Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Just another Singer Model 66 Treadle Restoration

Here is another project that I just finished. Nothing fancy, just another classic Singer Treadle machine. I just love these machines. I was able to do this in 2 weeks. This included a complete table refinishing. Not my favorite thing to do, but I love it when it's done!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Singer 31-15 Industrial Machine, I think........

Here is a very old industrial machine that now sews some awsome stitches. Even though I couldn't find a serial number, It does appear to be a Singer 31-15.
It was in bad shape! The finish was chipped and repainted. A good clean and lube and this "Ugly Duckling" is sewing like a champ.

Sorry about the pictures. I hope you can see the great stitches here.

The first Singer Zigzag: Model 206

1953, Singer 206K
I will continue to research this Singer machine and although I called it a "Zigzag", originally, Singer called it a
"Swing Needle"  machine. The term "Zigzag" was coined at some point after it's introduction in 1937 but I don't know the details. The 206 was in a family of machines consisting of the 306 and the 319. I wish I knew more but I will continue to research this family of machines and post any new information.. This is the first "206"  I have come across. Originally, singer used their industrial bobbin case for these machines but changed it sometime before the end of production in 1953. The 206k, which is the only machine in this class that I have experience with, appears to be a work-horse of a machine. I hope I just have a "Lemon" because I had a horrible time getting this baby going. First of all, these machines use the 206X13 needle.
Next, way too many issues. The needlebar was at the wrong height. The needle was hitting the hook. I finally realized that the needlebar holder "hinge screw" was missing. What?

( Needlebar holder lined up but hinge screw missing at top)

I finally found a screw in South Dakota, wow.........Duane at http://www.singeroriginalvintageproducts.com/
had one.(Great Guy)  I really tried hard to fall in love with this machine. I finally got it sewing well with regular thread. The owner of this machine wants to use upholstry thread to sew horse blankets. I could not get it to sew consistently with the thick thread. It did show up with a new, aftermarket, bobbin case. I have no idea if it is the correct one for this machine.

Looks very similiar to a class 15 machine from this side except for the "Pfaff looking" zigzag width control.

It is hard to see from this picture but the needle swing bar controller is on the outside of the machine.

The motor, bobbin case and portable carrying case are all new to this machine. Someone had worked long and hard on this machine before I got it. I have now found out that some owners/techs are modifying these machines to work with the more traditional 15X1 needle. This causes additional problems. When you raise the needle bar to compensate for the longer needle, it throws the needle out of time with the hook, then when you advance the hook to compensate for this, it throws the hook out of time with the feed dog, which causes tension problems. Then, one must run the upper tension high to compensate for the loose stitches. Could this be the problem with the machine from the start? I couldn't get the owner to admit to anything.
This was an adventure and I do look forward to the next 206, 306, 319 Singer just for reference purposes.

And here is the rest of the story. Thank you Richard Beman.

Singer purchased he basic Pfaff #130 patent in the 1930's with the provision that it not be completely identical, hense the needle situation, The same fiasco occurred in 1956 when Singer was designing the #401 "Slant-O-Matic".. The cam-stack was a patent purchased from Bernina, another mechanism from the Italian firm Vigorelli and the Brother company was suing Singer. It's a wonder the machine was ever produced. It was ready for Christmas 1957 ( It amazes me when Ebay sellers tell prospective buyers it was made in 1951 )...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Singer 15-91 time again!

All of a sudden, the 15-91's are back. Models seem to go in a cycle. I haven't seen a 15-91 in almost a year.


Below is a garage sale find and it is cleaning up very nice.

what year is this? Go HERE and find out

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

1916, Singer Model 66 "Red Eye", Treadle Refurb

I recently had the chance to work on an old treadle machine. This machine was in pretty good shape.
The table and stand were also in pretty good shape. I cleaned the machine up and refinished only the top of the table. I also cleaned and repainted the iron treadle stand. I thought it turned out beautiful and it sews a perfect stitch.

 I kept the refurb cost low by just working on the table top and the stand.
I just love these old machines. The engineering and wood work is amazing. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

1958 Singer Ad

Not a lot of new stuff this summer.
I did open up a Featherweight Case, in for service, and discovered this newspaper ad inside.

This ad is from a 1958, Pontiac, IL newspaper. No credit cards back then so "Singer" the manufacturer, had to carry the note. At $1.33/week, how long did you pay? 2 years , or 110 weeks would make the total pay-off with intrest  $146.30. That is my guess. Does that sound correct to you?
It looks like you had your choice between a Singer Model 221, or a Singer Model 99.
What was the down payment ? Even back in 1958 we had "Fictitious List Prices". (now called MSRP)
What does "NO EXTRAS!" mean? It sounds sort of harsh for an advertisement.

This ad was hand ripped out of a newspaper and saved for all these years. Here is what is on the back side.
Was the ad taken for the Sewing machine info or the cookies?

Some one should follow this recipe and post a comment on it.
Ruthie has made zillions of cookies including "Molasses Cookies"
and has never seen anything like this.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I never really new what "Sew and Vac" meant until now.

What a strange summer. Very hot and no rain to speak of. I haven't had a
good reason to post until now. I had a machine come through for repair that did
spark my interest. What was this strange tube running to the head of the machine. I thought it was some oiling system at first. After I got the rest of the machine working, I realized it was a "NEEDLE THREADER".  What? It uses suction to thread the needle.  This is a Singer 640 with an internal Cam Stack.

Here is what I'm talking about..........

and more pictures..........This is where it is stored..........You fold it down to use...........

What a great Idea!

This is the actual pump that is located under the machine.

Now I know "The Rest of the Story"

Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Hand Crank Caravan to Haiti

I recently had the chance to "rejuvenate" some old machines and convert them to hand crank units. They will be traveling to Haiti this summer and become part of a Vo-tech Mission sponsered by a local Church  here in the Lafayette, IN area. It is absolutely amazing what these old machines can do once they are cleaned up. The engineering on these old Singers is phenominal and they require minimal power to sew just about anything you can get under the foot. I have 5 machines ready to go. The first convert is an old treadle, model 115 Singer that I mentioned in an earlier post. I tend to get so envolved in working on these machines that I forget to take pictures. These machines turned out beautiful and the pictures just don't do them justice.

1918 model 115

Next came a Singer model 99 which is a 3/4 size machine that has the top load, drop in, class 66 bobbin. One of the first "Portable" machines that usually came in a bentwood, Dome case.

1922 model 99

Another Model 115 that didn't have a bobbin case. 115 bobbin cases are very hard to find. Some one out there is watching over this venture because 2 showed up out of nowhere on e-bay after hundreds of searches.
1915 Model 115

I had a couple of  old model 66 machines that I couldn't seem to find a home for. Both had motors and standard hand wheels. You must have a "Spoked" handwheel to run a hand crank.
So, I bought some and converted the model 66 to a hand crank machine and they work just perfect.

1928 Model 66

I actually sewed some heavy leather belt strips with the model 66 using the hand crank. Wow,
as long as you start with the needle down, it sews it with ease.

One of the machines didn't have a back plate. The only material I had was some plexi-glass.
I traced around another "Back Plate" and with the help of a belt sander, I made a back plate that
you can see through. I'll bet there will be at least 1 kid watching the works on the inside through that window on this 1948, model 66.

I will be posting pictures from Haiti when the Mission sponsers return in late July. I have never been so excited about being part of a project that will make a world of difference to so many people.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Those hard to find Needles for some classic machines

There are a couple of vintage machines I have talked about in the past that have a special needle that is almost Impossible to find. If you do happen to find some, they can go for as much as $6.00/each.  The Free Westinghouse Rotary and the New Home Rotary are two groups of machines that use these special, short needles. I am basing all of the following information on the New Home model NLB rotary sewing machine.
Below is a picture of a needle for the NLB and along with it, a plain, size 14, Schmetz needle that you can buy at your local retailer.

 I lined the "EYES" up to show that the shank of the normal, Schmetz needle(bottom)  is longer than the New Home(top), CC1221 needle. Now, according to a very knowledgable sewing machine expert named Bill Holman, you can grind the shank down on the Schmetz needle so that the distance from the "shank head" to the top of the eye is the same as the New Home needle.

I have this very convenient, desk top grinder that makes this process very easy.

Here is a picture of the two needles after the grinding process on the Schmetz needle. The "EYES" do line up and the shanks are the same length. The needle point on the Schmetz is a bit longer but that doesn't matter.

When the hook passes the needle on any sewing machine it must be within a proper range from the EYE to be able to pick up the upper thread consistently and at a high rate of speed.  If you try this grinding process yourself, please wear the appropriate safety gear. I have tried this process with great success.
Thank you Bill Holman.

This is a picture of a properly timed NLB and a CC1221 needle. Notice the distance of the "Hook Point" above the "EYE". If the needle shank was longer, that "Eye to hook" distance would be greater.  Too great a distance to pick up that upper thread consistantly with todays standard needle. There are several different Needle part numbers out there that may or may not work consistently with your machine. If you look back at picture 1 and 4, you will notice that the NLB needle (CC1221)  is very close to 1 7/16" in length. There are other needles advertised at this length but the eye is not at the correct location. Here is a 206X13 that is advertised to work.
CC1221 on top and 206X13 on the bottom

The 206X13 needle is about the same length, but it is not a match. The eye is not the same distance from the shank head. It is almost  1/16" too low(pictured). All this information is just my opinion from experience and research. Any additional information is welcome. We should all continue to learn.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another classic Sewing Machine, with a surprise!

As I continue my adventures in the sewing machine world, I thought I had learned quite a bit about some of the older machines. I was thrown for a loop on this one. Here we have what appears to be a classic "Class 15" Singer (15-88, Treadle) The fact that it didn't have "Reverse" got by me initally. It did have the upper tension on the face plate. When I went to check the bobbin case I was very surprised. What is this?

After some research, It appeared that I had a Singer Model 115 here. This is a full rotary hook unlike the "Oscillating hook" of the Class 15 machines. Wow, was I surprised! Unfortunately, the bobbin case itself was broken.

These old bobbin cases are virtually impossible to find. I did luck out and find some parts that did allow me to rebuild this original case and is now in working order.

So, here ya go. a 1918 Singer 115-1, treadle sewing machine with a full rotary hook, sporting the "Tiffany" or "Gingerbread" Decal set. These machines were made from 1912-1935. It sure looks like a 15-88 to me.

And I am never happy untill I get it sewing that perfect stitch.........

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Have your machine cleaned before it gets to this.........

The newer computerised sewing machines have some very sophisticated electronics involved with their operation. Lint build up can  deture "optical controllers" from working correctly. Your normal cleaning may not be enough. Most sewers remove the needle plate and clean the feed dogs, the bobbin case and the shuttle.

This looks pretty normal for a shuttle with the needle plate and bobbin case removed for cleaning. Most sewers keep this in pretty good shape. On this paticular machine, here is what was really going on beneath......

The pictures can not really show the extent of how much stuff was packed into this machine.

Just like your car, you need to have your sewing machine serviced by a professional. Depending on how often you sew, will dictate how often you require service. Do it before you have problems. Every problem that this sewing machine had was corrected by this professional cleaning. If you or some one you know is mechanically inclined, you can probably do this yourself.