Saturday, October 27, 2012
My $50 Trick - or - You Learn Something New Every Day
I have posted the pretty ones, the success stories. Only fair I post the ones that didn't work out so well. 1935 Featherweight - $50. It's no beauty, true, it shows every bit of it's age. But when I brought it home it DID work although I only ran it a few seconds before taking it all apart. (I'm always afraid of running a dirty, long idle machine before cleaning it.)
After dismantling, cleaning, oiling, lubing and reassembling, I found it was seized up. And maybe someone can tell me why this happens, but it seems to happen frequently, the same scenario.
Machine runs initially
I take it apart, clean it and oil it
I put it back together again
It is frozen up and won't budge
As my disclaimer says, I am not a sewing machine repair expert. I just fiddle around and almost always get them humming - at least from the standpoint that nothing was fundamentally wrong with them to begin with. (One exception, I did manage to successfully replace the gear set on a 1970's Stylist.)
As I mentioned in another post, I have always been able to "work it out" when this happens and at some point reach the magic moment when it breaks free. I love that moment! But it didn't look like that was going to happen here. This was seized up so tightly that I couldn't move the arm AT ALL. I mean it could have been bolted into place so tight it was. The hand wheel would just spin around the arm shaft, and I kept tightening up the stop motion screw trying to get a grip. Finally I removed the hand wheel and used a vise grip (with a rubber jar opener) to try and turn it. Nothing.
So my $50 trick is this:
Because a very smart PR friend put me onto it. (She also suggested baking it in the oven, but fortunately I didn't have to go that far!) It sounded too easy to be true, but I took her suggestion, spent a few minutes blow drying it until the entire machine was quite warm - aluminum heats up quickly! - and EUREKA, after a few creaky turns it broke free and spun like a top.
I suppose somehow I caused some kind of damage when trying to turn the wheel because now although everything runs (the motor turns the belt, which turns the wheel) the wheel won't turn the shaft. I tried using another clutch washer but it didn't make any difference so it's not that.
So here's the deal. I now have a pretty nice case, except for one broken latch, which is full of FW parts which I will sell/save for replacement parts. I have a nice belt (an original Singer belt in great condition) and a light bulb which I can use on my other machine. I have a bobbin case and an Egyptian scrolled face plate which I will sell on eBay. Undoubtedly will recoup my investment there. AND.....
I have a new $50 trick up my sleeve! (Thanks, Andrea!)