Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pfaff 330

I haven’t done much playing with sewing machines lately because I was involved in a larger project, recovering a chaise lounge we purchased at a thrift shop.  I did get to use my Singer 20U that hasn’t been exercised since we moved over a year ago, but that’s another post.

This Pfaff 330 was an ebay purchase from several years ago.  I decided I had to dig it out of the garage and get it running or get rid of it. 

I liked the machine because it is an early example of a zig zag machine and the bed extension is built in. It just swivels up into place when the operator needs a flat bed.

It came to me with a box of accessories, carrying case, instruction book dated September 1952 and a sales receipt dated 4 June 1953. Not many of my machines have such a provenance!

Those who are familiar with the Pfaff 330 will notice that the bed is unusual.  The paint was cracked and falling off.  Assuming I would never find a suitable paint match, I stripped all the paint off the bed and polished the aluminum.  

After cleaning and oiling, I used it on a small project to test it.  The needle thread kept breaking, so I looked for a burr on the hook that might be the culprit and found the two screws on the outside of the hook burred.  This is not a good photo, I took it with my cell phone but you can get an idea what area I am talking about.

 I smoothed them down somewhat and reduced the amount of thread breakage, but still need to do more work in that area.

I had to stop working on the thread breakage issue because on my second project, the motor became intermittent.  I would step on the foot control and nothing would happen – no hum, no smoke, no rotation – just nothing.  If I turned the balance wheel by hand, the motor would then drive the machine for a while, then nothing again. I popped the motor out of the machine and found the surface of the motor covered with corrosion.  Another poor cell phone photo, but you can see the corrosion all over the surface of the motor.

Apparently, the machine has either been in a flood or subjected to very high humidity for a long time.  The motor commutator was quite dirty and the motor brushes are quite short. I cleaned off all the corrosion I could get to, cleaned the commutator oiled the bushings and cleaned out the brush tubes so the brushes can slide easily.  Reassembled, it appears to be working; I’ll have to use it for a while to determine whether I have made a permanent fix.  In the meantime, I’ll be looking for a new pair of brushes.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Auction Finds

Went to a local auction this morning and there were more sewing machines there than I have ever seen at an auction.  I counted eleven and might have missed a few.  There was one modern machine, a Kenmore 17000 series that appeared to be well cared-for.

An electric Brother in a well-worn carrying case was tempting because the machine inside was pristine. That case had done its job protecting the cargo inside.

Many of the rest of the machines were Singers, mostly 66s in average used condition but there were New Homes, Domestics, a Paveway, and some other badges I don’t remember.

How many did I end up with?  None!  This Singer 15 was the only one I thought twice about because the cosmetic condition was nearly perfect – all the paint and decals were just like they should be with minimal wear.

But I just don’t want to sacrifice any more space to another treadle machine, so I left it for one of the many Amish who were at the auction.