Sunday, 21 September 2014

Singer 15 revival

This machine was given to me by my friend who had issues with the number of machines she has and the space they take. It was made in 1910.
I didn't get a single picture of it before I touched it but here's what was wrong:
  1. The case's bottom veneer layer had come off.
  2. The rest of the bottom had broken and perished.
  3. There were signs of borer in the good part of the bottom.
  4. The coffin lid also showed borer holes.
  5. And was coming apart on several places.
  6. The machine was a bit stiff and made noises

The Case

So to work I went. Firstly, sanded off the remaining shellac coat from the case, then treated it with kerosene (twice) to make sure the borer weren't coming back. Then I took to it with wood glue and a clamp.
The base looked to be in good shape but when I removed the bottom it all fell apart, so out with the glue, also clamped it for 24 hours and was left with the following.
Lid, sanded and glued

Base, also sanded and glued.
I figured the original finish was probably shellac, so as I had some from another job a few months ago out it came. You can give it as many coats as you like, and it only gets glossier. The drying time was about 30 minutes and I lightly sanded with wet and dry emery paper (used dry) between coats.
Lid after one coat

accessory slide cover

base, one coat
Skipping straight to the finish now, she looked like this:
Lid after three coats

Base, ready for hardware
With machine put back, she's now on the kitchen table looking fine.

The machine

Rather stupidly I only took one picture of the machine before cleaning and it's of the undercarriage, thusly:
There was a lot of lint and fluff under the feed dog, always a bad sign. I just pulled the machine apart and cleaned it 'til it looked like a new one. Oiling is always last when you clean a machine. Reason is that if you oil as you go, dirt will stick to it and you'll end up with a sticky mess. This underneath bit comes up extremely well with Silvo soaked on the middle of a strip of fairly strong fabric. Wrap it around the part you want to clean and go vigorous. It's remarkable how much better you feel after doing all this, and after application of some oil, the noise was gone and the machine is as smooth and free as you could hope for.
That stupid amount of shine was the result of car wax. Does a spiffing job.
Here are some more "after" pics.
Slide plate. Considering having it re-plated

These decals are completely original

Took the bobbin winder apart completely to clean

Didn't clean all of it

Yes didn't clean all of it but the bobbin area got a lot of attention. It is likely where the noise originated so I disassembled it and thoroughly cleaned it, oiling as I reassembled.
One thing I didn't check was the timing. I mean, it's a 15, so what are the chances? The tension spring was broken, so part of cleaning the assembly was a new spring.
So, after pulling out the bobbin assembly, the bobbin winder, tension assembly how did it stitch? Didn't take pictures but it was like a 201 without even adjusting anything! Perfectly straight and no problem with tensions.
One thing I didn't notice was the lack of spool pin. I snapped a bamboo chopstick to the right height and now we have one.
I didn't enjoy sewing with this machine at all, though. The lack of a light wasn't a huge problem but the lack of my right hand to guide fabric was definitely noticed. The hand crank has been taken from a 66 (it has lotus decals) so I don't have a problem with adding a Singer motor and foot controller.

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