Friday, July 17, 2009

As I move out some of the old machines, I find others I had forgotten. This morning, in a cabinet in the storage shed that I had thought was empty, I found a Necchi 515. One of my favorite machines, I don't remember why I relegated it to the storage building. I'll have to get it out and play with it some day.

Today's project, however, was a horse of a different color. It is a Thompson PW-201 Mini-Walker that has been back behind other machines for several years because I was not pleased with it.

I had been wanting one of these for years, and when this one came up for bids at a local auction, I was quite excited. Either no one else in the room knew what it was, or no one else was in the market for this type of machine, but I was the only bidder and walked away with it for a $5 bid. I oiled and cleaned it and it sewed okay, but was noisy enough to require hearing protection. I took it out on a job, making an instrument panel cover for a boat and halfway through the project, the tension assembly popped off and went into the water. I brought it home and shoved it in a corner, never to see the light of day until now.

This is essentially a family machine on steroids, built to sew heavier goods than the standard family machine. It's marketed as a portable industrial machine with built-in walking foot and drop feed. Sailrite sells a newer model with zig zag capability.

It uses the same industrial needles as my big Singer upholstery machine and it easily sews with 69 nylon thread. Although it uses a family machine style motor, it has a reduction gear to lower speed and increase punching power and toothed belts to reduce slippage.

I dusted it off today and oiled it and replaced the tension assembly with an industrial tension assembly. When I fired it up, it was just as noisy as ever and I was ready to stuff it back in a corner when I noticed a loose screw on top of the head in the walking foot linkage. I tightened the screw and the noise reduced significantly, so I looked all over the machine for other possible problems. Another screw was loose in the walking foot linkage inside the needlebar door and tightening it made the machine noise almost bearable. Adjusting the inner foot so it didn't rub on the outer foot was the final task and now I can actually stand to sew on it. I might even take it with me the next time I have to travel to the job.