Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Singer 221 - tension assembly

Today my friend Paula came by.  Paula loves to sew, too.  She graciously took the tour of all of my machines.  She wanted to know how many I have, but lost count somewhere in the workshop.  Oh Well,  I know the feeling.  After she left I set to work on the Centennial FW motor and serviced it.  Then I looked through the blog and found some unpublished work.  This post is one of them.  I had forgotten to finish it.  So here it is.  All about the Centennial's tension assembly.  But first I started with cleaning the needle bar and presser foot lifter.

 Not terrible and a bit of denatured alcohol on a q tip made things shiny inside.
Then I took a look at the tension assembly.   Dirty. 
I thought that I would try to clean it in place, deferring to Dennis Steckley of We Fix It yahoo  group. (  I did not want to get alcohol on the black finish so I took it apart.
Thumb nut and numbered dial removed revealing stop washer
Spring which looks upside down to me.
Spring housing

check spring and discs

Thread guide
I cleaned all of the parts with denatured alcohol.  I did take the stud out and clean it , as well.  I like clean and shiny metal parts. I ask you, which one would you rather sew on?
I also serviced the motor for this machine today.   The terminal end of the number 2 wire had fragmented from its connector.  I tried to "mend" it with solder.  That did not work.  So I put a new terminal ring on it.

That worked very well.

The motor runs nicely and the machine makes a very nice stitch.  Cosmetically it is rough.  The clear coat is coming off and it looked dirty after I cleaned the machine and put some Carnuba Wax on it.  I guess I have some cleaning to do.  This machine smells like my Grandmother's 221.  I love that smell.  I doubt I will be able to part with this machine just because of that smell.  Sentimental doesn't pay the rent, though.  But then again neither does sewing machine repair.

Last week I had a call from someone who got my name from someone.  She inquired about my fee to service her Featherweight.  I explained that I would clean, oil and adjust the machine; check the brushes, but not service the motor, grease the gears and clean and polish the machine.  When I told her the fee, she said she would get back to me.  So I guess she thought my fee was too high.  It is about half the standard bench fee at the closest sewing machine service shop, forty miles from her.  Perhaps she will learn how to service the machine herself and save herself a lot of money. 


  1. Goop hand cleaner works well on removing dried oil on metal parts.