 206 needles are not cheap so I took the needle out to do all the futzing around.

And the next futzing around I had to do was with the hook.

That is for another post.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

This one is for you, Rain.

Singer 206 K with replaced needle bar position regulator.
I have no idea if that is the right name for the part I replaced on the 206K.  I bought this machine this summer.  I had worked all day, it was hot, I was tired, I did not even see that the big knob in the middle of the arm at the top of the pillar had a very important piece broken out of it.  I decided to part out the machine and even sold the bite screw.  Rain ( questioned that wisdom very gently.  "Are you sure it can't be fixed?" and I found the part on eBay (only bidder and I WAS not going higher) and today I took the old part out and put the new part in. 

Ray saw me handling the new part.  He came over and helped me find the two set screws that hold the part in and it was easy peasy to get it out.  Not so easy peasy to get it back in.  I will save that whole adventure for a post dedicated to rejuvenating this sad 206K.  Probably if "somebody" had not tried to fix it before she knew was she was doing this job would be so much easier.    

"Somebody" is home and very tired.  The canines were so happy to see me.  Steve was pretty happy too.