Thursday, August 29, 2013

A Little Patience Now And Then!

First off, because I didn’t want to gross you out with photos of a very dirty Singer 301 right off the bat-

Isn’t this sweet potato vine just GORGEOUS?!

I love this color….and the little bit of purple-whatever that is growing next to it too.  FRESH green --- love it!

I met with my friend Jen for lunch and we had an hour of non-stop gab and chatter.  Just what I needed.

This sweet potato vine was spotted in the parking lot as we walked out to go to our cars....so pretty.

I came home, and decided to tackle the really DIRTY job that has been waiting over the past few days…

But before I can get in and deep clean the machine...uhoh…we have a problem!

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THIS is a very dirty bobbin assembly….

And there is a HUGE wad of thread stuck behind that one hole there…can you see it? PINK?! Yeah.  That is NOT supposed to be there.  At this point the motor is even bogged down.

Tweezers did not work, hemostats did not work, I couldn't even make it budge with my seam ripper and I was afraid of breaking the tip off of my best seam ripper if I kept digging.

Do you see that hole to the left at the bottom? That is where a gib screw goes…TINY little thing.  I removed the gib screw…

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Which enabled me to swing the arm of the bobbin race out….and get that wad of thread out of there.  BOY! Does this machine need a bath! 

This is the Franken Singer that I posted about the other day, REMEMBER?  The one where I combined two parts machines into one working machine…I needed to be sure it was going to run before I did all the cleaning, so I usually check to see if it is going to be worth my effort to clean it before I get started.

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Testing machine to see if it runs.

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This is the kind of gross crusted on nicotine stuff that has been on this machine for 50+ years.  The machine was COATED with it! ((Yeah, imagine what that does to your lungs too!))

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After some patience, long-suffering and lots of elbow grease!

It’s looking SO much better!  Next step up is a good coat of car wax to protect and shine.  There are some cosmetic issues that will always be there, like the deep gouges in the machine bed and the wear and tear on the front edge of the machine.  The GOOD story is….even though neglected in recent years, the donor-body of this machine has had a heavy life long history of sewing – so someone loved it a lot!

If you ever want to know if you need to go back and clean some more?  Take a photo of any area…..pictures don’t lie.  I need to spend some more time under and  around the top thread guide and the tensioner here:

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It’s MUCH better, but I can see some ick around the screws and such.  Q tips, water, machine oil, wooden toothpicks and patience.  Be careful using anything chemical that might damage the paint.  It’s amazing what you can do with simple machine oil, toothpicks and Q tips!

And don't forget the patience.

Back at it!

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  1. My (new to me) 301a was nicotine dirty, too, but, not as bad. I cleaned until my tendonitis kicked in. I'll clean again (nicotine only) when I get my bobbin case for it next month. Have fun with yours! Mine came in the trapezoid case.

  2. Did you learn machine maintenance through trial and error or did someone teach you?

  3. So can I use machine oil to clean the parts of a machine that don't need oiling but need cleaning? Thx!!

  4. I rescue 301s (and others) all the time - don't you wish they could talk? I have found that my toolbox is not complete without toothpicks, dental floss, Q-tips, pipe cleaners, dishwashing soap and Simple Green!

  5. So lovely to see this come to life again with your care and attention!

  6. So that's nicotine soiling? Yuck. I thought the gunk was kitchen dirt ala cooking grease in the air. Could be a combo of both I guess. I have my Aunt's tan 301, it was clean as a whistle. But insides were frozen up so sent it to the OSMG in town. He used a hot hair dryer to break the rods and gears loose.

  7. Maybe you should call this one Patience...

  8. Anonymous6:14 PM EDT

    Just an FYI but the potato vine is also available in two other colors and the three look great together. Purple (as in eggplant purple) and a green and white variegated. Absolutely beautiful together and you just pinch off a piece and poke it in the ground and it will sprout so you'll have an area covered in no time. Good job on the machine.

  9. Hi Bonnie,
    I have a old Singer treadle, but it is missing bobbin and plate. Do you know where I could find pieces to replace on my sewing machine. My husband bought it from someone a couple of years ago. I live in British Columbia. I will send a picture of my machine when I get home.

    Thank you
    Laura Varney

    1. Laura, try the links under the Vintage Machines tab at the top of the blog. Bonnie has put a whole bunch of info in there that I have found helpful. Hope this helps. Julie

  10. Bonnie, you are so funny! I was all sucked in with that lead in. I just had to see what you were going to accomplish with your machine. I didn't know that you could use machine oil to clean the machine - I may just have to keep that in mind when looking at machines in the future.

  11. Bonnie, just this year, I have become obsessed with these vintage machines. I garage sale shop weekly and am amazed at how many are out there. I would love to buy/save them all and restore them to a usable state. The only problem I find is that so many are in the console cabinets and I only have so much floor space. Do you find this a problem and what do you do if you want the machine but not the cabinet?

  12. You did a great job! How much time was spent doing this? Do you ever use WD40 or GooGone for cleaning?

  13. Patience, and know-how too. You should have worked wonders on this Singer!!!!-

    How could anyone possibly let a machine get that bad? Probably someone who was in need of a new glasses prescription? :)

    Hey I have to agree, Patience is the perfect name for this sad little girl.


  14. Hello Bonnie. You never cease to amaze me! I, too, enjoy resurrecting vintage Singer sewing machines. I believe the yucky sticky stuff that accumulates is not necessarily nicotine, but built up oil and dirt. LA's Awesome found at Dollar Tree and Dollar General is an AWESOME cleaner. Gentle and harmless on paint and decals but cuts the dirt unbelievably! I also use sewing machine oil to shine the surface. I also agree that taking pictures is a great way to see the machine better and it works wonders when laying out blocks for a quilt, too.

    1. Thanks for that tip on LA's Awesome! I have to agree that some of the gunk on my old Singers is old oil, but I'm sure some of it is nicotine (YUCK)

  15. FYI - it's not the nicotine that does that. It's the tar. And this makes me wish I'd found a way to hang on to my grandmother's old Singer. I'm pretty sure it was exactly like this one. I tried doing some sewing on it and it was in desperate need of a tune up. However, I did not know how to do it back then. Sigh.....

  16. The purple plant next to the sweet potato vine looks very familiar. I don't know what the proper name of that is, but my mother and her friends all called it Wandering Jew. It is very hardy.

    Love that you share the sagas of your vintage machines! We are looking forward to your visit to our guild in Abilene!

  17. Good to know! Today I rehab-Ed a 1930 singer featherweight! I used machine oil, q-tips, and effort! And it turned on afterwards and ran like it was a new machine? Whew! It belongs to my DIL...this winter I must rehab a 1860's singer treadle and it is good to know I can use the same things on it!...thank you!!

  18. Bonnie, I was taught to clean old machines by someone who fixes and hefurbs them. Murphy's Wood Oil soap, slightly diluted in a bowl of warm water. Soak your part, and use a toothbrush. It will even remove rust suing a soft brass brush. (on non painted parts) Finish off with machine oil wipe down and good to go. Works every time on LOTS of grime.

  19. The Mr. Clean Magic Erasers also work well to cut through some of the gunk.

  20. Wow Bonnie, you are a vintage mach(g)enius!

  21. Car Wax? Can you tell us some more about that part?

  22. Looking much better. I haven't checked mine out yet. Next week when the grandkids head off to school. Then I will finally have some time!

  23. Way to go Bonnie! You are so good at tinkering with your "girls" and getting them beautiful again and up and running! I appreciate all the info abut older machines that you pass along!

    I just found an Elna Supermatic 722010 and am trying to get her cleaned up and running smoothly again - she is a finnicky one to deal with! A new friction pulley should arrive Tues so I will be carefully trying to replace it. This has to be one of the most difficult and intricate machines that I have dealt with but I am determined to get my Green Girl back in shape - any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  24. So you use car wax to give your older machines a shine? I have a featherweight and also a treadle machine, though the treadle isn't presently in "running condition".

  25. I see the bed of the machine has been damaged, sadly I did this to my machine when using the buttonhole attachment. I have also seen it on other machines. I think that sometimes the buttonholers don't fit very well and there is a lot of movement which caused the cover plate to move and scratch the bed. Beware! It doesn't seem so much of a problem with the straight stitch buttonholers which fir perfectly.



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