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Restoration of a Vintage 1941 Singer Model 201-2… Meet Lola!

Introduction

This is a private restoration for another fine Singer model 201-2. This beautiful sewing machine is named Lola. It isn’t surprising to me that folks get so attached to their sewing machines that they name them. Vintage sewing machines like this 201 have been sewing reliably for decades. Often, they become part of the family and passed down thru generations of folks that use and cherish them for decades. When you consider that Lola is 81 tears old and still sewing reliably after all that time, it is a testament to the quality build that is evident in every part of the machine. Cast iron body, precision heat treated steel parts, and a gear driven full rotary hook results in a sewing machine that is durable, reliable, and forms a great lock stitch.

Restoration Plan

Although Lola is still used regularly, there is a time to restore her to like new condition. Lola has a lot going for her. She has a beautiful original finish and except for some expected decal wear on the front bed, is in great cosmetic condition. She turns smoothly and is used regularly, but at 81 years old, the customer decided to have a full mechanical restoration and bring her back to pristine running condition and the peak performance 201’s are known for. My initial inspection shows some oil varnish and lint buildup that when restored, will improve the overall feel, smoothness, and performance of the machine and prepare her for many more years of reliable and trouble-free service.

The mechanical restoration will consist of disassembly the sewing assembly up to the gears. All of the parts in the needle bar head will be removed. The rocker arms, feed dog mechanism, rotary hook, bobbin case, stitch length fork, and connecting rod will be removed. All of these parts will be ultrasonically cleaned, heated in oil to remove any moisture, and wire brushed to the bright steel finish they had when new. The motor will be restored, and the balance wheel will be disassembled and cleaned. All of the tension mechanisms will be disassembled, cleaned and polished. All of the plated parts will be cleaned and polished. The paint chips on the edges of the bed and the few nicks observed will be covered using color match custom mixed shellac-based paint. The customer has already cleaned and polished Lola, but she will be cleaned again, and glaze polished to bring out her best.

Mechanical Restoration

Considering her fine appearance now, let’s look at what the disassembly reveals. The following pictures show Lola before the restoration begins.

There is some work to do here so let the restoration begin.

First, all of the parts in the needle bar are disassembled.

Then the bobbin case, feed dogs, and rotary hook case is removed.

It isn’t unusual to find lint packed here… and I have no doubt it is affecting the machines performance.

The next step is to disassemble all of the mechanisms under the bed.

The stitch length fork and connecting rod are also removed.

All of the parts are laid out for cleaning.

Overall, the parts look pretty good, but the oil varnish present on the contact surface and exterior surfaces of all parts will be removed

After cleaning, heating, and wire brushing, the parts are renewed to like new condition.

The needle bar, presser foot bar, and the bobbin hook case shaft are polished to as glass smooth finish.

Parts like the bobbin case and the bobbin hook case need to be disassembled to remove any hidden lint or oil varnish.

First, the bobbin hook case is cleaned.

Lint found here can certainly affect performance, and cleaning all of the small slots and holes will allow the hook to operate freely and as designed.

Next, the bobbin case is cleaned.

Lint found here is in the thread path and can cause uneven bobbin thread tension.

In final preparation, some of the smaller parts of the bobbin hook assembly are rounded up with smaller nickel-plated pieces and tumble polished.

After polishing, the bobbin hook race and bobbin case assembly are reassembled.

The gears and contact surface for the stitch length fork and connecting rod are cleaned of old grease and oil varnish. Next, the gears under the bed are cleaned of all grease and varnish.

The bores the needle bar and bobbin hook shaft are wire brushed to remove the oil varnish that has undoubtedly formed there.

All these mechanical parts are driven by the motor, so the detailed motor restoration is a vital part of the mechanical restoration.

First, the motor is completely disassembled.

The armature shafts and the commutator are polished.

The motor case and worm gear are cleaned.

New primary wires are soldered to the field coil.

The grease wicks are cleaned and recharged with lubricant.

The motor is reassembled, new motor brushes and the grease wicks are installed, and the grease tubes are packed with lubricant.

The motor is run in for a few minutes to ensure it is running smoothly and delivering the speed and power expected. The actual performance won’t be known until the machine is assembled and adjusted. It will then be checked for speed. The 201 is rated for 1100 stitches per minute and is quite fast.

The bobbin winder is incorporated in the motor housing, so it was disassembled and cleaned separately. The bobbin winder “thumb” and everything shiny is polished. Then everything is reassembled. The old, cracked bobbin winder tire is replaced.

Next, the balance wheel is disassembled and all of the internal parts are cleaned.

Because the chips on the balance wheel are numerous and deep, they can’t be paint matched and not be noticeable. A replacement balance wheel free of chips is used instead. The donor balance wheel is used in the reassembly.

The balance wheel is ready to be put on the machine.

Next, the top tension mechanism is disassembled and cleaned.

That finishes the mechanical part of the restoration.

Next, the paint chips are addressed. They are painted with custom mixed ebony black paint.

The machine is deep cleaned and paint chips on the bed are addressed.

There are a few very small paint chips on the sewing machine body. A sample is shown and they are fixed where they are found.

The small repairs will all but disappear from view when the body of the machine is glaze polished.

The front cover, side cover, bobbin slide plat, needle plate, and the stop motion knob are rouge polished on a 6″ buffing wheel and everything is ready for the final assembly. The camera has a hard time with very shiny surfaces, so the results will be shown in the final pictures.

There is one little cosmetic detail that bothers me… The decals on Lola’s sewing arm are in fantastic condition except for one little chip on top of the sewing arm.

Decal restoration is not normally part of a mechanical restoration, but I am going to fix it. The first step is to mix a gold color to match the decals on the machine. Several gold color paints are mixed on a piece of cellophane on the machine bed to get a comparison.

Then the decal chip is corrected using a fine tip artist brush.

It’s a little detail, but I think it makes a difference.

Now, the machine is reassembled.

Lola is glaze polished and is ready for final adjustments. The hook timing, needle depth, and feed dog clearances are set. Sewing is the only way to adjust the top and bottom tensions for a balanced stitch, so trial and error is the only way. It’s time consuming, but worth the effort. From here on out, only minor tension adjustments will be required to match the thread to the fabric for any given project.

Finally, with the final adjustments made, Lola’s restoration is complete. So, how many stitches per minute will Lola sew per minute? Using a digital tachometer, I measure the speed of the needle clamp going up and down.

Because the tach measures the clamp both ways, dividing the number by two gives the stitches per minute Lola is sewing. That comes out to 1118 SPM… the machine is rated for 1100 spm so this is a great outcome.

The customer had some questions about the suitability of the original foot controller. It’s impossible to determine if the controller will work properly before it is restored, so that is the next step. I have my suspicion that it isn’t the original controller. because this style was typically found on model 66’s, but there is nothing wrong with the style.

The foot controller was disassembled, cleaned and calibrated.

Unfortunately, it proved to have poor speed control and is unsuitable for Lola. It has good slow speed control, but at about 3/4 speed, it goes wide open.

A Kenmore carbon pile paddle controller was chosen as a replacement. Brand loyalty aside… for a paddle controller, I think Kenmore controllers are a great alternative, they are carbon pile controllers rated at 1.2 amps and provide great speed control. A new dual lead power cord completes the ensemble.

Everything is coming together now. Lola is ready to sew. The customer also asked me to build a custom base for Lola to sit in. She chose a red oak stain, and the rich color accentuates Lola’s deep black color and beautiful gold decals. So, let’s see how Lola looks after her restoration…

Looking at Lola now, it is rewarding for me knowing that she looks great and is restored to as near new condition as I can make her. I know that she will continue to sew reliably for the next succession of generations and will be cherished and appreciated for years to come!

Well, I hope you like what you see and enjoyed the restoration process as much as I did… Lola is a beautiful 201 and runs beautifully as well. Like I always say, some sewing machines need more, some need less, but they all get what they need, and now I can look forward to the next restoration!

Looking for a similarly restored quality vintage all metal sewing machine for your sewing room? Let us know! We specialize in custom orders and are happy to locate and restore the “perfect” machine for you!

As always, if you have any questions, or if I can be of any assistance, please contact me through Etsy or send me an email to Pungoliving@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading!

Lee

Featured

Restoration of a Vintage 1951 Singer Model 201-2… Meet Belle!

Introduction

Meet Belle, she is a Singer model 201-2 and the serial number AK553646 identifies her as a centennial machine commissioned for manufacture on July 26, 1951. What is a centennial machine? Singer began manufacturing sewing machines in 1851. They celebrated their 100th anniversary in 1951 and in commemoration of the event they changed the usual brass color Singer badge with a commemorative badge that had a blue border and the anniversary dates embossed in the badge. This badge was an instant success for Singer. They could not keep up with demand for centennial machines, and believe it or not, they scoured their factories for unsold and old stock machines made prior to 1951 and replaced their badges with the centennial badge. I have seen machines dated as early as 1948 with centennial badges! Well, Belle is a true centennial machine and proudly displays her badge.

Another thing I learned from Belle, was a bit about her past use. Machines like Belle don’t give up their secrets easily. The excellent cosmetic condition suggests slight use, but the disassembly gave me clues that this is not the case. The chrome plating worn away on the needle throat plate is a symptom of use. When inspecting the parts during cleaning I noticed that plating was missing in between some of the rotating parts. I know that Belle was well maintained and oiled regularly, so what happened to the plating? My guess is Belle was used often and for a long time. I would wager that this 201 has sewn 100 miles of stitches in her lifetime. The amazing thing is that despite a whole lot of use, after restoration the machine is smooth and tight and quiet as a kitten. Vintage machines like this 201 are made to last. Obviously, Isaac Singer had never heard the phrase “planned obsolescence” and he built machines to last seemingly forever. Manufactured using cast iron and precision ground and turned tempered steel there was not much to wear out. In assemblies where wear was a concern, Singer built in a way to adjust it out. Even the screws are tempered steel! These vintage sewing machines were made to last decades, and many machines well over 100 years old still look and sew great. In fact, the more these machines are used (not abused) the better they sew. A drop of oil at each oiling location and simple cleaning is all these machines require.

Anyway, Belle’s owner told me that Belle “needed a little love”. Well, that (and this restoration) will reward her with a machine that will please her for years to come.

Restoration Plan

Belle is getting a mechanical restoration. The owner told me that Belle was her go-to machine and has sewn hundreds of face masks for the Covid pandemic and is used above the other machines she owns. She has had Belle for about five years and noticed some performance symptoms using her. She described her concerns as being old and cracked wiring (very typical for these machines), some stiffness, and perhaps some issues with the bobbin race assembly. When Belle arrived, I turned the balance wheel by hand and besides some stiffness, noticed a binding at the top of the needle bar stroke. The machine had evidence of regular oiling and was relatively lint free. There is a considerable amount of old oil varnish that when cleaned will restore the smoothness the machine currently lacks. The machine will undergo the disassembly of all of the rotating assemblies except for the gears and the upper arm shaft. All of the parts removed will be ultrasonically cleaned, heated in oil to drive off moisture, and then cleaned with a wire wheel until they are bright clean steel. Cosmetically, the decals are in great condition and the black paint is also in great condition. There is some ground in dirt, but it will clean beautifully. It’s really the kind of machine you look for… it has a beautiful cosmetic condition and after a restoration it will sew as close to new as possible.

Here is the machine before the restoration begins.

Let’s get started! Normally, I don’t run a machine until after the restoration is complete. Because the motor’s main wires are almost always cracked or bare of insulation, I worry about creating a short and damaging the motor. But in this case, I knew the machine was being used regularly. By running the machine, I isolated the binding to the motor. I checked the speed of the motor, and it was running at 630 stitches per minute. This is far below the 1100 stitches per minute the machine is capable of and allowing for age, the 980 to 1050 stitches per minute I expect after a restoration. The other concern with the motor was a lack of power. These symptoms can be caused by one or two things. Either the motor is soaked with oil that has contaminated the motor brushes and coated the motor commutator and motor windings with oil, or there is a short in one of the motor windings. If it is caused by oil contamination, it can be cleaned and restore nicely, if it is a short, the motor has to be replaced. Not knowing which, I decided to start with the motor restoration. If it does not improve, I have the opportunity to find a replacement without delaying the restoration.

Mechanical Restoration

To see if I have a good motor to work with, I am starting this restoration with the motor. It is disassembled and cleaned.

Aside from a lot of oil contamination, one of the armature bushings was loose… this was likely responsible for the binding. In addition, a thin flat washer intended to keep lubricant from entering the motor case was missing. Everything inside the motor case is oil saturated, including the armature windings. This is not a good sign, but it can be cleaned. As long as a wire has not shorted, the motor should run fine. Assuming the best, the motor restoration is completed with new wires and clean components.

The motor is put back on the machine to see if there is any improvement… The speed has increased to 690 stitches per minute but unfortunately it is still lacking power. The solution for Belle is a replacement motor. Always being one to look on the bright side, I now have a fully restored motor… too bad it isn’t any good. At least I know how to proceed and when the replacement motor arrives, I’ll repeat the motor restoration. In the meantime, the restoration continues, and the machine is disassembled.

Tip of the Day…

201’s are gear driven machines and they have specific lubrication requirements. Contrary to what many folks think, the gears are lubricated with oil, not grease. On the other hand, Singer potted motors are lubricated with grease. Never use oil to lubricate the motor! Oil is detrimental to the motor windings and damage can occur… on with the disassembly.

The parts are laid out for cleaning.

There is a lot of old oil varnish here, and after cleaning the parts are heated in oil to drive out any water remaining and then each part is wire brushed to bright steel.

The presser foot bar, needle bar, and bobbin hook shaft are polished.

The customer had some concern over the bobbin area of the machine and asked me to check it closely. The bobbin hook shaft rotates at high speed and here the oil varnish can create enough drag to be noticeable. Because these parts move in tight tolerance bores, the bores are cleaned with a brass bristle brush.

The gears are cleaned and lubricated.

Now is a good time to attend to some details. These include the bobbin case and the bobbin hook race. The bobbin hook race has hidden areas that build up lint. As a precaution, it is disassembled and cleaned.

It turns out the bobbin case tension spring on the bobbin case is broken. I replaced it with a spring I found among my “spare” parts. A broken tension spring can cause big problems in stitch quality, and I expect this will make a huge difference in the consistency of the bobbin thread tension.

As you might expect, things like the bobbin hook and bobbin case engage the thread and must be smooth as glass. For the smoothest finish, they are tumble polished.

Besides these, there are a number of other small parts that are easily polished in a tumble polisher. These include the bobbin case, the hook race, and a bunch of other small shiny parts. They were going to get polished anyway…

Next comes the restoration of the balance wheel. The textolite gear on the balance wheel has a shock absorbing mechanism behind it. Sometimes it gets frozen with old grease and doesn’t function properly. It is disassembled, cleaned, and re-greased.

The replacement motor was delivered, so it gets restored next. Same steps as before but with much better results!

The motor is run for about 5 minutes to break in, and it makes good power and speed.

Next, the upper tension assembly is disassembled and cleaned.

The tension discs have a bit of oil contamination, and the tension stud has picked up some stuck-on lint. Because these parts are directly in the thread path, they must be smooth. They are polished to a smooth shiny finish and reassembled. This will assure consistent thread tension.

Finally, the last component to be restored is the bobbin winder. The bobbin winder is disassembled and the bobbin winder tire is replaced.

Great! That’s everything that needs to be disassembled and cleaned before reassembly and adjusting. The next step is cleaning and detailing.

One very unusual thing about Belle is an almost complete absence of paint chips. All sewing machines of this vintage have them. They commonly show up on the leading edge of the bed but are often found on the arm shaft and pillar. Try as I might, I only found one paint chip on the arm, and very few small chips on the edge of the bed. Still, these are corrected with color matched shellac-based paint.

With this done, the machine is ready for reassembly. But there is still work to be done. Belle needs to be cleaned and polished. This step will bring out Belle’s beautiful original finish. She looked good when she arrived, but deep cleaning and glaze polishing removes any “dull” areas caused by oil and dirt, and it brings out the beautiful gold tone of her gold decals.

To finish up, all of the chrome plated pieces are polished, and the machine is reassembled.

After reassembly, I noticed there was still a slight drag in the machine when turning it by hand. As before, it showed itself at the top of the stroke. Turning past it, the machine feels smooth. The drag is not much, but this is not typical for 201’s and it is not acceptable for Belle. Most likely, the drag is caused by a spot of old oil varnish that has formed in either the front or rear arm shaft bushing. The solution? Belle needs to go on the sewing machine treadmill.

The treadmill is a box the machine fits into, and the machine is attached via a belt to an external electric motor. Rather than rely on the sewing machine motor, I can run the machine at a high rate of speed for 10 minutes or so without concern. This runs all of the sewing assemblies and its perfect for running in and smoothing out any stiffness in the sewing mechanism, it also allows for making all of the final adjustments because the parts all seat together. The cause of the drag was in the front arm shaft bushing and as expected, Tri-Flow oil and the warmth generated by running the machine dissolved the oil varnish. The drag is gone, and the machine has the smooth feel it is expected to have… way to go Belle!

Now the motor and balance wheel are installed and the power plug is wired and reattached to the machine. Because the customer requested a different controller than the Singer “button controller” the machine came with, a new dual lead power cord is wired to a suitable vintage carbon pile paddle style foot controller.

The machine is ready to test sew and make all of the final adjustments. These include the presser foot height, hook timing, needle depth, feed dog clearance (side to side and front to back), and initial tension adjustments for the bobbin and upper tension assemblies. In doing this, I noticed two things that needed a little final paint touchup. Nothing significant, but the armature end cap and the light switch ring needed to be touched up. While this serves no purpose other than appearance, they are details, and details matter. Belle is now ready for final adjustments.

Final tension adjustments are made by sewing to get a good balanced stitch. two layers of cotton fabric is used with a new Singer size 12 universal needle. The following shows the stitch formed thru two layers and then folded to eight layers of fabric. The machine handles it with ease.

Just as I expect from a 201, Belle sews quietly and smoothly. The speed control is good and the new motor has plenty of power to run the machine at right around 1015 stitches per minute… not bad for a 71-year-old machine!

Thats it! the restoration is complete and now Belle is ready to continue sewing for years to come.

Here is Belle after her restoration…

Well, I hope you like what you see and enjoyed the restoration process as much as I did… Belle’s before and after performance is like night and day. She is a beautiful 201 and runs beautifully as well. Like I always say, some sewing machines need more, some need less, but they all get what they need, and now I can look forward to the next restoration!

Looking for a similarly restored quality vintage all metal sewing machine for your sewing room? Let us know! We specialize in custom orders and are happy to locate and restore the “perfect” machine for you!

As always, if you have any questions, or if I can be of any assistance, please contact me through Etsy or send me an email to Pungoliving@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading!

Lee

Featured

Restoration of an Antique 1918 Singer Model 28K Sewing Machine

Introduction

Recently, a customer contacted me to help her find a Singer model 28 with a hand crank (Singer called it a hand drive). She wanted a vibrating shuttle machine and was looking at a few model 28’s on the Shopgoodwill auction site. She asked me for my impression on the machines she was looking at. I told her I would be happy to find her a suitable machine and her criteria was simple. She was not particular about the cosmetic condition of the machine, but she was not fond of a lot of color in the decals. It had to be a vibrating shuttle machine, and she wanted it hand driven. Her plan was to purchase the machine and have it delivered to me for a restoration. All of the candidates on her list were either in quite worn condition, too colorful, and for auction prices, quite expensive. After looking at the machines on her list, and looking for a suitable machine, it occurred to me that I had a model 28 that I purchased several years ago that would suit her quite well! I purchased the machine based on the condition of the finish and the decals and my plan was to do a restoration and list it in my shop… well, I never got around to it, and it quite frankly it faded from my memory. Anyway, the machine is adorned with the “Victorian” dual tone gold decals that was just what she was looking for. The bonus was the condition of the original finish and decals. Even before the restoration, it is a beautiful machine. While not perfect, for an age of 104 years, the condition of the machine is quite good. This restoration is a custom order for her, and I look forward to her using the machine and adding it to her collection.

There is something special about the Singer model 28 that just makes it a joy to use. The model 28 uses a vibrating shuttle and when driven with a hand crank, it makes a distinctive “clicking” sound as the needle bar moves up and down. Also distinctive is the slight jog the needle bar makes as it reaches the bottom of its stroke… it’s kind of like it can’t decide if it should go up and down, and finally decides to go up. Another thing that is undeniable about all vibrating shuttle machines is that they make a very nice lockstitch.

Very similar in body style and size of the model 99, the model 28 arrived on the scene in 1890, while the model 99 first appeared in 1923. The model 99 uses a scaled down version of the model 66 drop in bobbin, while the model 28 uses a scaled down version of the model 27 vibrating shuttle. Both are excellent machines, but the model 28 was offered with a variety of decals the model 99 never saw. The 99 came with simple (but nice) gold decals on the bed with “SINGER” emblazoned in gold on the arm shaft, the model 28 came with a variety of decals, some very colorful such as the “La Vencedora”, “Tiffany” and “Ottoman Carnations” decals. Some were very ornate such as the “Scrolls and Roses” and “Cloured Roses and Daisies” decals. Some were painted, such as the “Pink and White Roses”, and there are a variety of dual tone gold decals such as the “Victorian” decals found on this machine…and there are others! So many in fact, that I am on a constant lookout for model 28 machines with the less commonly found decal sets.

Regardless of the decal set or how worn it may look, the model 28 is a solid machine with a fairly simple sewing mechanism, and everything about it just works…

So, what is this machine all about? Well, it is sort of a mystery as to the serial number. The original serial number has been overstruck with several numbers stamped over others. It has (what I believe) is a “G” prefix, and one of the number combinations I made from the numbers fit a model 28 machine dated to April 17, 1918. The other possibility is that the machine has a “C” prefix. If this is the case, it was made in Germany, and when the Russian army entered Germany in 1945 the Singer factory was stripped of all equipment and machinery. There are no surviving serial number records for any machines with the “C” prefix. Because I don’t know if the model 28 was ever manufactured in Germany, I doubt it was made there. I’m going with the “G” prefix. but it does not differentiate between a model 28 made in the USA, or a 28K made in Scotland. There are clues to further help identify it. The faceplate design on the machine (vine + 2 corner dots) was used on the 28K. Based on this, I’m going with calling it a model 28K. Does it make a difference? Not really, they are the mechanically and cosmetically the same machine, but I do think pedigree and provenance is important.

Restoration Plan

One great thing about this machine is the condition of the decals. While there is some minimal wear, the machine presents itself very nicely. The areas where there is decal wear are not such that it is apparent or noticed except by looking for it. While there are flaws, a machine with decals in this condition are much harder to find. The paint is in really good condition too. There is a slight glazing in the bed of the machine, but the paint is a nice deep black color. The plated pieces are in quite good condition with virtually no pitting or rust.

All in all, this is a great candidate for a restoration. As it sits, the machine is exceptionally smooth in operation. The sewing mechanism is silky smooth. There is a considerable amount of old oil varnish coating the parts and this will be removed. To address this, all of the assemblies in the machine will be disassembled and cleaned. I have decided not to remove the upper arm shaft because I don’t think it is necessary. To do so requires driving a pin out of the balance wheel bushing, and because this machine is so smooth, I just can’t justify driving this pin out with a punch and a hammer. Consequently, all moving parts here will be cleaned in place. All of the plated pieces will be polished, and the body of the machine will be deep cleaned to reveal the depth of the dual gold color decals, and then it will be glaze polished to a beautiful deep black shine. The machine does not have a hand crank. Because vintage Singer hand cranks are so ridiculously expensive and scarce, and new Taiwanese hand cranks so inexpensive and plentiful, I am fitting the machine with the Taiwanese brand. They are not as solid as their vintage counterparts, (this can pretty much be said comparing anything vintage to what is sold new today) but they work just fine. So, lets get started!

These pictures are taken before the restoration begins.

The Mechanical Restoration

The mechanical restoration begins with disassembly. All of the parts, with exception of the top sewing arm shaft and feed dog driver fork are removed.

All of the parts removed are laid out for cleaning.

As you can see in the pictures, there is a lot of old oil varnish in and on the parts. They are ultrasonically cleaned, heated in oil to drive off moisture, and then wire brushed to clean steel.

All of the corresponding bores these parts moved thru are cleaned bit round brass bristle brushes.

The needle bar and presser foot bar are polished smooth as glass.

Next, the arm shaft assembly is cleaned in place.

Then the plated parts are polished.

The top tension control and bobbin shuttle are next. These parts get polished anyway, so it saves me an extra trip to the polisher. While I’m at it, it is also an opportunity to polish all of the knobs, Presser foot lifter, take up arm, and all of the other little plated bits and pieces found on the machine.

The top tension control is disassembled and cleaned. The individual parts of this style of tensioner have plated parts meant to shine, so, except for the springs everything is polished.

A very important part of the restoration is to clean and polish the bobbin shuttle. It is the heart of the sewing mechanism, and it must be as clean and smooth as possible.

The next step in the restoration is the bobbin winder mechanism. Because it is a separate assembly, I usually save the bobbin winder for the end. Here the bobbin winder is disassembled, cleaned, and polished. Singer went to great pains with their bobbin winders, and they made them shine. They add a lot to the overall look of the machine… You’ll see what I mean in the final restoration pictures.

The stop motion knob on the machine is not original to the machine… at least not this machine. I opted to replace it with a proper stop motion knob.

The only thing remaining is to reassemble the machine and make all of the adjustment. Now the mechanical cleaning is complete, the cosmetic portion of the restoration begins.

Cosmetic Restoration

The cosmetic restoration starts with deep cleaning. The object is to make an already good condition as good as it can be.

The machine is cleaned with great attention to the decals.

Although it isn’t really noticeable, there are a few nicks in the paint on the edge of the bed. These are simple to fix and it makes a difference in the overall look of the machine. These nicks are paint matched using custom mixed black shellac paint.

Finally, the machine is glaze polished.

Now the machine is reassembled and adjusted.

The needle bar height, shuttle clearance, shuttle timing, and the top and bottom thread tensions are set and the machine is test sewn.

A light coat of sewing machine oil is applied to the body of the machine. From now on, a light coat of SMO is the only cleaning the machine will need to keep the finish looking great. It nourishes the original finish and keeps the decals and paint looking great.

Finally, the restoration is complete! This machine has met all of my expectations and given proper oiling and cleaning, it should last for at least the next few hundred years (give or take a century). I hope my customer enjoys using it as much as I enjoyed restoring it!

Here is the machine after the restoration.

Well, I hope you like what you see and enjoyed the restoration process as much as I did… Like I always say, some sewing machines need more, some need less, but they all get what they need and now I can look forward to the next restoration!

Looking for a similarly restored quality vintage all metal sewing machine for your sewing room? Let us know! We specialize in custom orders and are happy to locate and restore the “perfect” machine for you!

As always, if you have any questions, or if I can be of any assistance, please contact me through Etsy or send me an email to Pungoliving@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading!

Lee

Featured

A Tutorial – Cleaning the Bobbin Shuttle from a Singer Vibrating Shuttle Machine

If you have a Singer vibrating shuttle machine such as the model 27/127 or 28/128, this is some preventative maintenance that you probably need. Because the steps are the same, this applies to all vibrating shuttle machine for any manufacture. It’s really easy to do and it will assure that the bobbin tension is smooth and consistent.

This is a shuttle from an antique Singer model 28. From the outside, it looks pretty good.

The small screw at the nose of the shuttle adjusts the bobbin thread tension and attaches the flat spring to the body of the shuttle. Simply remove this screw and detach the flat spring from the body of the shuttle.

Very often, you will find some crud under the spring and inside of the shuttle. Maybe not this much, but remember, anything that obstructs the smooth passage of the bobbin thread will cause tension problems.

Remove all of the debris and if you can, polish the shuttle. Just be sure the surface is as smooth as it can be. Once clean, reassemble it, insert a bobbin and pull the thread up under the flat spring. Adjust the tension screw until the thread has a slight resistance pulling it from the bobbin. This will get you in the ballpark tension wise, and for a good balanced stitch, the final tension adjustment can easily be made while in the machine.

You will find the bobbin tension is more consistent and it is much easier to adjust for a balanced stitch.

Thats it!

As always, our tutorials are provided as a free resource to help you learn and maintain your vintage sewing machine. As our site has grown, so has the cost to keep and maintain it. Despite this cost, I will strive to continue posting tutorials and other relevant content for the benefit of the sewing community. If you found the content of this tutorial useful, please consider making a small donation to help me maintain the site and help defray my costs… every little bit helps.

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Please let me know if I can answer any questions or if I can be of any assistance by emailing me at pungoliving@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading!

Lee

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Restoration of a 1969 Vintage Kenmore Model 158.1601 Sewing Machine

Introduction

This Kenmore 1601 restoration is a custom order for a mechanical restoration and it’s a great opportunity to return a premium quality Kenmore to its peak performance. This particular machine is a model 158.16010 which dates it to 1969. Kenmore’s made prior to 1974 are of all metal construction and 1969/70 production dates are particularly good years for the 1601. All of the parts on this machine are made of metal, including the body, panels, covers, and control knobs. The machine has a solid build and feel, but it is not as heavy as it looks. The body and bed casting are made from aluminum. This gives the machine has good heft and a good balance. It is not too heavy to handle in a cabinet, and it is not so light that vibration is noticeable.

Cosmetically, the model 1601 is identical to the Kenmore model 1802. Except for the background pattern on the control knobs, you can’t tell them apart. Mechanically, they are very similar. The internal structure of the arm shaft section is slightly different, but the mechanisms work the same. Both use class 15 bobbins and standard 15×1 sewing needles. They both use a vertical oscillating hook driven by a double reduction belt pulley coupled to a powerful 1.2-amp motor. Both machines are cam compatible and with a selection of 30+ available pattern cams, allow the machine to sew a broad range of utility, stretch, and decorative stitches. Both machines share Kenmore’s proprietary super-high shank presser foot design, and the presser foot has a “hyper lift” extension to provide a very generous clearance under the presser foot. The only significant difference I can tell between the 1601 and the 1802 is that the 1601 is a center needle homing machine. Compared to the 1802, I think this gives the 1601 an edge for quilting where a 1/4″ seam allowance is desired.

When it comes to this particular machine, the differences and similarities are not important. What is important is the machine’s history. This 1601 is a one owner machine that was purchased by the customer after graduating college and she has used it ever since. The machine has been serviced a few times over the years, and it is clear from its condition that it has been well maintained. The machine is clean of lint and shows signs that it has been properly lubricated.

Cosmetically, the machine is in excellent condition. Except for a few paint chips that are too few to mention, the finish looks almost new. So why the restoration? Well, the customer is experiencing a few problems with the machine and told me that it sometimes pulls the cloth into the throat plate. The other issue with the machine is that it struggles with sewing thick fabrics. Considering the build quality of the machine and its sentimental value, she felt it could not be replaced with a comparable new machine. Setting the sentimental value aside, I must agree that replacing this machine with a new machine of similar construction and build quality would be hard to find and very expensive. Anyway, the purpose of this restoration is to return the machine to its full potential and sew at its peak performance. Any issues she was experiencing with the machine will be corrected in the restoration

The Restoration Plan

The plan for this machine is to disassemble and clean all of the sewing mechanisms that turn, slide, or rotate on another part. This includes all of the mechanisms in the needle bar section of the machine, the feed dogs, the bobbin race cover, and the connecting rod. Other parts will be disassembled and cleaned one by one. Kenmore’s use fairly complex assemblies under the machine bed and disassembly/reassembly would prove to be very difficult without losing critical adjustments that would be difficult to restore. There is not much to gain but much to lose. Disassembling parts one by one allows them to be cleaned and reassembled without losing these adjustments. Similarly, the mechanisms in the sewing machine arm are connected by a myriad of linkages and springs. Linkages can easily be cleaned in place. Once done, the machine will run as smooth as silk and after adjustments will make a variety of beautiful stitches. The motor will be disassembled and restored, and the tension assemblies will be disassembled and cleaned. There are many steps to do, but each one is intended to bring the machine closer to near new condition.

Getting started, these are pictures of the machine before the restoration begins.

As the pictures show, the machine looks to be in very good condition. There is some old oil varnish that needs to be removed and a few adjustments to be made.

The Mechanical Restoration

The mechanical restoration begins with disassembly.

The parts are laid out for cleaning.

Each of the parts removed are ultrasonically cleaned, heated in oil to drive off moisture, and then wire brushed to bright metal.

Taking it a bit further, the presser foot bar, the needle bar, and the connecting rod are polished. These parts must be as smooth as possible.

The parts that are disassembled in place are removed, cleaned, and reinstalled one at a time.

Traces of old oil varnish is removed from all of the mechanisms and all points of contact are lubricated.

The gear case is opened, the old, hardened grease is removed, and new grease is added.

The next step is the restoration of the motor. It is disassembled and cleaned, and the armature shafts and commutator is polished.

Not surprisingly, the motor runs smooth and strong.

The top tension assembly is disassembled and cleaned. The tension discs are polished.

The bobbin tension flat spring is removed, and the tension surface and spring is polished… even a slight bit of dirt here can create bobbin thread tension problems.

Next, the bobbin winder is removed and cleaned, then it is adjusted to wind a full bobbin.

The final step is too clean and polish the body of the machine. Once it is done, the machine is reassembled and adjusted. The machine is run thru all of its built-in stitches to ensure each is sewing properly. The fabric I used is upholstery weight denim, the needle I chose is a size 16 needle.

Next, a pattern disc was chosen to make sure the cam assembly was operating properly. I used 2 layers of cotton fabric to make sure the machine wasn’t pulling the fabric into the throat plate. The fabric fed reliably and there was no issue with feed… going forward or reverse.

One of the issues this machine had was sewing thru heavy fabrics. Kenmore’s combination of high amperage motors and double reduction pulley system produces impressive piercing power. This machine is expected to pierce heavyweight and multiple layers of fabric without a struggle. To demonstrate this, the denim fabric is folded to eight layers (full depth of presser foot without extension) and the needle is set against the fabric. This is the best test for piercing power since the machine must start with the needle piercing the fabric from a dead stop… Here, the machine pierced and sewed a seam in the fabric at slow speed with no hesitation… and the stitch quality is excellent.

With the mechanical restoration complete, the machine runs and sews as I expected it would. The machine runs smoothly and quietly. It has plenty of power, and the stitch formation is excellent. Overall, I think that the customer will appreciate the difference in her machine and continue to enjoy using it for many more years to come.

Here is the machine after the restoration is complete… I will say that it looked great before and it looks great now, but the real difference is the one you can feel. Unfortunately, I can’t show that in pictures!

Well, I hope you enjoyed the restoration process! It is satisfying to me knowing that a durable high quality sewing machine made 53 years ago can run as smoothly and reliably today as it did then. Not only that, I have every reason to expect that with proper oiling and maintenance this machine will run reliably for many more years to come.

Looking for a similarly restored quality vintage all metal sewing machine for your sewing room? Let us know! We specialize in custom orders and are happy to locate and restore the “perfect” machine for you!

As always, If you have any questions, or if I can be of any assistance to you, please contact me through Etsy or send me an email to Pungoliving@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading!

Lee

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Restoration of a Vintage 1940 Singer Model 201-2

Introduction

Another Singer model 201-2 restoration challenge! This is a private restoration and it like, so many vintage sewing machines, has a special story. This Singer model 201 is a family heirloom. It belonged to the customer’s mother and was undoubtedly used for many years before it was passed down to her.

This machine was one of 10,000 commissioned for manufacture on February 27, 1940. It is what I call a “shiny bits” machine. 201’s made prior to 1942 had more nickel-plated parts and ornamentation than later machines. For example, the rim of the balance wheel is nickel plated and there are other small bits and pieces that were nickel-plated as well. There is no difference in the manufacturing quality between any 201 made before or after… they are all high-quality precision machines; it’s just that these earlier 201’s have a little more “bling”.

Restoration Plan

This machine is scheduled for a mechanical restoration. The machine is relatively stiff to turn by hand and there is little evidence of oil in any of the mechanisms. There is a reasonable amount of lint in the bobbin compartment but otherwise, the machine is relatively clean. I have not attempted to run the machine because the wires leading to the motor are severely deteriorated. There is a significant amount of oil varnish on all of the sewing assemblies and there is no doubt that this is contributing to the stiffness. The mechanical restoration will include disassembling all of the sewing mechanisms up to the gears. With the exception of the gear that runs the bobbin hook race, all of the gears will be cleaned in place., The motor, balance wheel, bobbin case, and top tension assembly will be disassembled and completely restored. All of the nickel-plated pieces, along with the needle bar, presser foot bar, and connecting rod journal will be polished. The body of the machine will be deep cleaned, and minor paint chips will be fixed using a custom mixed color matched paint. All of the disassembled parts will be ultrasonically cleaned and then tumble polished and wire brushed. Before reassembly, all of the parts will be restored to like new condition. The sewing assemblies not disassembled, including the gears, will be cleaned in place. After reassembly, the machine will be lubricated, adjusted, and run to ensure that it makes a good balanced stitch.

Mechanical Restoration

The mechanical restoration begins with the disassembly of all of the parts in the sewing assembly. Starting in the needle bar head, everything is removed.

Next the feed dogs, bobbin case, bobbin race, and other parts in the bobbin area are removed.

Working under the bed of the machine the rocker arms, the bobbin hook shaft gear. connecting rod, and the stitch length fork is removed. The gears and gear shaft are cleaned and oiled.

The gears in the arm shaft, along with the bearing lobes for the connecting rod and stitch length fork are cleaned in place.

All of the parts removed are laid out for cleaning.

There is a considerable amount of old oil varnish and no sign of any oil. This explains why the machine was so stiff to turn. Similarly, oiling the gear shafts and the top sewing arm shaft made a huge difference… it turns very smoothly. I have no doubt that after assembly, everything will feel smooth as silk.

These parts are ultrasonically cleaned and then they are tumble polished. Following the polishing, each part is wire brushed to ensure they are clean and bright steel.

This rocker arm has a roller. Oftentimes, it is frozen and won’t turn. It is freed up and oiled to spin smoothly.

The bobbin shaft runs at high speed and is typically coated with oil varnish. This one looks pretty good. Still, it is polished and the gear is cleaned.

The bobbin shaft bore is cleaned with a brass bore brush.

The bobbin hook race is an assembly and cleaning requires disassembly. There is always dirt to find behind anything that has plates or covers.

All of these surfaces are cleaned and polished. Similarly, the bobbin case has a flat spring that is responsible for bobbin thread tension. It too is disassembled, cleaned and polished.

The needle bar and the presser foot bar is cleaned and polished.

The most challenging part of a 201 mechanical restoration is the motor. The “potted” motors on these machines are gear drive motors and they have proven themselves to be very durable. The Achilles heel of these motors is the main power wires. The insulation gets hard and cracks, flaking away and exposing the wires. This motor is no exception. The wires are deteriorated all of the way to the field coil. This is a particular concern, and I will need to take extra precautions in replacing the wires.

Unfortunately, the bobbin wonder broke off of the motor housing in shipping. I was fortunate to find a new motor housing on Ebay. The motor is disassembled, the armature is removed, the field coil is de-soldered from the brushes, the brush tubes are removed.

The power wires are replaced. because the wires are cracked all of the way to the field coil, solder couplings are used.

Heat shrink tubing is used over the solder joints.

because the wires are bare where they enter the field coil, several coats of liquid wire insulation is used to coat the bare wire and to reinforce the wires.

At this stage, I don’t know if there is a short in the field coil that cannot be repaired, and I won’t know until the motor is completely restored and tested… so it is on to the rest.

The armature is cleaned, and the motor shafts are polished.

The brush tubes, wicks, motor housing, spiral gear along with the caps and screws are cleaned.

The brushes are worn to the point of replacement. New brushes are installed.

The wicks are cleaned and recharged with lubricant.

The field coil wires are resoldered to the brush tubes and the motor is reassembled.

Now, I can find out if the motor will run! Actually, the motor runs great, and to make sure all is well, it is run-in for about 10 minutes.

The next step is to restore the balance wheel. The balance wheel is designed with a shock absorbing assembly built in and it is an easy, but often forgotten

. The balance wheel is disassembled, the parts are cleaned, regreased, and reassembled.

Next, the top tension assembly is disassembled, cleaned, and reassembled. Because it is directly in the thread path, it is subject to collecting dirt and debris. This one is no exception, so the tension shaft is cleaned and then polished for smoothness.

The last part to be disassembled and cleaned is the bobbin winder assembly.

All of the mechanical parts are ready for reassembly. Next the machine is deep cleaned to get the best cosmetic condition possible. The machine is then glaze polished to brings out the best appearance the paint has to offer. From here on, a light coat of sewing machine oil is all that is needed to keep the finish nourished and looking its best.

Often, machines of this vintage have an abundance of paint chips on the bed. This machine has suprisingly few. Each is repaired with color matched paint.

Now that the cosmetic work is done, the only remaining task is to reassemble and adjust the machine. The hook timing, needle depth, feed dog clearance, and the presser foot bar height is set. The bobbin winder is adjusted to wind a tight bobbin, and the bobbin and top tension controls are adjusted for a straight tight lockstitch. Finally, after all of the adjustments are made and the machine is sewing as it should, the restoration is complete!

The real question should always be “how does it sew” well, it sews exactly like a 201 should sew!

This is heavy denim fabric and the machine is using a size 14 needle. For those wondering how thick the fabric can be under the presser foot bar… well, its at least 8 layers!

So, the restoration is complete and for this machine it was a transformation. The machine gooks great and sews great! As usual, it is best shown in the before and after pictures… but only the customer and I will know the difference in smoothness.

Before…

After…

 I hope you like what you see and enjoyed the restoration process as much as I did… this 201-2 looks and sews great!

As always, if you have any questions, or if I can be of any assistance, please contact me through Etsy or send me an email to Pungoliving@gmail.com.

Thanks for reading!

Lee

Featured

Restoration of a Vintage “Centennial” Singer Model 201-2

Introduction

The serial number of this machine is AK210841 and Ismacs dates it to 1951. It was one of 25,000 201’s commissioned for manufacture on February 20, 1951. The blue badge marks that it is a “Centennial” machine. Celebrating Singer’s 100th anniversary, machines were produced with a blue centennial badge. There is an interesting part to the story… there was such a demand for the centennial badged machines that Singer grabbed older surplus inventory and gave them a blue badge! I had a 201 with a centennial badge that was made in 1948! I have seen centennial badged machines produced in 1948!

Being a 1951 machine, this 201 is a true centennial machine. As for the 201, I can’t add to anything already said about the machine. It is regarded as the finest machine Singer ever manufactured. So good in fact, that it defined a new “professional” class of sewing machines. It is not an industrial or commercial grade machine, and it is not a domestic machine. Designed for tailors and seamstresses, it was intended to sew reliably for long stretches on various weights of fabric.

According to the customer, her son bought this Singer 201 in a cabinet at an estate sale. The machine appeared to be working, but as she checked it over she told me that it looked like it had been badly mistreated. She was concerned that some of the bobbin parts may have been damaged, and she wanted to know if it was possible to restore the machine.

Truth be told, I am excited to have the opportunity to do so! I truly enjoy restorations on these fine Singer vintage sewing machines. Why? well, they are so well built that they are a pleasure to disassemble and clean, and I know the outcome will result in a machine that will sew as close to new as possible… I would dare to say it will sew like new, but unfortunately, I wasn’t around when this machine was new. For this 201 mechanical restoration at least, that is my minimum expectation! Even before I remove a single screw, turning the balance wheel tells me that the machine is smooth, and as hard as it is to imagine now, I know it will be appreciably smoother when the restoration is done. I have not run the machine, but I also know that as long as the motor runs, it will be quiet and almost vibration free while making a great stitch for any sewing project.

Restoration Plan

The mechanical restoration will include disassembly of all of the parts found in the sewing mechanisms to the greatest extent possible. For a 201 restoration, this will include everything up to the gears with one exception. The gears on a 201 should not be disturbed. They are balanced in sets and tooth matched for smoothness. Everything else in the machine is fair game. All of the parts disassembled will be ultrasonically cleaned, heated in oil to remove any moisture, wire brushed, and some critical parts will be polished. The gears will be cleaned in place. The motor will be disassembled, the armature and motor shafts will be polished, new main power leads will be installed, and the grease wicks cleaned and relubricated. The balance wheel and bobbin winder assembly will be disassembled and restored. All of the plated parts will be buffed and polished. The foot controller will be cleaned, and new foot controller wires and main power cord will be provided.

This machine is going to have an original finish cosmetic restoration to preserve the original paint and decals. In addition to the mechanical restoration, it will be deep cleaned I will make judicious decal repairs with color matched gold paint. The typical paint chips will be repaired with paint matched black paint. The machine will be top coated with shellac followed by hand rubbing and polishing to a smooth and rejuvenated finish. Following the cosmetic restoration, everything will be reassembled and adjusted for the best performance possible.

The goal of this restoration is to attend to every detail possible and to obtain the best cosmetic condition possible. One thing I have learned in sewing machine restoration is that some machines need more, some less, but all of them get what they need.

The Restoration

Typical of all restorations, the outcome of the original cosmetic restoration can be judged by before and after pictures. The outcome of the mechanical restoration requires a leap of faith. The before and after condition of the parts and motor can be seen in pictures, but not felt. Still, it is easy enough to imagine the improvement imparted in the process.

This is the machine in its original condition:

As you can see, the shellac on the bed is worn and there is some slight silvering of the decals. Overall, the decal condition is fair. There are some breaks in the decals lines that will be repaired. Deep cleaning will improve the existing finish on the machine, but the new topcoat will blend in the original shellac and restore the original deep black color of the original paint. Moving on, the first step is the mechanical restoration.

Mechanical Restoration

The mechanical restoration begins with removing all of the parts and assemblies in the sewing machine head.

One end of the thread take-up assembly is pinned by the shaft shown in the above picture. It is secured by a small set screw in the body of the machine. On this machine, the set screw was frozen and refused to budge. Despite all attempts to loosen it, it refused to budge. Rather than damage the shaft or linkage trying to remove it, this part will remain in the machine. The cardinal rule in any sewing machine restoration is “do no harm”. If attempting to remove a part ends up damaging it, the repair it harder than it is to leave it alone. Fortunately, this part has minimal rotation in the assembly, and it is easy to clean it in place.

Next, the parts in the bobbin area and underneath the sewing machine bed are removed.

The feed dog rocker assemblies, the stitch length fork, and the connecting rod, along with the stitch length fork guide is removed. These and all of the parts disassembled are laid out for ultrasonic cleaning

The parts show a fair amount of old oil varnish that must be removed. This coating adds friction and inhibits the smoothness the machine is capable of. After ultrasonic cleaning, the parts are heated in oil to remove any moisture from the ultrasonic cleaning, and the parts are wire brushed to complete the cleaning.

Some parts need an additional step and are polished. These include the needle bar, the presser foot bar, the bobbin case shaft and the connecting rod bearing surface. Side by side, you can see the difference.

After cleaning the parts look like this.

In a 201, the rotary hook assembly and bobbin case must be as clean as possible. The rotary hook design is responsible for the stitch quality, and attention to detail is important. There are covers, nooks, and crannies that collect gunk over decades of use that need to be cleaned… starting with the bobbin case.

Then the bobbin hook race…

The bobbin case and bobbin hook race was pretty dirty on this machine. There will certainly be an improvement in the bobbin thread tension and stitch quality.

The one unknown in any 201 restoration is the condition of the motor. Is it good or is it bad? I don’t know because I don’t attempt to run the motor before restoring it. Why? 99% of the time the main power leads are cracked and the condition of the armature and brushes is unknown. The motor is going to be completely disassembled and cleaned, the armature and shafts are going to be polished, the wicks are going to be cleaned, and the brushes are going to be reconditioned. I will know if the motor is good only after it is restored. Due to the quality of these motors, I am confident it will run just fine. If not, it will be a bad motor in extremely good condition! Here is the process shown in pictures.

The restoration process begins with completely cleaning all of the motor bits and pieces.

The old grease and residue from the motor housing is removed.

the armature and shafts are polished.

the brush tubes are cleaned and resoldered to the field coil, and the new power wires are soldered to replace the old wires

The brushes are reconditioned

After cleaniing, the wicks are recharged with grease.

Then, there was a diversion. I have a young but attentive student observing each step of this process. She stopped in to check my progress and offer assistance… her name is Pepper.

Concentrating on the task at hand, the motor is reassembled.

Only now will I know if it runs… and run it does! It is smooth, quiet, and quite powerful. But then, I kinda knew it would.

Next, the balance wheel is disassembled, cleaned, and regreased.

The bobbin winder is disassembled, cleaned, and re-attached to the motor.

The final step in the mechanical restoration before reassembly (which will be after the cosmetic restoration) is the top tension assembly. It is disassembled and cleaned. There is a lot of gunk on the tension shaft and because it is in the thread path, is cleaned and polished.

Cosmetic Restoration

The goal here is to protect the original paint and decals and get the best cosmetic condition I can. This doesn’t mean making it look perfect, but to accentuate its strengths and diminish its weaknesses. For example. There is some slight silvering in the decals. This cannot be reversed, but the slight breaks in the decal pattern can. These will be repaired with paint matched gold paint. The typical paint chips will be repaired with color matched shellac base paint. The old shellac finish is quite rough and there are signs of degradation in the coating that will need to be removed before the new top-coat finish is applied. This will require quite a bit more preparation to accomplish, but the goal is to restore the beautiful black color of the original paint to the machine, and to get a silk-smooth finished surface.

While the process is straight forward, care is taken at every step to preserve and rejuvenate the finish. After all, the purpose of applying a new topcoat is to protect the decals and the paint. The steps taken to prepare the machine for the new finish are unique to each machine. The process is shown in the following pictures.

The original finish of the machine before preparation.

The paint chips are repaired first.

Similar chips are repaired along the bed. Then the decal repairs are made. First, a small quantity of paint with different gold colors is mixed to match the gold decal color of the machine. A piece of clear tape next to the decal provides a test palette. The chosen mix is applied with a fine tip artist brush under magnification.

I don’t try to correct every defect, but I want the machine to look good at a 6″ distance and great at a 12″ distance (my 1-foot rule). It is as important that the machine look consistent over an area. Attempting to correct every small defect is actually more noticeable than not.

Preparation of the bed requires that the bed be sanded with 500 grit paper to smooth out the irregular patches of the shellac, remove degraded shellac, and any other discolored areas that may prevent the new topcoat from bringing out a uniform color in the black paint. It isn’t possible to remove all of the old shellac, but don’t worry, shellac dissolves shellac and the final finish will be uniform in appearance

Next the machine is cleaned, and a thin layer of linseed oil is applied over the body of the machine in preparation for the new shellac topcoat. Now the machine is masked off and sprayed with six coats of new shellac.

The new shellac topcoat is allowed to dry for a minimum of four days before the finish is rubbed out with multiple grits of fine sandpaper and glaze polished. polishing will be done twice… Once now and again after the machine is assembled and adjusted. The first polish brings out the luster and the paint and decals look great the second will remove any handling marks from the reassembly and further smooth the finish.

Now the reassembly and final adjustments are made. The reassembly is pretty straight forward, and the restoration is getting close to the end. The needle depth is set, the hook timing is set, and the feed dog clearance and feed dog stitch length adjustments are made. The machine is run for about 10 minutes to seat all of the parts and afterwards all of the adjustments are checked and readjusted if needed.

The final step is to polish all of the chrome plated pieces and other little shiny bits. the following picture shows the parts to be buff polished.

The polished pictures will be shown on the machine when the restoration is complete. The camera has a hard take taking a picture of a polished part… but before I can show the completed pictures, I need to wire the controller to the machine, run it, and adjust the machine for a balanced stitch.

This machine is getting a new power lead and new foot controller wiring. The foot controller is cleaned, oiled and adjusted and the new wires attached, because this machine is going to be installed in a sewing cabinet, the foot controller is hard wired to the machine.