Sunday, March 23, 2014

No Gears? Really?

I was at the Quilt Zoo yesterday dropping off a very nice 185.  I wanted to leave a machine there for advertising and for customers to try out.

While there a woman came in with her not black, not tan 221K.  It looks white to me but in the right light it could almost be pale mint green.  None the less, she wanted it serviced.  Lucky me to have been there at that moment.

"What ever it takes.  I have another one that I use.  My husband bought this for me at an auction.  I thought it would be good to get it cleaned up so that I would have another.  The belt doesn't run the machine."

So I brought it home.  The shop was warm (it's all relative up here in the North East.) So I set to work on it.  Betsy had already come by so we were both working on machines.  She had a Kenmore.  Lucky her.

 First  I checked  the wiring.   Directly wired to a clamshell controller.  No Three Pin Terminal here. It looked safe so I plugged it in. Nope, no machine action, but the motor sounded ok.   The belt was moving but there was a mess around the pulley.  Black powdery stuff.

I took off the belt.

"Maybe it's the wrong belt" chimed in Betsy as she looked over my shoulder.

"Nope, that's a 221 belt  I recognize the part number," said I.  Actually it was true, not that I have memorized parts numbers.  Yesterday I searched through the mass of belts that came with the South River Inventory (SRI) and found several FW belts.  Luckily they were labeled as such and I didn't have to look them up.

"Oh, look," she said, "the pulley is broken."

Sure enough it was destroyed.  I managed to remove it by loosening the set screw and wedging it off.

"OH Darn !  I just sent in the Brewer order. "

"How much do we have to spend before we get free shipping?" Betsy asked.

"One hundred and fifty dollars."

"No problem.  I will buy more thread."  she said.

Well.  I am thinking that more thread is the last thing she needs.  So instead, this morning I sent an email to Glenn Williams who has an abundance of FW and 301 parts.  I bet he has one.  Better that, than trying to beef up our order.

Yes, I did search the SRI for the pulley but had no luck. "See, that's what irritates me about this stash of parts," I whined.  "All this stuff and not what I need."

As long as I had the motor off (part way off, it was still all wired to the controller). I checked the brushes.  Oh my.  I had never seen motor brushes this low.
Oh, I am not in the mood to pull this motor apart.  I wonder what would happen if I just blew some compressed air through that motor?

"Big noise," I warned Betsy as I plugged in the compressor.
The air around my work bench looked like the last scene in Ghost when that evil spirit was blown away.  Remember?  It was just a black cloud  rushing out of the room.  That's what came out of the motor.  Black soot and more black soot. 

I dropped new brushes in and tested the motor.  Sounded good.  No ozone odor.  Good.

I set about servicing the rest of the machine. I took off the bottom.  I looked again.  Something seemed wrong.  Where are the gears?

 I had heard that the later model 221s lacked gears and instead, utilized a drive belt.  Another indication that Singer was cheapening the machines.  This belt looks good, though.  Another reason to avoid the white FW.  Now I don't know if they all have belts.  Glenn would know.
Anyway, no gears to grease.  I oiled the feed mechanism and closed up the top.  I oiled the metal contacts on the bottom. Then I looked at the bobbin case base and the hook.

"Oh boy, I sure don't want to pull the hook to get that out. "  I muttered.

It really isn't that hard to pull a hook on a FW or a 301.  It is a matter of loosening two screws, for heaven's sake.  I just didn't want to do it.  You have to pay attention to the flat and position the hook correctly when you replace it.  If you don't mark the screw that tightens into the flat, you can put the hook on the wrong way.  AMHIK. 

I completely removed the screw that tightens onto the flat and loosened the other one enough to remove the hook.  Of course the hook was glued in with old oil.  Nothing a little denatured alcohol couldn't release.

In order to remove the looper, I had to tighten the left behind screw completely and remove the screw holding on the looper.  Don't loose this screw.  

I polished the looper and the back of the hook.  I checked the hook or burrs and reassembled everything.  Because I had been a clever old lady I was able to pop the hook on easily and not have to fart around with adjusting its position.  The machine stitches.  I can't test it with the motor yet.  Gotta wait for the motor pulley.

 There is more work to be done.  It turns out that it was a good thing that I removed the hook.  There was another thread wrapped about the shaft.  I cleared it, and the rust, away before replacing the hook.

This poor little machine has been well used.  It has some battle scars.  I think it will still stitch but I doubt the stitch will be as nice as the FWs with gears.  Who knows?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Every picture tells a story....

Except that I am fresh out of photos.

I upgraded and have a new Mac Book Pro.  It is fast, light and powerful.  No disc drive.  I can't upload Photo Shop Elements, my editing program, yet.  No external disc drive until just today.

So, until I can get it together to do that, no photos.  (OK for all of you computer geeks: Yes, it is possible to down load the program from the internet.  I live in the country.  I don't have unlimited bandwidth and we are near our "quota" of use for March.  So I am going to do it the old fashioned way.  From something plastic, on a little round disc.)

I must say this.  Betsy came over yesterday and we worked on machines.  She worked on a very nice Japanese badge Necchi Alco.  I worked on the Singer 5808C. 

I couldn't get the tension right.  Turns out, the tension assembly wouldn't work.   I finally gave up, called it a goner and declared it done.  Betsy left for home and I went back to the Quilt Zoo (QZ) to return Barb's machine.  I explained the dilemma and  told her that I couldn't fix it.  She suggested she buy a Kenmore from us and arranged to come over to look.  I went home, hopeful for a sale. 

"There's a message on the machine, honey"  declared TBHITW last night just after dinner.

I saw the blinking light.

".....HI, it's me.  I figured it out. That tension assembly just pops out.  It's plastic.  Just be careful that you don't break it..."

I called her back. She had looked at the Singer 5817 we now own (broken gears, not worth fixing but very similar to the 5808) and removed the tension assembly.  I could tell that she really, really wanted me to fix that machine. 

"OK I will call Barb and let her know that we might be able to salvage her machine after all."

Betsy brought the 5817 over this morning on her way out of town. She also brought over two Kenmores to show Barb if she did call.

So, when Barb did, indeed, call today I explained the whole story to her. 

"What do you think?" she asked. 

Honestly.  I was pretty sick of the  5808C   but I hate to give up. If we could fix it, I could re-coup some of my investment in effort.  I advised that she should bring the machine over and if we can fix it, great.  If not, she can look at the machines we have. 

She brought the 5808C back.  She pulled the old assembly out and we popped the used one from the 5817 in.   It makes a nice stitch, every stitch.  It has stretch stitches and zz and a built in button hole.  But the presser foot lifter was FUNKY.

I handed her the screw drivers and she took the top and the needle bar covers off.  I figured I had spent enough time on that machine.  She looked at the 5817, figured out what was wrong and I looked at the 5808C and agreed.  We fixed it.  She put the machine back together and that, my friends was that. 

"Oh, I love this stuff."  she declared. 

Good.  I may have infected another with SMAD.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Singer 5808C

Today I went to the new quilt shop in my neighborhood.  It is only 7.4 miles from my home.  All the other fabric stores are far away.  This one opened up a few weeks ago.  I am delighted.

Nina and Bonnie run the Quilt Zoo in Worcester NY.  It has a lovely selection of fabric.  But more importantly, it has a great class room.  On Fridays, Nina and Bonnie open the classroom to sewists who want to hang out and get help with projects.  I drove over, intending to just drop in for a bit.  Instead I drove back home, picked up a machine and went back.  We had a blast.  It is just so much more fun to sew with others.

While there, I picked up a machine for service.  Barb told me she had an old Kenmore.  My eyes lit up.  She went upstairs to fetch it and came back with a Singer.

"I know it hasn't been run in this century."  She proclaimed.

"Oh, we just had one of these in the shop.  The gears in that machine were cracked.  I will check it out and if the gears are good, I will clean it all up for you.  It isn't a Kenmore but it will be serviceable for you."

My intent was to delve into it tomorrow morning.  Instead, I couldn't resist.  I wanted to check out those plastic gears.

You can't see from this photo, but the gears are good.   They were covered with a white grease.  It was moist, not hardened.  I wiped enough away to assess the situation. No cracks that I could see.   Guess I will be cleaning it up in the morning.

The needle bar area is pretty clean but there are some plastic parts.  The light is also in the way.  I think I can work around it. 
It's a drop in, class 66 bobbin. I think it uses the Apollo bobbin case.    I wanted to check out the shuttle mechanism before I went in for dinner.   I popped off the bottom.  All righty then. 
The belt is in good shape.  I don't see too much to do in here.  I blew out the dust bunnies.  Makes my job simple.

 To be sure, I did not get a warm and fuzzy feeling when I saw this machine in the first place.  I can guarantee that there will be no SMROs either as I work on this machine.  Just the same, I think that it will be OK for her.  She is just beginning to sew and is using a computerized Brother embroidery machine now.
It looked like this one.

This Singer is simpler and, as Nina suggested, would be good to use for piecing.  That way Barb can save the Brother for Embroidery.  (Frankly I think the Singer is better looking than the Brother.  But that is like saying Winston Churchill is better looking than W. C. Fields)

 But, boy, I sure wish it had been a Kenmore. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Water Displacement Formula 40 (AKA WD 40)

The very first Vintage Sewing Machine I bought was a very sad and rusty La Vincendora  128.  I used two whole spray cans of WD 40 on it and never got it to loosen up decently.  Why?

WD 40 is a water displacement product.  It is not a lubricant.  It might seem like it is lubing things up but it isn't.  When it dries, it leaves a film on the surface which becomes gummy with time.  Sort of like dried up KY Jelly.  ICK. Use Sewing Machine oil or Tri Flow or Liquid Wrench or PB Blaster.  WD 40 has its place but not as a lubricant.

I do use WD 40 in my shop as a WATER DISPLACEMENT tool.  If I use a water based cleaner and need to rinse the part with water I will then use WD 40 to displace the water so that the part doesn't rust.  I figure a sticky film is better than rust.    Then I oil the part with SM oil.  (I once used that abbreviation in an email to Betsy who wrote back "What is SM?"  Really.  True story) 

I never used 3 in 1 oil, though.  Never. 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Because I can....

 (For the sake of historical accuracy, the following events actually took place on Friday, February 28th.  It was Frigid Cold (FC) that day.  I had computer problems and am just able to complete the post today when it is a balmy 20.3 outside)

Dear Readers.  I am overwhelmed.  I brought home all those sewing machine parts and stuff and it has me beat.  I admit it.  I made a mistake.  What was I thinking?  I have way too much stuff now.

Mom called today while I was in the shop.  I admitted to her that I had too much stuff.  There wasn't even a pregnant pause at the other end of the line.  It was just plain silent.  She had nothing to say.

This morning my intent was to make a concerted effort to organize the stuff.  I was in the shop early, likely by 9 AM.  Steven had started a fire so the shop was above 40.  I dressed in the warmest clothes I could find and set to work. (The Polar Pig has returned.  It is now 1.9 degrees outside)

First I pulled out my own stash of foot controllers and motors.  I sorted through them and even trashed one motor and a light fixture.  I just don't have the energy to delve into re-wiring an old Singer light.  The keeper rings are a PITA.  Out it went.  A very old motor joined it.  Oh, that felt GOOD!

Then I found a Singer motor that likely came off of an old Vibrating Shuttle (my Women's Health colleagues laugh when I talk about that particular model of machine).  Or, maybe the motor came from a 66.  I can't remember.

I looked at it and wondered.  Is it worth re-wiring?

I opened it up.....

 ...and decided that I could.  So I did. Because I can.

BUT, to distract myself even further, with the above motor recently  disemboweled, and not yet repaired, I took this little antique foot controller apart.
I was relieved to see how easy it was to get apart...

Just two small screws (1) in plain site.  (2) is on the back of the controller.  You can't see it, but I know it's there.

However, when I saw the cracked piece, I feared the worst.
Five minute epoxy to the rescue
I had a terrible time crimping on new connectors.  Steven claims it is easy.  I just couldn't seem to get them to hold.  Finally, I did something right, after several tries and a hissy fit (yes, I shed tears). The motor and the foot controller are ready for a machine.  I must wire a power connection.  That is for another day.

So my big organization effort for the day was hanging up all of the hand wheels.  It got them off a shelf and out of the way, freeing up shelf space for another machine. (No I did not buy another.  I simply put one from the floor, onto the shelf)