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Class Reviews > Ray White's Sewing Machine Repair Class

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Posted by: Janie Viers
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About Janie Viers star
Member since: 4/8/02
Reviews: 61 (classes: 1)
Skill level:Advanced
Favored by: 5 people
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Posted on: 8/14/04 4:48 PM
Rating: starstarstar
Review Rating: Helpful by 3 people   Very Helpful by 29 people   
Web site/URL: photo
I took a sewing machine repair class which is taught by Ray White. He has over 40 years of repair experience, plus factory training from Bernina, Viking, and other sewing machine manufacturers. He boasts that he can teach you to thread any machine without a manual….and he can do it, too!

I had heard many good things about this class from other “lists” and went to his web site to find out if and when any classes would be held in my area. He teaches a class of 10 (max.) students. If someone would like a class to be held in their area, and takes on the task of finding a free or really reasonable priced venue, Ray will come to the site and give you superb sewing machine maintenance and repair advice. Everyone brings machine (that do or do not work) and we set up so that as he explains a “sample” he brings, we can follow along on our own machines. He travels around the room making sure that we all understand each step.

He taught us to evaluate the motors, tear down the machine, oil and lube specifications. The first day we learned how the machine worked, which needles don’t belong on which machine (Bernina needles don’t work in non-Bernina machines!), and then we tore into the task of removing as much of the housing as possible. Included were warnings to “document” each thing you took off with a digital camera, or you might end up with a pile of metal (and plastic) that would have to be turned over to someone else to fix at a cost of min $50 an hour.

We learned hook timing, hook and throat smoothing, feed dog height adjustment, timing of needle, height of needle, motor, belts, etc. I was impressed that he taught us what was “normal” so that we would know what was wrong. I took off my machine housing and found more lint and more moving parts than I thought possible. I couldn’t believe all the metal to metal rubbing that I had never oiled because I was afraid to do more than open the top and left side and look under the bottom. His motto is “try to start with the easiest thing to adjust” and then decide after each step if that solved the problem.

We were there from 9 to at least 5 every day. The first day my friend and I left at 5 cause we had brain drain (I think my under wire bra had by that time cut off valuable blood supplies to my brain.) The second day we left at 8 pm and the last day we didn’t clear up and out until after 6. I think we got about 30 hours of help. After we took apart, cleaned, oiled, lubed (only if needed) and put back together our first machine, adjusted it and “sewed it out” we were encouraged to bring up other machines to work on. Ray helps with individual machine questions. One “semi” pro had a “carpet binder on wheels, there was an Elna with the motor needing help ( Ray loves Elna’s and seriously would buy any non working one you have!) My friend actually replaced a broken gear under the machine ALL BY HERSELF!

This class was worth every penny and I hope to “audit” the class if he offers another one near me. You can audit a class for free if you’ve taken his class, he offers one year of phone advice to students after the class, he has a special list site for students to use for questions, and has every machine training manual he ever got.

He had promised that if we didn’t think we were getting our money’s worth after the first day he would return our uncashed $50 reservation fee. He had them all laid out on the table so that we could decide if we wanted to change our minds after the first day. No one took him up! He had some supplies he offered for a reasonable fee ($26 for 100 SCHMETZ needles!), and provided everything we would need, though I opted to buy my tri-flow oil (with Teflon that doesn’t gunk like reg. sewing machine oil) and tri flow lube. It’s hard to find and his price was barely above wholesale. I also bought a sent of screwdrivers and hexes so that I could put my name on them and keep them so I wouldn’t have to borrow DH’s!

I met NoraNora2, a member of this list there. It was fun to meet someone you only see in print! She said that after reading the “Wedding from the dark side” she pictured me to be totally different than I was…..other than saying I am not as prim and fussy as she imagined, she just smiled. She is going to review Ray’s website. He has an online web site where you can purchase stuff, but he doesn’t really push that to the students!

If you ever wanted to know “WHY” your machine doesn’t work, you should take this class. If you ever wanted to know “how” to do it yourself you should take this class. If you ever thought that you might do this professionally, take this class. What can I say; I think you should take the class! (He taught at a school for the blind and a group is trying to get him to come to Austrailia!)I didn't put a state in becuase he teaches in every state that has 8 or more people who want to take the class!

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Sharp said... (12/2/12 3:39 PM) Reply
Great review! I'd found Ray's sight and was wondering, so this really helps. This is something I'd really love to do!
Mike EB said... (5/9/11 12:37 PM) Reply
I'm attending Ray's class later this week.
coljpt said... (1/26/11 11:45 AM) Reply
Hi I am New here and have been trying to find Ray whites sewing machine repair classes. with no luck. I went to his website that has not had any updates since 2005 I live in Sarasota and I am interested in learning sewing machine repair.If you can help me that would be great. [email protected] Thanks..
LynnAlexander said... (8/31/10 3:22 PM) Reply
Thanks for this review! I have been considering this class for a while.
diane s said... (3/24/10 7:31 PM) Reply
Thanks for the review, Ray will be in Oregon this fall and I'm sending my husband.
kiwi63 said... (3/3/09 3:46 AM) Reply
Thanks for the review. I came across Ray's class on the web and am considering taking it.
PaulaN said... (9/24/07 10:50 AM) Reply
I appreciate the information about the class from someone who has taken it. I am considering taking one this year and wanted to hear from someone who had actually been in one. Thanks!
Alice near Atlanta said... (2/13/07 4:44 PM) Reply
You've given a wonderful critique of this class, covered it all. I've wanted to do one of his classes but don't have a clue how to get others interested
pai said... (11/4/06 8:17 AM) Reply
You've described exactly what I am looking for... thank you!
JANICE said... (9/18/06 11:08 AM) Reply
Thanks. I would like to take his class in Lancaster, Pa. area.
PLZ said... (6/3/06 0:11 AM) Reply
That was a pretty exciting review. It is something that scares me as I am not mechanical at all. Did you even take computerized machines? Some of the things you mentioned are so intriguing, such as changing feed dog height, something I have often wished I could do! Thanks for sharing. I may take his class but it sounds like I should take my vitamins first!
ridinstyle said... (9/10/05 4:34 PM) Reply
Thanks for this review. I realize that this comment is coming a year after your last comment on this review, but that's OK. I have a class set up in November with Ray in Missouri. I am very excited about it. I haven't seen anything like his classes anywhere else around. Having someone show me first-hand is the best way to learn. I'm glad that you got a lot out of his class. I know that the class doesn't cover the computerized machines like mine, but just to know the basics will help with any machine. It's good to know that you felt the class was worth the money.
Janie Viers said... (1/15/05 11:16 AM) Reply
The best way to get more people to enroll is advertise by word of mouth on line. Any of the Yahoo groups that are about sewing mahcines, just mention it on one and the word will fly to everyone in 100 miles of your location! FYI a friend took the class (a home ec teacher) and got credit for the class for her continuing education classes she must take to upgrade her teaching certificate. Contact the Home ec teachers at your school system, or the local chapter of the Am. Sewing> Assoc., etc.
DBee said... (1/14/05 9:01 AM) Reply
You convinced me - Thank you for the great review. I am trying to arrange for Ray White to do his class near Minneapolis, MN in June 2005. I have a location ready. How do I find enough participants to get it scheduled - I need 7 more.
crantone said... (11/25/04 8:48 PM) Reply
I have to second this! I just took Ray's class here in Florida in October! It was wonderful and worth evey penny! If you get a chance to take it, do! Lee in FL
Nancy Peters said... (11/6/04 8:44 PM) Reply
Thanks for the review. I am ready to go today! I see he has a tentative class (in Florida) coming up in Jan but not where. I felt overwhelmed with all the info on the web site. Whew! But what an opportunity. Thanks again.
Lyn B. said... (9/29/04 7:07 PM) Reply
I would love to take this class, too! I've collected a few old sewing machines. An electric from the 1930's, a treadle from the 40's or 50's and an electric Singer from the early 60's. All of them work perfectly at the moment, but I don't think I'd trust a mechanic to touch them. Frankly, I'm not all that trusting with my computer machines either.
Mae Rose said... (9/19/04 7:57 AM) Reply
Thanks, I'd like to organize a class in MA.
NoraNora said... (8/18/04 12:20 PM) Reply
I forgot to mention that I got my SM running like a charm!!!! And I repaired one of my sister's machines that had a timing problem!
NoraNora said... (8/18/04 12:16 PM) Reply
I have to echo Janie's comments (Hey Janie :) )...I feel so empowered now! I spent $200 to get a machine repaired and it would not work after 2 visits to 2 different shops...This is the one I took for the first day's teaching...I had only sewed on it about 2 times after the repairs and when I opened it up it was full of dust and lint...NOT what Ray teaches us...the first step is a through cleaning...this class taught me what to look for in a SM mechanic and how to do most basic repairs myself...I would be a bargain at twice the price!!!
Georgene said... (8/18/04 11:56 AM) Reply
wow! never even considered doing anything like this, but sounds like a great deal...and I have a few arthritic machines in my circle of friends that could use some help...hmmm, hmmmmm.
Janie Viers said... (8/15/04 8:20 PM) Reply
Just looked in parts on his web site....$32 for 100 plus shipping on Schmetz.
Janie Viers said... (8/15/04 11:11 AM) Reply
Ray makes the point that all machines have mechanical components that must be mastered before electronics is studied. It makes sense! You really don't have to have a machine that totally won't work to take....but if you put out the word that "if anyone around here knows of someone who has an old machine that doesn't work I could try to fix it for free" will bring them out of the woodwork!!!! The advanced class offers more detail, but you must have taken this class before being allowed to take the advanced class. Ray also makes the point that if someone has a "$99 walmart special" to fix, it's not worth it!!!! Some machines are designed to be a consumable disposable product (in my words, Like Pantihose and aspirin!) and arent' worth the time and trouble to fix. When you see a hook that is plastic and has a piece of tin wrapped around it to duplicate a solid piece of tempered metal you will understand! If you click on the web link "camera" picture, you will be taken right to his sight.
JDpenelope said... (8/15/04 7:37 AM) Reply
Oh, I just now saw the web site link and read through it quickly--I see electronics isn't covered in the beginning class. Very interesting site. Thanks again.
JDpenelope said... (8/15/04 7:22 AM) Reply
Gosh, after reading your review, it makes me wish I had a broken machine to take to one of these classes. Do you have a web site reference? Looks worth checking out, anyway, just for general info. Perhaps, armed with more knowledge, one could buy a used machine with less fear. It sounds like the class is for mechanical machines...since you didn't mention anything about electronics. Thanks for this review. BTW, I don't suppose you could get those good prices on needles without taking the class.
PixieCat said... (8/15/04 4:16 AM) Reply
Thank you for this thorough review. I almost took this class (I'm in Columbus) but the timing was poor. With your glowing remarks, I'll make it a point to attend the next time he's close by.
Londa Rohlfing said... (8/14/04 11:22 PM) Reply
Could you please give us contact information on this wonder man? Thanks
Janie Viers said... (8/14/04 11:04 PM) Reply
I tried to indicate that the class isn't state specific, but the form inisisted on a state! Ray is located in Missouri, and gives classes all over from Washington State and Florida to Maine! You find a place and he'll find a way to teach!
Oopsy-Daisy! said... (8/14/04 10:23 PM) Reply
Fascinating review and i don't even live in your state! Wish we had a Ray!
Charmaine said... (8/14/04 6:03 PM) Reply
Great review. I would love to take a class like this.
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