Monday, 11 March 2013

Sewing Machine Rescue

Early last Sunday morning, I was standing at my kitchen window washing up, when I noticed my neighbour putting a sewing machine out onto the grass verge.  Our Council is great.  Each household is allowed 6 rubbish pick ups per year, either general household rubbish or vegetation - you simply need to phone them a week or so in advance.  So obviously she was putting out the machine as part of the household pick up she had ordered.

I called out to the hubby & pointed it out.  Bless him, he said "do you want me to go and get it?".  What a dumb question, of course I did!  So he ducked out and scuttled across the road to retrieve it.  It was a grim and showery day, and he had just got back to our side of the road, when it started to bucket down.  The poor machine would have been drowned if it had been left out.

My thinking was that if it was in working order, I would oil it, and clean it up and then offer it around to some of my quilting buddies.  If no-one wanted it, I was planning to sell it.  If it didn't work, I would offer it to my local sewing machine repair man as a spare parts machine.

So I set it up and pulled it apart to see what was what.  It turned out to be an electric Singer 533 Stylist Free Arm, made in England about 1980, and looked in terrific condition when I took the cover off.  BUT it wasn't working.  On investigation I found it was absolutely filthy under the stitch plate, and so in need of oil, poor thing.  It had obviously not been cleaned or oiled in a very, very long time. 

The bobbin shuttle was not moving, it was so choked up with lint.  I tried to search for a maintenance manual on the internet, but there were none for free download.  I wasn't prepared to pay for a manual, so just got on with the job of basic cleaning & oiling.  By the time I had done all that, I had the shuttle moving, when I moved it manually, but when the machine was operating the bobbin shuttle still did not move.  So that was how I left it as I had run out of time.

I mentioned the machine at Friday Quilters, and my lovely friend Di piped up that she would have it.  She gives sewing classes at the local Shelter, and said she needed an extra machine, as the numbers in her class were increasing.  I explained what it was doing and she said she would come around that night to investigate.

The two of us had great fun as we sat there with screw drivers and cleaning cloths, and pulled the base off the machine.  And there we had the answer.  There are three gears set up on the drive shaft from the motor to the bobbin shuttle, which is what makes the thing go round and round.  And on all three of the gears, which were plastic by the way, the teeth had been shorn off.

What a shame that they put plastic parts into an obviously well made solid metal machine!  But it does mean that it should be a relatively cheap repair, and all that will be needed is to buy 3 plastic gears and replace the worn ones.

Win, win all around.  The Shelter will have a good basic machine for the girls to work on, and it hasn't gone to landfill.  I am delighted I spotted that sitting on the grass verge.

Now where can I do a crash course on machine maintenance??

Til next time....... keep on stitching.

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