Saturday, July 28, 2012

One Good Deed...

About a week ago, I fixed a lady's sewing machine. When I didn't charge her, I told her all I did was replace her bobbin case with one from a parts machine someone had given me. I told her if she hears of anyone about to toss out a machine, please grab it for me because I can always use parts. She said she had a machine out in the garage that was worn out and good only for parts, I could have it if I wanted it.

Turned out to be a Singer 401. I am partial to the Singer slant needle machines because a 301 was my first sewing machine and a 401 was my second, so I took it.

She said that it had been used so much that thread has worn a groove in the housing of the machine, the thread kept getting caught in the groove and shredding or breaking. I looked closer and, sure enough, there was a groove just above the last thread guide on the housing.  I threaded the machine and she was correct - the thread runs right through that groove.

I toyed with several options: grinding the groove smooth, installing a rub strip over the groove so the thread would no longer catch in it but being low-tech, I opted to just bend that thread guide at the groove about 1/8" so the thread no longer runs through the groove.

In a quick test, it sews fine. I need to clean and oil and give it a real test tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Cindy's Kenmore

I said when we took over the quilt shop that I hoped it would bring me some interesting machines to play with - here is the first one.  It is a Kenmore 117.560 made by White. I have always been intrigued by the rugged appearance, brown wrinkle paint, and octagonal shape. There isn't a curve anywhere visible on the machine, except the balance wheel. Every surface is flat. I have seen them before but every one I saw was either in too rough shape or too expensive for me to pick up. This one is in excellent condition didn't cost me a cent!

The machine appears to be very well-made and very heavy. The owner said that the machine was slipping when she tried to sew patches on a leather motorcycle jacket. She had to "help" the balance wheel by hand at times.  My first thought was that the belt was slipping but that possibility vanished when I learned that there is no belt, the balance wheel is turned by means of a friction wheel.  Looking at the friction wheel, I noticed that it was positioned so that only a small amount of surface was contacting the balance wheel. No wonder it was slipping!

I repositioned the friction wheel and dressed the rubber to make it conform more closely to the edge of the balance wheel. Hopefully, she won't have that problem again.