Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bobbin Winder Switch

 It was about four o'clock today when I finally had a chance to stitch test the last 201-2.  I had spent the earlier part of the afternoon building a base to display it, and the others, in a photo shoot.  Steven trimmed the tongue from some oak flooring for me and I was thrilled to have some really fine material for the base.  But it was too narrow and would not fit.

By then I was left to my own devices and found some other scrap flooring (fir, I believe) that had already been tongue trimmed.  I happily cut my pieces and, using my fancy new  Christmas present

Screwed and GLUED the pieces together.

Actually this was the second attempt.  The first attempt ended up in the kindling box.  I was going to live with the mistakes, but Steven told me to just start over.

"It's kindling.  It's ok."

I decided he was right. 

Pretty pleased with myself at how quickly this went together, I tried it out.  Too Big.

"Better that, than the other way," Mr. Professional Builder said as I exclaimed my disgust with myself. "You can take it apart."

"I GLUED it too."  I said as I backed the screws off one side of the base.

"Oh.  And that stuff really holds."

I got my hammer and whacked it.  Pop, off came the side.

"Do I have to take it  all the way apart or can I cut it on the chop saw like this?" Batting my eyes at the professional.

"I can do it for you."
And with that he trimmed the excess off of the ends and I drilled new pilot holes with my fancy new Bosch and screwed it back together.
When I first started making these bases, I would chisel out notches for the hinge holes.  Not now.  I just add that little piece to support the back in between the hinges.  Much quicker and neater.  Quicker if you remember to measure twice, cut once.  Note the counter sink on the screws.  I filled them in with wood putty after I sanded it.  Once the filler is dry I can paint it.

So, finally, at Four PM I was ready to stitch test this machine.

I have to say I was nervous.  This machine had been a parts machine, in a way.  I used its position bracket for the Centennial this summer.  Then I scammed its bobbin case for the miscreant 201 that was not stitching properly.  I also switched out tension assemblies.  I wasn't really sure it would sew.  The motor sounded good but who knew how it would stitch?

I do like to check the bobbin winder when I stitch test a machine.  I figure if the BW doesn't work, the machine isn't worth much.

The bobbin would not fit.  That's not exactly true.  The bobbin fit, but the guide that fits inside the bobbin as it winds, was too big.  Look.

 You can see that it is too big for a class 66 bobbin, right?  Guess what fits on there just perfectly?  A class 15 bobbin.  I was muttering to myself, thinking, "How on earth did he (I had bought the machine from a man, so I knew) ever wind a bobbin?  Did he know it was like this when he sold it to me?  What a chump I was.  "

Then it dawned on me.  I had taken this motor from a 15-91 parts machine and never changed the bobbin winder.  I wasn't a chump, I was a moron.

"Well, good, I can change the BW from the lost cause motor.  I hope."

Wrigley was sleeping on his bed in the shop as I said this.  I wasn't REALLY talking to myself.  Steven was in the shop, too, but could not hear me for all the noise of his power tools.

I got the Lost Cause Motor and looked.

"OK.  I have to loosen two screws and pay attention to how that spring fits under the motor housing.  Should be easy."

I did the one on the machine first.  No problems there.  Clever me, I even left the spring in its housing on the machine. 
I put the 201 guide back on the machine, but it had no spring, despite being attached to the spring in the housing.
Of course, I discovered this AFTER I had screwed it back on.

I removed it and the spring fell out.  It was broken.
"Well, no wonder." Had I been less clever, I would have known this earlier. 

I found the remaining part in the housing and pushed it out through the hole on the other side.

You can barely see it in this photo, sorry, in a hurry.

I took the intact spring and placed it inside its housing, making sure that one tab fit in that little hole.

When you are replacing the guide, be careful to keep every thing lined up and don't let that spring fly across the room. Be sure that the screw is seated correctly or the guide won't spring back as it should.  if it doesn't, just loosen the screw a bit and reposition it.  It will seat itself if allowed.   It is no where near as tricky as replacing the analogous spring on a Singer 66 BW.  Actually it was pretty easy.

 All that was left was to place the other piece in position and tighten it in place making sure the spring was hitched under the housing and the two pieces articulated correctly. That was easy enough because I never removed the screw from its housing and thus, did not change the spring's position.

 So finally I wound the bobbin and was able to stitch.

I like this machine. It makes a very nice stitch.  See?
OK now that makes the seventh 201-2 I have serviced and "rescued."

I think one of the reasons Steven is so complacent about my "habit" is because he realizes that all the sewing machines could, just as easily, be dogs.


  1. Ah moron moments- we've all had them. Why today I took the housing off a Viking twice because I had an unaccounted for screw. Don'tcha know the presser foot uses a counter sunk fitting, not a big knobby screw like a Singer or a Kenny...

  2. Great blog! I'm in the process of restoring a 1953 201-2 and have found that both my screws are broken on my bobbin winder assembly. Where did you source yours? Thanks so much!

  3. I had a parts motor that fortunately had them