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Forum > Patterns and Notions > Done with modern irons - going vintage. Any warnings? ( Moderated by Sharon1952)

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Done with modern irons - going vintage. Any warnings?
tools, iron, non-steam
Czedwards
Czedwards
Member since 12/2/11
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Date: 2/25/13 8:01 PM

I apparently kill modern irons. I've had four not cheap ones in the past 18 months, the last of which I mailed to Rowenta today. I assume they'll send me another, but if it lasts five months like this one, it's almost not worth plugging in. I've used tap water, distilled water, cleaned them, babied them... but either they start spitting or they stop getting hot.

I keep thinking fondly of my mother's iron, which has been going strong for longer than I've been alive and has been used almost daily. She received it in her freshman year of high school (early 1970s) when she started Home Ec, and it wasn't new then. It does not steam, which I think may be why it is still alive. Unfortunately for me, I will get my hands on Mom's iron when she is ash. It's a heavy beast, but golly, it works.

Current irons also keep tripping my breakers or the surge protector. Our house is newish (13 years old) and we had all of our electrical upgraded at constuction to support our computer habit. Nothing else trips breakers -- not kettle, nor microwave, nor space heater.

I sew occasionally at Mama Said Sew in Fort Collins, where Ms. Gray has a lovely American Beauty that must be 1940s or 50s vintage and it's gorgeous. It makes perfect, crisp folds. I already use a mister of water or starch.

If anyone is still using or has returned to a dry iron, do you have any tips? Warnings?

solveg
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Date: 2/25/13 8:30 PM

My gut instinct, upon reading this, is that you have something else going on besides the iron...did all this happen at your previous house also?

I don't think irons can trip your circuits on their own, unless you have too much on that circuit. Have you tested your circuits to see if the someone tried to increase their profit by putting too many things together? You should have at least one circuit that is all lights. If you make sure that any electronics or other things are unplugged, I wonder if your iron would trip the circuit then?

I usually buy cheapo irons, and I get the spitting if I don't use distilled water in them or reverse osmosis water. I think you will in any iron. But I've never had one stop getting hot unless the cat chewed on the cord and killed it.

Czedwards
Czedwards
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Date: 2/25/13 9:34 PM

Solveg,

On the previous house, I don't know because I didn't sew as much there. (Early in career so less time; early in marriage, so otherwise occupied; much smaller house, so no space.) Because we were planning for a small server farm (DH's obsession; this did not materialize because remote computing got much, much cheaper) we had the electrical system independently inspected before we closed. I've been running around with a multimeter for the past year trying to figure it out; as far as I can tell, there's nothing wrong with the house's wiring. That's a 20 AMP breaker, all for that end of the house. It's got one sewing machine, one laptop, one external hard drive, one over-head light (with CFL bulbs), one LED task light. I keep everything on surge protectors because some of the outlets are difficult to reach, not because I'm splitting them. Total wattage and amperage is less than 2 amps and 300 watts before the iron. I have plugged in the blender, the toaster and the kettle and run them all -- even that combination didn't trip the breaker. (Which exceeded the iron's load.)

The fact that only irons are dying may be because they're the only major draw on that breaker, or it may be thanks to our water (Rocky Mountain spring water is what comes out of our taps), or production failure. No two have failed in exactly the same way -- the first was a thermostat failure, the second was a boiler failure, the third was a power management unit failure, and this one looked like a steam valve failure. I took apart the thermostat and the power management unit failures (out of warranty). The soldering was awful in both, and they were not built to be fixed. Products of the disposable culture, and the fact that home sewing and ironing has become a casual activity, rather than a household necessity.

beauturbo
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In reply to Czedwards <<


Date: 2/25/13 9:53 PM

I think I saw a brand new Sunbeam one, that looked and felt like an older all metal body and plate older one, at maybe Target in person the other day. Silver metal and black plastic for the handle maybe. It was not very expensive. It was heavy though if that is what you want. I think it did not have any auto shut off.

You can actually buy an old iron at the thrift store for less than $10 most times but I think that new one was still less than $30. It did have steam. But you would not have to ever put water in it, if you did not want to either. I think it was something like 1600 watts. I do have a really nice 10 year old Rowenta, still going strong and very nice, it's 1800 watts. It was a very expensive one back then.

The more power something draws and the more stuff you all got plugged at the same circuit breaker all at the same time, that is what trrips a circuit breaker most times. So I think that means to iron in the same place you do now, with same amount of stuff plugged in same places in room, and not have that happen, you need an iron with less wattage than you already got maybe, or just change your habits.

I'm not sure if there is any good way to test out an old iron with steam at the thrift store, as you could plug it in, but probably kind of hard to find water to put into it, to see if it would leak or not too. You could test out a non steam one though.

Marie367
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In reply to Czedwards <<


Date: 2/25/13 10:39 PM

Irons pull alot. I keep mine on a separate plug from my sewing machines and computers. I also use a $20-30 Sunbeam iron from Walmart. I use water out of the faucet and do not have a problem with spitting. I do forget to unplug it and thankfully it goes off on its own after awhile. If the iron stops some day then I will not feel too bad and buy another.

PattyE
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Date: 2/25/13 11:22 PM

Sorry to hear about your iron issues....quite frustrating when our tools fail us.
I love my Rowenta and have had it for a long time now. I've used tap water in it since day one because that's what they recommended.
Hope you can find one that works for you.

GlButterfly

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Date: 2/25/13 11:42 PM

My mother's dry iron, from the 50s, is in my sewing area, although I have not used it in years. The cord is in excellent condition, which I would think is the most important thing to pay attention to. If there are other warnings, I am not aware of them, but would be curious about them. If I remember, I will plug it in tomorrow and check to find out if it's still working.

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That's Gl = for Gloria, not G. I.

Miss Fairchild
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Date: 2/25/13 11:52 PM

I've used Panasonic irons in the past. I like the titanium sole plate on one of their models. However, they have been a real pain. They spit after a while and then don't heat. So I end up taking them to my quilting classes. What has withstood the test of time, has been this one. I like the balance of it, it has an auto shutoff, but not every 10 minutes--more like an hour, I put tap water in it and it doesn't spit. And most importantly, it's only 1200 watts. Which is important because I live in a very old house and my sewing room, as well as the whole upstairs, is on one circuit. Granted, it's not a dry iron, but I don't think I could go back to a dry iron, because the wattage is lower. Lower wattage means usually less heat.

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"Play the cards you are dealt, but choose who is sitting at the table"..AARP magazine

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mhk3boys
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mhk3boys
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Date: 2/26/13 0:04 AM

I think it is David Coffin who makes his owns shirts, and has written a book, swears nothing is better than a dry iron with no holes in the sole plate. You can still buy one at Vermont country store.com They also have another model that has steam.

http://www.vermontcountrystore.com/store/jump/productDetail/For_The_Home/Household_Solutions/Laundry_&_Storage/Dry_Iron/42277

Sorry my link sucks, I REALLY hate windows 8!!!
-- Edited on 2/26/13 0:08 AM --

------
Relax, don't get your elastic all twisted up in your waistband!
Hell hath no fury for the poor soul that sews an ill-fitting garment! Thank God for Surefitdesigns.com!

AtiyaAfi
AtiyaAfi
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In reply to Czedwards <<


Date: 2/26/13 1:53 AM

One strong suggestion might be to have an inspection from the local electric company (or fire house) in your area - usually it's at no cost but times have changed. Reason being, the risk of a fire and they would want to prevent this from happening. I remember when I was young my mother had the house check by the electric company and they made arrangements to have the whole house re-wired. I can't see why new wiring is not handling an iron; something is not right here - you should not have this happening with an iron or any household heating unit. Check with the electric company or even the fire company in your area. Electrical fires are one of the worst fires for firefighters to handle my uncle a former fire person told me as a young child. I never forgot it. The wiring during construction - even if somehow it passed inspection - doesn't seem to have been done properly I'm feeling - not the first time such a thing has happened to home builders. Good luck.

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