The Morse R5L “Super Dial” is a precision all metal straight stitch sewing machine manufactured in the late 1950’s to early 1960’s. The body is made of cast iron, and every other part on the machine is made of metal. It is heavy and it is sturdy. The fact that it is in this fine condition some 60+ years after it was manufactured testifies to its durability.
This Morse machine was manufactured by Toyota. It is not well known today, but Toyota manufactured a number of different model sewing machines badged as Morse, Hamilton, Dressmaker, Household, Fleetwood, and others. It seems that there are any number of vintage all metal Japanese manufactured sewing machines that are passed over or marginalized because they lack name recognition. In fact, many are made by Soryu, Maruzen, Brother, White, and Janome and are very high quality sewing machines that are worth a second glance.
Toyota produced their first sewing machine, the type HA-1 in 1946, by 1999, they gad produced 10,000,000 sewing machines! Toyota sewing machines are still in production today. So, we don’t know the exact date, but we do know the quality of manufacture, so lets get started on the reconditioning.
This Morse “Super Dial” is a very nice example of a 50’s-60’s vintage Japanese manufactured sewing machine. The color is a dark Teal (Blue?) and it is a micro metal flake finish. Except for a very few, very small paint chips, the machine is in great cosmetic condition. This machine is a custom order, so the final package will include an electronic foot control at the Customer’s request.
So, here is the machine in the condition it was delivered in.
The machine looks pretty good. The chrome is shiny and the paint looks good. On close inspection, it is revealed that the finish is hiding a lot of oil varnish and dirt. I can’t wait to see how good she looks when the deep cleaning and polishing is complete!
This machine is going thru the same reconditioning that all of our machines do. This starts with complete disassembly of all mechanisms located in the sewing machine needle bar head, under the bed, and in the pillar. The condition of these parts shows quite a bit of oil varnish coating the outside. Although the machine turns smoothly, this oil varnish is coating the insides of these parts, and when cleaned, the difference in smoothness will be night and day.
Disassembly starts by removing all of the parts in the needle bar head…
The parts here are coated with oil varnish, and after removal, several of the rotating parts were very stiff in rotation… buts that will be corrected in the reconditioning.
The next step is to remove all of the parts under the sewing bed…
This machine is a solid top cast with the body of the machine. The connecting rod and the stitch length lever mechanism shown below is not removed. Access to these parts is difficult. Removing them is possible, as is reassembling them, but I am leaving them in place because it would be very difficult to properly tighten the parts when reassembled. These parts operate freely, and there are no rotating or moving parts to be concerned about cleaning. They will be cleaned by hand in place.
Although the machine is a straight stitcher, there are many parts to be cleaned before reassembly. These are the parts laid out inspection. Note that these do not include any the, balance wheel, bobbin winder bracket, or motor. These are cleaned separately. After all of these parts are cleaned and reassembled, the machine will run like new.
Notice the oil varnish on the parts that are in contact with another?
These parts need special attention. Ultrasonic cleaning does a great job cleaning the oil varnish. Parts that rotate inside of one another will be wire brushed using a soft steel wire wheel on a dremel tool. This will assure that they are completely smooth.
These parts are wire brushed…
The needle bar, presser foot bar, and the shuttle hook shaft is polished…
You may not see much difference… but you can feel it. Next, the bushing bores are cleaned with acetone to remove any varnish remaining.
The bobbin race cover spring is removed and cleaned underneath.
The cleaned parts are reinstalled in the machine…
The bobbin winding mechanism is disassembled and ultrasonically cleaned…
The bobbin case is disassembled and cleaned…
The debris under the leaf spring is commonly found, and it could affect a consistent bobbin thread tension. It is very important to disassemble and clean this often overlooked part.
Now attention is turned to the motor. The motor wire is cracked and must be replaced. The motor is completely disassembled.
The armature is carbon coated but will be cleaned and polished. The brushes are in good condition but they too will be cleaned before re-assembly.
Sewing machine motors are pretty tough… they have to be. Notice the thread wrapped around the motor shaft. It was tightly wrapped, but the motor still ran with good speed and power. After it is reconditioned, it will run much better.
Motor cleaned and wires replaced…
After the motor is reassembled it is “run-in”. As expected, the motor runs smoothly and, rated at 1.2 amps, is very powerful.
The machine is completely reassembled, given a final coat of carnauba wax, At this point the reconditioning is done. The machine turns very smoothly, virtually all parts have been disassembled and cleaned. The body of the machine has been waxed and cosmetically the machine looks great.
Here is the final product…
I love projects that turn out like this… What do you think?