Sunday, July 28, 2013

Singer 66 on a Grace Machine Quilt Frame

I spent the morning servicing this 66-18.  The motor needs work.  I futzed with it for long enough to realize that I should put it away for another day.  I rewired its foot controller and mounted a different motor.  I removed the feed dogs and placed it on the carriage.  Now I have to set it up to sew.  Because I bought a big spool of machine quilting thread, I may have to rig up something for it.  For now, I have had enough of this project.

OK.  I really couldn't stay away.  I tried to baste the layers together and had an awful time with the  tension.  I finally had to take the stupid machine off of the frame and take it to the shop.  I adjusted the bobbin tension and tested the stitch by FMQing with a small sandwich.  I finally got a decent stitch.  I had to loosen the bobbin tension quite a bit.   I truly thought about taking the tiny little screw all the way out but did not.  Still, I had to tighten the top down quite a bit.  The problem with old fashioned tension dials,  no numbers.  I know, I know, the numbers are arbitrary but the top tension sure does seem tight.

I also had to rig up a stand for my cone of thread.  I stuck a stick in a piece of styrofoam and cut a grove the size of the bottom of the spool so it would stay stable.  It fits at the end of the carriage. Then I had to make a new thread path.  A couple of paper clips (Numbers 1 and 2 in the photo below) and I was in business.  I used the persuader to bend the top thread guide against the machine.  (Number 3 in photo below).  I think I will have to close that off completely, though.  The thread did jump out and when that happens the top thread just gets too loose. I should have bought smaller spools.  Just didn't think about it. 

I must admit that I made that pass down the frame with some trepidation.  All my hard work paid off.  Decent stitches.  The loopy ones were made when I tried the first pass before I made all the adjustments.  I made a second pass just to be sure I was good.  WHEW
Here you can see the position of the machine relative to the carriage.  I think it is supposed to be flush with the carriage but I need the room for the thread. 
I think I will trim the Styrofoam so that I can back up the machine a bit, though I am not convinced that it is necessary.  Seems as if there is plenty of room before it would hit the rail.

Now that it is all set up I am ready to do some FMQ.  I would love to be able to do some real designs but I think I will just stick with the meandering.  I seem to get good results with that.  

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

One Big Needle

Needle for 29-2
If I had been clever, I would have put a 130/705H needle next to this one.  But it is beefy, looking.  You can tell.  It also has a nasty burr on its tip.  I don't know if I could file that out.  But there are needles extant for this machine.  No worries.

I think that it is smoother when I turn the balance wheel.  I wish that I had had time to work on it today.  Instead, I serviced a Kenmore 158.1792.
I know. I wish that I had taken a better photo of it too.  It is an electronic machine, in a way.  The foot controller is electronic and very slick.  No matter what, when you lift your foot off of the controller, the machine keeps running until the needle is in its highest position.  Nice.  It has needle up and needle down as well.  The innards are mechanical but the stitch selector is electronic in a way that I had no intention of trying to figure out.  I cleaned, oiled and adjusted it.  I checked all of the stitches except the button hole stitch and those ridiculous fake embroidery stitches on the bottom of the selector panel.  It makes a lovely stitch and the nicest smocking stitch I have ever seen.  It also has speed control.  I think that would be nice for FMQ.

It is heavy.  Some parts are stupid.  That spool pin is a disaster waiting to happen.  It tucks into the body of the machine, as in the photo, for transport.  But the thing doesn't stay up all that well when in sewing mode. The bobbin winder post is plastic too.  But it hasn't broken yet, so I guess it ok.

It only took two hours to service it so I had plenty of time. I mowed and weed wacked because I promised Steven that I would.  It turned into a lovely day.  Cool.  A nice change.

I then set to work setting up the Grace Machine Quilt frame AGAIN.  I am selling it and want to have some photos.   Now to figure out what machine to put on it.

Yes, that is a kitchen in the back ground.  The only space large enough to set up the frame is my sewing loft or our guest apartment above the shop.  The sewing loft is jammed full.  I need it to sew, besides.

Setting up is a tedious task.  Setting up the cloth leaders with zippers is the way to go.  I don't have any long enough but were I to keep this frame, I would certainly invest.  Instead I basted the cloth leader to one end, each, of the back and the quilt top and pin basted the back, bating and quilt top to the take up rail leader.  Now I will mount a machine on the carrier and baste as close to the edge as I can before I start quilting.

I could use this one

But there is not a whole lot of room between the needle bar and the pillar.  I think I will try the Singer 66 again.  I have a nice one.  Or I could put Queenie on the frame.  Clearly, there is more room
The 66-16 has even more.

And you need a a lot of room for quilting and for the take up bar.

You can go faster with the vertical hook, though.  I think I will just try Queenie out.  I like the color.

Monday, July 22, 2013

What? Me Worry?

The 29 does have a bit of a drag when I turn the balance wheel.  I noticed some shiny metal when I turned it over on its side last night.  So I decided to check it out.  Not the most brilliant idea I have ever had.

I was tired, had indulged in my evening cholesterol lowering agent and thought I could just take a quick look.  After I removed the screws holding the bottom piece in place I tipped the machine right side up and a piece fell out.  I spent the next 40 minutes trying to figure out how to get it back together.  I did it.  But I wonder if the shuttle is now out of time  I will figure that out later.

 I wanted to show you this because this is where I think the drag is originating.  That shaft rubs on the metal piece and when I have had my morning blood pressure elevating agent vs the evening cholesterol lowering agent I can take this apart again and illustrate my concerns more clearly.

I am not too worried.  I think that somehow I can figure this out.  The machine moves better after a drink (the machine's, well, ahem, mine too) and some grease but something isn't quite right.

And in case you haven't had time to scour the WWW the way I did last night trying to figure out what part is missing, check out this photo and then you will see.
Singer 29-4
It is called an oil cup.  Apparently the thread passes under a wire spring that snaps down into the cup and lubricates the thread.   I think I can fashion something functional.  Won't be pretty or original.  But it will suffice.  I found the empty screw hole.  I know mine once had it.  Oh well.
Singer 29-2 Cobbler machine and treadle


It's missing a part which is obvious in this photo.  Would I have bought it anyway?  Who knows.  What's done is done.

The next question is when will I have time to work on it?

Where should it go in the queue?

Should I just try to pass it along?

These and the continuing adventures of a senseless addict coming soon to this blog.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Why the Mystery Singer is not an Improved Family.

1896 Improved Family 
1890 Special Variant Singer AKA Mystery Singer

They look so similar, don't they?  In the manual there is a drawing of an I.F. with the same decals as on the S.V.  or Paff as I have named it.

I bought the machine from a very nice gentleman.  He has a passion for treadles and has restored many.  He and his wife are off on new adventures now.   They are, thus, divesting.  I named this machine Paff.  It is a combination of their two names.  I don't name many machines.  Because this one is unique, I named it. 

If you have been following, Rain commented on a previous post stating that likely this is a Special Variant.  I could call it that.  I like Paff better. 

There are differences even though the beds look the same.  They are the same size.  I measured.  They have the same tension assembly. (See previous post). 

Flower (the I.F.) does not have thumb screws on the needle bar.  Her BW is different and, the most important distinction, while she is an oscillating shuttle, her bobbin case is part of the race and is not removable
The underside of the IF looks less hefty to me.  Now I know that the two views aren't the same, but I think you can see what I mean.

Oh, and that crud that I removed?  Well, me thinks it was an oil wick.  I wondered about it when I was removing it.  It sure was stuck to that screw.  I think it was wicking oil to the roller.  It wasn't wicking anything in the shape it was in.  If I were to get really brave, I coud take this whole mess apart and replace it.  Yeah, like I am ever going to do that. 

I did some reading on line last night (Thank you Peg).  I found out that Singer did have shops that would outfit machines to certain specs.  I bet that's what happened here.  The cut out for the knee lifter looks as if it were meant to be there, not cut out as an afterthought. 

Paff needs more work (and it looks like Flower needs a good cleaning, too).  But it is so much cleaner now.
 I am using a 130/705H (15X1) needle.  I wish it threaded right to left.  The roller foot does lift up but now that it is so clean it wants to flop back down again.  Gets in the way when I am threading the needle.

I hope to get it installed in its stand soon.  I won't be putting another machine in that stand ever, so I think I will just use a leather belt for this machine.  I must look for a nice one.  The ones I have are rather red colored.  I'd prefer something more authentic to the time. 

The Nature of the Beast

It stitches.

OK  so the bobbin thread is a bit tight.  But still, it stitches. 

There is no tension release pin on this machine.  When the presser foot is lifted, the tension discs do NOT get loose the way they do on the machines that I know and love.  Well, the 27 has that manual doo hickey that releases the tension but all other machines have a TRP or some sort of mechanism that releases the tension discs so that the thread can pass easily from the spool.

Not this one.

I checked the 31-15, it has one.

I then looked at Paff's (yes, it has a name, more on that later) identical cousin Flower (yes, she has a name too.)

She doesn't have a TRP either.  Now what?  Thankfully I had  bought a manual from Linda at Relics 

I read it.  Probably for the first time.  No where does it mention anything about a tension disc release pin.  However, when discussing how to remove the "work", the manual advises that one make certain that the take up lever is in its highest position.  Then one is to grasp the thread between the take up lever and the next thread guide and pull about two inches of thread off of the spool.  Then one can remove the work.

Must be there never was a TRP or such.

I had complained to Steven that I couldn't figure out what was wrong with the tension. 

"Well, I got it stitching, honey"

"Yeah, did you figure out what was wrong?"

"Yes I did.  It is the nature of the beast."

Saturday, July 13, 2013

It had to be done

I have many machines that need attention: 15-91, 201-2, 101s, 99s, 128s, Kenmores, White, Free Treadle, not to mention the real antiques.  But the Mystery Singer has grabbed me.  It has been a while since I have been excited about a machine.

Rumor has it that this may be a "one of a kind."  It is not an Improved Family, which commonly came as a Fiddle Bed.  How do we know this?  The bobbin case is removable.  On the Improved Family, it is part of the race.  It swings out to accept the bobbin and snaps back in place.  This removable bobbin case is just like the one in my 15-90 and my 15-91 and many other end loading class 15 machines.

It clearly was set up for manufacturing.  It has the knee lifter for the presser foot.  It also was set up for leather work, likely gloves.  It has the roller presser foot and a huge wheel feed.  I did not know that whole thing was the wheel feed.

I took it off today.  It had to be done.

Originally I was planning to clean the machine with kerosene and keep it intact.  When I looked at the underside closely and saw all the crud, I changed my mind.
True, I just knocked that wad of crud out of there but the race and feed were a mess.  So I did it.  I dove in.

I was very careful.  I looked over everything very carefully.  I studied the mechanism and determined what should come off first. 

The spring:

It came off easily but I am a bit worried:
I just don't see how this is supposed to be like that.  When I put it back together I will have to look again.  It definitely came off like that.  I wonder, though....

Then I unscrewed the front bracket. 
Next I found where the feed is attached to the machine: two cone bearings.

And out it came

That isn't exactly true.  I did some other screw removal first.

These screws hold the brackets which hold the feed in its race. 

I thought I broke it when I cleaned all that crud off.  I thought it was part of the bracket.  Not so.  WHEW
The sucker is dirty. 

But not to worry  I have my trusty machine
It works really well.  These parts are very very dirty.  The water turns murky and brown.  I used it to clean up the tension parts.   I would have loved to toss the face plate in but I was fearful for the remaining decals.  They are pretty tender. 

With all that fancy feed mechanism gone, it looks a bit more familiar.
I had to stop.  I know enough now to quit BEFORE I get tired.  I found a mystery screw.  I am not too worried.  I took lots of photos.  I can't wait to get this off and get it cleaned and look at the hook. 

If I don't do any domestic chores tomorrow I should have time to get it cleaned up and back together.  Then I can pop it into a treadle stand and see if it sews.  I dunked the feed mechanism in the ultrasonic cleaner.  I want to take it apart tomorrow and get it really clean.  I am not going to go too nuts trying to clean the body.  I would love to get it shined up but the decals are gonna go if I am too aggressive.  I like the green.  If this really is a one of a kind, I should try to keep it preserved.  But I cannot believe it is one of a kind. 

Gloversville, NY isn't far from here.  It is perfectly conceivable that this machine was used there to make, well, gloves.  It is small enough for delicate work and the wheel and round feed mechanism, I am told, is for leather.

I believe it must take a 15X1 needle.  I took the needle off and compared it to a new one.  Seems the same.  I hope it does.  Another interesting aspect, there are thumb screws on the  needle bar. Wonder why?
I am sorely tempted to remove the presser bar and the needle bar for cleaning.  I have already removed the presser foot.  I discovered, quite by accident, that it flips up

I dunked this in the ultrasonic cleaner too.  It came out pretty nice.  Later photos, in the reveal.

It's a project, for sure.  The ultrasonic cleaner helps tremendously.  I am forever indebted to Rain for that.  I cannot imagine how I would have cleaned the parts.  Tomorrow, I will show you just what I mean. 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013


I brought the Mystery Singer home with me today.  I spent some time on line trying to figure out what it is.  I don't know some of the terminology so if anyone out there reads this and knows what this machine is, please let me know.

It is a class 15, for sure.  I had pretty much decided that it was an Improved Family but it doesn't have the built in bobbin case.  It has the regular old class 15 one oclock finger bobbin case.

It has a very beefy looking race assembly. 
from the front

from the rear  
It is not a big machine. 
But it is a dirty machine.

I got distracted and spent a fair amount of time trying to bring out the colors in the decals.  They are tender.  There is some green but I think it is very fragile.  Only Yoda would have been young at 123.

More research and more fun is in store.  The slip cover project may take a back seat to this one.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

What is it?

This machine was sitting next to the 15-91 I picked up today.

It has a knee lifter for the presser foot.  The serial number dates it to 1890.  I may have to have it.

Please?  Help?