Sunday, April 20, 2014


We took in this adorable Montgomery Ward Class 15 (AKA HA-1) a couple of weeks ago.   This was the only thing on my list for today.  Which was probably a good thing since it took me all day to finish servicing this machine.  It was dry dry dry.  Which is probably better than wet; as in oily wet or rusty wet.

The wires to the motor were shot and I do not like to re-wire universal motors.  It is more efficient to replace the motor. Or so I thought.    First I had to find a motor.  I found a nice, used motor, quiet and smooth.  BUT it didn't really fit.  I couldn't take off the mounting bracket easily to make it fit, either.  The motor sat right against the back of the pillar.  That wouldn't do, not at all.

I found an older motor with a removable bracket and was able to use it.  I had to use the bracket that came with this machine, though, because the mounting screw was too wide to fit through the mounting bracket that came with the "new" used motor.

Spatial relationships challenge me. I looked at the belt as it came off of the handwheel and went around the motor pulley.    It was off.  Not off as much as the sag on Falling Water (Frank Lloyd Wright's famous house southeast of Pittsburgh.  Holy Cow.  I did not notice that the first time I was there.  The tour guide advised that it is off by 7 inches. (TWSS)

 I looked for a different motor, to see if I could find a better fit.  No go.  So then I decided to adjust the mounting bracket on the motor and just use one screw to fasten the bracket to the motor. .  I moved the bracket in the direction I THOUGHT would work.  That made it worse.  Well, good!  All I had to do was move the stupid bracket the opposite way.  I did and it fit. (Note how I blame the bracket for my stupidity. I am training for a management position).

The belt that came with the machine wasn't the greatest.  It was one of those rubber band type of belts.  A bit thick and a bit big.    In an effort to keep costs low for the owner, I decided to just go with it.  Until I sewed with the machine.  Then I just couldn't stand it.  I put on a black lug belt.  Nice, a bit noisier, but at least it doesn't slip when you sew.

 This machine comes in a "portable case" with a motor block; power cord and foot controller attached to the case.  The wiring to the light was good and I took off the block and checked it out too.  Seemed ok.  Now when you have this situation, the cords from the light and the motor pass through a small hole in the back of the machine to avoid getting crimped by the machine bed.   Here you can see the hole but not the rubber grommet.  You can also see the condition of the original motor wires.  EEEEKKKKK!!!!!

 I had cut the bad wires so it was easy to get the old motor off.  In order to put the "new used" motor wires through this hole, I had to re-wire the plug.  It was an old fashioned plug, the kind that you just wind the wire around the connections and tighten the screw   The most challenging part was getting the "new used" wire through the stress relief grommet that fits into the hole on the bed of the machine.  Thank you KY jelly.

The actual mechanical servicing went quite easily.  A bit of Tri-flow and some heat was all it took, really.  Oh, and I did re-glue the base of the case in a couple of places.  I just had to.

She looks pretty good. I put on a new BW tire and shined her all up.  She sews nicely. Feed dogs drop readily for FMQ or darning.   No problems going through multiple layers but I would not call it an Industrial Strength.  Treadle worthy as well. 
I am not in love with this machine, which is a good thing since it belongs to someone else.  Perhaps there is hope for me yet.  Oh I forgot.  I have this machine, only in a different color.

If you have a similar machine, and they were produced in Japan by the millions, you can find a copy of a generic manual here:

1 comment:

  1. It is a cute machine. Probably makes a great straight stitch (my gold standard for a machine). Your wizardry again saves a machine from the junk heap. It is amazing that Fallingwater has stood for so long when it was such a pioneering structure assembled in such a remote location.