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About to buy a very old machine
....and wondering what to do first
Sauvage
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Sauvage  Friend of PR
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Date: 11/7/12 3:26 PM

Wise owners of multiple machines,

Someone in my town is selling a 1919 machine. It was originally a treadle but was wired. I think I'm going to buy it whatever the condition, because I would love to have a treadle machine JUST IN CASE.

Can I take it to a regular machine service shop? Are there specialists who can repair treadle machines?

Thanks in advance for any advice! It's a Singer with serial number G738820, if that makes any different.

------
Jeanne
2014 yards in inventory: (to be counted)
Yards cut/sewn:58
Yards purchased: 46.3

"People....so much bigger on the inside." Doctor Who, "The Doctor's Wife," 6.04, by Neil Gaiman.

jadamo00
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jadamo00
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NY USA
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In reply to Sauvage <<


Date: 11/7/12 3:31 PM

Photo! I'm very excited for you. My 1916 Singer and I are one: we love each other. I'm wondering if yours is a 15-30 like mine, with the Tiffany decal.

A motor was added to mine at some time in its lifetime but I love it so much that I did what you did: I bought THE EXACTLY SAME MODEL in oridinal treadle condition, too.

j.

lisalu
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lisalu
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Date: 11/7/12 3:43 PM

I never worked on or used a treadle (but tinker with other old electric machines.) Do you know that it needs repair? Electrical issues aside - assuming you are not going to use the motor - the most likely scenarios are

1. There isn't anything "wrong" with it that a thorough cleaning and oiling and replacing the belt won't solve. If you or a family member are the least bit handy you can do that yourself.

or...

2. There is something majorly broken or missing that would be expensive to replace in which case it would cost you $$$ whether you fixed it yourself or took it to a SMG.

Just my own opinion as someone who tinkers with vintage machines as a hobby (buy, tinker, re-sell!) I would give you this advice:

Make sure it at least works before you buy it. It may need cleaning/oiling/adjusting but if the wheel turns manually and it makes a stitch, then anything else you can work with. If it doesn't work, then why not keep looking rather than take the chance that it needs replacement of an obscure part?

I don't know about your market, but on CL in my area there are at least a couple of nice looking treadles being sold every week, usually in the $100-$150 range. If I was in the market for one, I'd just hold out for a working model. But that's just me!

------
Jim (Singer 301), Margaret (Singer 201-2), Betty (Singer 15-91), Bud (Singer 503), Kathy (Singer 221), Liz (Singer 221 Centennial Edition)
http://runningstitches-mkb.blogspot.com/

sings2high
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Date: 11/7/12 3:57 PM

can you take it to a regular machine service shop? It depends. OSMG (affectionate title: Old Sewing Machine Guys) are still around but getting scarce. I have a Mr. Sew N Vac in a nearby town. They would rather sell you a new one, but they do order parts for me pretty frequently...and they do know their stuff. But a lot of sewing machine repair people are in love with the new and flashy (and expensive). But there is hope!
TreadleOn.net is a group dedicated to the collection, repair and USE of people-powered sewing machines. Their website has a "machine shop" section with lots of tutorials on cleaning, restoring, repairing and using old machines. With their help, I've restored quite a few old machines. They also have an email group run by Lyris.
Have fun!

------
Measure twice, cut once. While this saying is useful in many ways, I have no qualms about editing my posts.

UFOs completed in 2014: 1 - woohoo! finished my oldest UFO - an apron cut out in the mid-80s with a pattern from the mid-40s! and the bias binding promptly disintegrated in the wash! Ok, it was from my Great-Grandmother's stash, which means it was bought anytime from the 1910's to 1970's.
Projects started recently completed in 2014: 1
New Projects started in 2014: 2
Stash:
sewn in 2014: 0
bought in 2014: 17.25

I know...I'm procrastinating.

pknord
pknord
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Date: 11/7/12 4:56 PM

If that number is correct, it's a Singer model 66. When you see it, make sure all the parts are there. You can find replacement parts, but if you don't have to, it's better. One in decent shape, with all the parts, should be between $50 and $150, depending on condition and goodies (attachments) that come with it.

------
Pat in Rockport, TX
"As ye sew, so shall ye rip."
http://community.webshots.com/user/pknord
http://www.quiltingthoughts.blogspot.com/

pknord
pknord
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TX USA
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Date: 11/7/12 4:57 PM

Forgot to say, you can get the manual at the ISMACS website.

------
Pat in Rockport, TX
"As ye sew, so shall ye rip."
http://community.webshots.com/user/pknord
http://www.quiltingthoughts.blogspot.com/

Nancy1955
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Nancy1955  Friend of PR
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Date: 11/7/12 6:42 PM

It looks like you are in Massachusetts. Try Charlton Sewing Center. She will fix ANY machine (assuming it can be fixed). She also has a collection of vintage and antique machines on display.Charlton Sewing Center
No matter where you are located in Massachusetts - its worth the drive.

jzygail
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jzygail  Friend of PR
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MD USA
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In reply to Sauvage <<
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Date: 11/8/12 7:19 AM

You've gotten some great advice, but I wanted to add that removing the motor and restoring the machine to a working treadle is NOT a difficult job as long as when they gave it the motor, they didn't remove the large flywheel or the pedal on the treadle irons.

My very first vintage machine was a 1924 Singer 66 that began life as a treadle, but was later retro-fitted with a motor. Thanks to the advice from folks on Treadle On, I gathered up my courage and did the "motorectomy" myself--it was ridiculously simple!!! Just unscrewed the motor from the motor boss (the place on the pillar where the motor is attached to the machine), and then unwired the flywheel and treadle pedal (and unwired the motor controller from the pedal as well). All told, it took less than 15 minutes.

Once I gave the irons a good lube, and cleaned up the machine, I installed a new treadle belt (less than $10 at almost any sewing center). That was the hardest part, because it was completely new to me and I didn't think to find a way to secure one end of the belt while I threaded the other end through, under and around I highly recommend using a pair of vice grips on the one end while you thread the other, for your reference. Or if you have someone to help, that's good, too :)

Can't wait to see pictures!

Sauvage
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Date: 11/8/12 6:43 PM

Hello, hello! I've been frantic the last coupla days with other matters but expect to get the machine tomorrow. These are pictures not taken by me:treadle machine
Thank you so much for the advice. I had a quick look at Treadle On and have a feeling I'll be learning some things from there.

I'll take it to Charlton--it's about an hour away. (I like that they call it "The Sewing Sanctuary.") We go to a camp in Charlton for a weekend in the fall, and the last two years I've stopped at "That $1.99 Fabric Place" in Auburn as part of that trip. (Hmm. Really should write a review.)

Motorectomy--hee....

------
Jeanne
2014 yards in inventory: (to be counted)
Yards cut/sewn:58
Yards purchased: 46.3

"People....so much bigger on the inside." Doctor Who, "The Doctor's Wife," 6.04, by Neil Gaiman.

jzygail
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Member since 11/2/06
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In reply to Sauvage <<


Date: 11/8/12 8:51 PM

Okay, that appears to be a Singer 27-3 (lower bobbin winder and manual tension), but I can't see the shuttle carrier.

It will take you a short learning curve to get used to releasing the tension manually when you sew--see the tab at the bottom of the tension assembly? Press on that when you want to release tension. I usually forget the first time sewing after I've been away from the machine for a while, but as soon as you try to remove a project from the needle area, you'll remember right away when the thread won't move :)

You seem to be missing the slide plates. Look (and ask) to see if they have them stashed in a drawer somewhere. But if not, they're not terribly difficult to replace. Look around online. I know Cindy Peters usually has them. Or keep your eye out for a donor machine, but be sure it's a 27 or 127--the 28s are 3/4 sized machines and their slide plates are slightly shorter.

The only other issue you might have is if you have the old style shuttle carrier with a new style shuttle. The style shuttle that the 27 used will work in a 127, but the 127 style shuttle will NOT work in a 27. HOWEVER. If you can't find the proper shuttle, changing the carrier to a new style will solve that problem and that's often easier to do (finding a donor shuttle carrier). But I didn't have much trouble finding the proper shuttle. Again, check around with vintage sewing machine shops online--I got mine from Wolfgang, and I"d bet that Cindy Peters could probably hook you up as well. Also Sew Classic gets lots of accolades around her, although I've never used her.

Be sure to ask if you have any questions. My first true project machine was a 27 and I"m really fond of them.

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