Saturday, 22 June 2013

Might as well face the facts

I'm far more interested in collecting and fixing sewing machines than I am with sewing. This is not to say that I'm not interested in sewing, but the machines make my heart race.
So I was strolling lazily through ebay a few days ago and someone had a really nice looking machine from the 1920s up there. He said "Antique Singer Sewing Machine Head, Machine is seized, Electricals untested". The machine looked really nice (lotus) and the serial said it's a model 66 from 1924. No cabinet of course, and it came with a motor. Starting price was $15.
OK, what are the chances of anyone else bidding? Well, there was a chance even though it sounded pretty bad. I read the description: "Antique Singer Sewing Machine Head. Machine No. Y1657881.  Machine is seized and has some rust, globe, bobbin and bobbin cover plate is missing. Electricals untested pedal attached. The drive belt is missing too". Yes, he's really sexing it up. Even better was that it finished at 10:05pm on a Wednesday night, was in Geelong and postage was listed (cheaply, IMO - it weighs quite a bit) as $26.50. Nobody else placed a bid, surprisingly :-) Picked it up today and it looked like this:
He was right, it really was seized. I tried oil and a little persuasive rocking, no dice. Decided after taking half the mechanicals off that the Internet would be a good resource here. Hmm, yes, a good WD40 soaking followed by a good wipe and a good lot of oil. The WD40 didn't free it up! I disconnected everything the hand crank connected bit by bit until I found the culprit: The needle bar was completely rusted to its mounting. Tapped a screwdriver directly downwards on the top and it moved. Gently placed the pliers on it and moved it round (it was disconnected completely at the top). The bar was covered in orange WD40 now and it seemed no amount of wiping was going to remove it. Eventually, though it did.
Re-connected everything and plugged it in (I had disassembled and reassembled the motor too) and the motor worked. It was so pathetic (probably because I'd removed the brushes) that I decided to treadle it. Into the cabinet it went, and I even had a new belt for just such an occasion :-) She's probably not sewn a stitch in 50 years, but she did several hundred this evening. Yep, she's a beauty, and I'm just going to apply some shellac to protect the decals.
In her new home
That lovely decal

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