Sunday, October 04, 2009

Who Needs Maaco?

I saw some chat on one of the sewing forums the other day concerning repainting vintage sewing machines and that brought to mind the industrial Singer 96-10 that I re-finished a while back. Industrial sewing machines are built to work for many years with minimal maintenance in a factory setting. While the guts are strong, the paint coat is another story; it’s the weakest part of an industrial sewing machine. of the 15 +/- industrial machines I own, at least half have been repainted, partially or fully. I have seen many industrial machines that were in perfect working order that looked like they had been dragged from Boston to Miami behind a cement truck. My 96-10 didn’t exactly fit that description, but it was pretty bad. I found the sewing head in a thrift shop for $30. The slide plate and bobbin case were missing and the thread take-up lever was broken off. Less than $50 of parts later had it sewing just fine, but still looking sad, so I decided to refresh the paint with automotive paint and a couple of coats of clear topcoat for protection.

There was no rust, so I didn’t need to clean out a lot of pits and fill them in, I just sanded, primed, and painted. I removed everything I could from the exterior of the machine to avoid taping. Impatient as I am, the whole project took less than a day, and most of that was waiting for coats of paint to dry. Those of you with sharp eyes will notice that the paint on the horizontal arm in photo 3 is smoother than that in photo 4 – that’s because I was a bit too hasty in attempting to apply a Singer decal and didn’t wait until the paint had sufficiently cured. Regardless, it looks much better and still sews like it should. I just pulled it out last week and lubed it up and have been sewing small projects with it. If I can find the “before” photo, I will show you the 111W155 that I resurrected another time.