Sunday, October 02, 2011

Viking 64 40

In Fredericksburg, Virginia for a business meeting a few weeks ago, I noticed a Goodwill Store across the street from the hotel where the meeting was being held. Never one to pass up a chance to paw through junk, I headed across the street at the first opportunity. There was only one sewing machine, from a distance, I thought it was a modern plastic Singer and nothing I would be interested in. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a Husqvarna Viking 6440, manufactured in the '75 - '77 timeframe, in good cosmetic condition but frozen solid. Vikings are not common in my area, this was only the third one I have ever seen but it was complete, in good condition, with foot control and some extras and the price was right so it came home with me.

A few years back, I owned a 5000 series and a 6000 series ex-school Vikings and they were pure junk. I couldn’t see why anyone would ever buy a Viking, much less rave about it.  

What I did like, however, was their foot controls. 

Instead of a wiper arm sliding across a rheostat, the Vikings of that era use a wheel rolling across a rheostat.  This makes for much smoother operation and less chance of the foot control sticking. 

They also have a safety feature that completely disconnects power when there is no pressure on the pedal. I still have one of my original foot controls but have been hoarding it until I could find a machine worthy of it. 

When I saw that this Viking had the foot control, I figured that alone was worth the $12.95 sticker price, so I picked it up.

When I got this one home and opened up, I found that even though the exterior was spic & span, the spider webs inside indicated it hadn't been used in some time and had been stored in less than ideal conditions. It took lots of exercising to free up the mechanisms but in about an hour, it started sewing and gets continually better.

It has the slide-on accessory tray that probably wasn’t meant to sew on, but I do anyway, since the table extension was not included. In the tray were some bobbins and a couple of accessories, but by no means a full bag.

I wasn’t expecting much, considering my history with Vikings, but when I started sewing a small project, I was in for a shock! The machine is smooth, quiet, and produces an excellent stitch. Now, I can see why Viking owners are proud of their machines, they probably bought them new and performed all the required maintenance, unlike the school system that produced my first two Vikings.

It only has the “A” cam, so I only have four stitches in addition to straight stitch and zig zag but 99% of my sewing is straight stitch, 0.9% zig zag, and only 0.1% decorative stitch, so I can live without all the fancy stitches. Guess I’ll keep it until it needs some kind of repair, and then I’ll put the foot control on a Necchi Supernova and sell the Viking for parts.


Artsi Bitsi said...

Love your blog. I have a White Model 999 that I have named Blanche. Someday I hope to understand her half as well as you understand Vikings and Singers.
Thanks. :-)

Tammy said...

I have a 1979 Husqvarna 6570 complete with accessories, extension table and all the cams. It is an awesome sewing machine! Plus an added bonus the front of mine is red. I named her Ruby. Please feel free to check it out here:

Michelle said...

I had a Viking similar to this one, or it could have been the same one...not sure. Anyway, one night it started smoking, so I unplugged it and set it outside the back door. That weekend, I took it to a Viking dealer who has a whole upstairs building full of old sewing machines, including vikings, and we left it with him to check out. Since we were from out of town, he told us if we came back in a few hours it would be ready to go. We came back and he said it was fine. He had put a weight on the foot control and let it run for over half an hour, and it was fine. He told us what happened. It had some kind of something on it which was, so not to interfere with the television reception (you know, kind of like when the vacuum cleaner used to put lines through the picture...oh gosh, I'm showing my age!!!). Anyway, that is what was smoking, and that now it was done smoking. No need to replace anything and I could take it back if anything like that happens to you, not to worry!

Yes, those old Vikings are awesome. I have a Husqvarna Model 21 (green and OLD). She sews like a dream and is so quiet!! Those old ones were made in Switzerland and precision. If yours has a circuit board in it, you might have a problem later, but even my Viking guy replaced a board in one of the ones I had, so it is still possible.

Have fun with your Viking!

BluePenny said...

I have two Vikings, a 20 year old 560ED serger and a 8 or 9 year old Quilt Designer sewing machine.

I plugged the serger in the day I bought it and have never had a problem with it. It has no electronics, so all I need to do is keep it clean and properly oiled. It gets a fair amount of use and still runs like a champ. It is the only serger Ive ever owned.

The sewing machine has never needed service. It takes anything I throw at it. I did find a service manual online, so I can take the shell off & clean it out myself when needed. Im usually much more comfortable with non-electronic machines, but this one has been a trooper.

My only gripe is the cost of Viking-branded presser feet & accessories. Thankfully it can use generic low-shank feet.

I used to recommend Vikings to others, until they moved their manufacturing from Sweden to Asia. One of the main reasons I bought Viking was because they *were not* made in Asia somewhere. Unfortunately, their prices have not dropped, despite the lower cost of Asian labor & manufacturing, which is a shame.

Anonymous said...

I purchased a used Viking 6440 over 20 years ago for $100. and have loved every minute of it. I later bought a newer 950E Viking, which is so complicated. I still use my old model more than anything. It is an iron horse and has never given me a problem. The belt is starting to squeak so I'll have to have it changed. Is this something easy to do. I have the side cover off and see the two belts and found where the squeak is coming from. Any suggestions?

Connie (CJ) Griffin said...

I had this exact model, purchased used as a college graduation present. I loved it, although it wasn't as smooth as my mom's Bernina 400 series.

One evening I was sewing, then left everything out to eat dinner. The sewing machine started sewing at a high rate of speed all by itself, then started smoking! If we hadn't been home there's no doubt the apartment would have caught on fire. It made me nervous to use it for a long time, even after getting it serviced.

Only 2 years ago I sold it to my friend for $50, with all the cams and an extra quarter inch foot, as I wasn't interested in vintage machines at the time. She uses it all the time, and now I've become interested in vintage machines.

It was nice to see an old friend on your blog. Thanks for the taking me down memory lane.

Jane said...

Have a Viking in this series. Straight and zigzag work beautifully but camstack's broken. Don't know if I feel like undertaking that repair job!

Ed Lamoureux said...

If I remember right, this series uses the cams that attach in the rear of the machine. Is it the camstack gear that is broken? -Ed

Anonymous said...

I have a Husqvarna Viking model model 55 40 that my mother had (early 80's?). She didn't use it that much, so it's in really good condition. Does anyone have an idea of re-sale on something like this? Thanks in advance for thinking about it.

Anonymous said...

I just found a Viking Husqvarna 6020 at the thrift store and had the cam stack repaired. It sews beautifully, however I can't figure out how to change the cams to use the other stitches....

Anonymous said...

Gotta love the 6440. Bought mine around 1975; got too busy to sew, so it was stored until retirement in 2001. Dragged it out, took it to the local Viking Service Center; now it purrs like a kitten. When it breaks down I'll replace the motor before I try to replace it.

As for Husqvarna/Viking, when I started sewing a lot found out a Serger was needed, so bought the 936. Fell in love with embroidery and bought a Rose in 2006 (have upgraded twice since then). Yesterday I bought a Topaz 20 as backup for my Diamond SE. Needless to say, I don't even bother looking elsewhere for anything to do with sewing.

Anonymous said...

Viking 6020 cam changes.

Turn the cam knob on the front to the small dot. At this position (if everything else is OK) you should be able to remove the cam you have and swap in a different one.

Donald Haas said...

I have a Husqvarna 21 E. When I plug in the foot peddle to the machine it starts sewing. I do not know how to shut it off. Any ideas?

Ed Lamoureux said...

I do have some ideas but you don't provide enough background to make me look smart. Is this a new machine? portable or table model? Does it have the separate plugs for the motor and light that plug into a box that looks like a wall outlet? If the machine worked previously, did you perform any maintenance just before it stopped working? Help me help you. - Ed

Anonymous said...

Hi, Donald,

You need a new capacitor in you foot peddle, costs under 2 Dollars.

If you are not sure what to do, bring the machine to a radio rapair shop.

Your from Germany,


Louella said...

I have a Viking 6010 that sews forward and backward and zigzags but the knob to select the design stiches on the cam stack will not turn. What would cause this problem and/or how can it be fixed?

William Moser said...

I inherited a 6440 when my Grandmother passed away. It has no instruction manual with it. does anyone know where to find one for free online?