|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!