Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Babylock BL402

Today, I was gifted (cursed) with a serger that had been sitting in a storage shed for an indeterminate period of time. The above photo does not accurately represent the amount of dirt and insect droppings covering the outside of the machine but the photo below gives you an idea what I saw when I looked at it closely.

The rust was most severe on the exposed components, but the loopers were also rusty and thread needs to slide smoothly over the surfaces of the loopers. The machine was also frozen solid and the wheel would not turn at all.  The first thing I did was to give the mechanicals a good soaking of Liquid Wrench. I kept trying to turn the wheel until it finally broke loose the tiniest bit. From there, I kept turning the wheel until I finally got one complete revolution, then used the motor to finish the job of loosening everything up.

The thing is a bear to thread and the lower looper thread broke several times but each time it broke, I would polish the looper and try again. Finally, I got a nice stitch with all four threads.

And here it is now. I still have some cosmetic cleaning to do in the nooks and crannies and testing some of the functions, like differential feed, but I'm pleased with the results so far.

As you can see, I installed threads the same color as the tension wheels so I would know instantly which thread needed tension adjustment.

  I would not have taken in a machine in this condition for someone else because I was quite sure it would never sew again.  I only did it because there was no pressure to get it done and no penalty if I didn't. 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Singer 401a

Trolling through the only thrift store in town, I spotted a blonde - not a female, I'm too old for that - this was a blonde sewing machine cabinet. Now, blonde furniture hasn't been in style for quite a few years, so, if it was not just an empty cabinet, this held some promise of a vintage sewing machine.

I didn't recognize the cabinet as Singer, and figured it would contain a Japanese machine of the 1960s.
To my surprise, when I lifted the lid, inside was a Singer 401a!

 I think I've told this story before, but a Singer 301 was my first machine and a 401 was my second machine and my first zig zag machine. I still have a soft spot in my heart for slant-needle Singers, even though I have better sewing machines and I already have too many slant-needle Singers. I don't see many of these around any more, mostly late model plastic machines.

Accumulated dirt made this one look like it had been stored in a barn for some time. It was missing the slide plate and one spool pin and the bobbin winder tire was disintegrated but the stitch selectors and balance wheel turned freely, it had the power cord and foot control and the price was right, so I brought it home.

When I removed the head from the cabinet, I found a tag saying, "Make Offer". Apparently the machine was offered at a local yard sale and no one was tempted to make an offer, so it was donated to the thrift store.

The old girl cleaned up nicely and with just cleaning and oiling and replacing of a few common parts, it sews nicely. I have sewn three small projects on it and am quite pleased with my latest find. Now, I have to pick another machine to get rid of because I am under a one-in-one-out mandate.