Sunday, June 8, 2014

Fun tools

Part of the fun with any new venture/hobby is finding all the tools you just can't live without or didn't know you needed until now. I have borrowed some of my husbands tools on a permanent basis (hex keys anyone?) and have bought a few items that weren't very expensive such as sets of small screwdrivers, but haven't bought much in the way of  "do I really need that?" until now.

Various machines need a way to clean out small shredded parts, such as bobbin winders gone bad so there are very small black tire bits all over the inside. Remember this post about the mouse nest? I really needed a full sized vacuum cleaner then but there were finer points I just could reach very well. Now I have the perfect companion to my big vacuum cleaner:

The plastic tube connects to the hose on the vacuum with the large adapter end (on left) and you put various attachments/brushes on the adapter on the right end of the hose. Had almost as much suction as my big vacuum as it cleaned up the bottom of a wood box carrying case quite well. With 2 brushes and a crevice tool, plus other extenders, I could get into some pretty tight spots inside the Singer 237 that had to come home with me. Since it's just a set of attachments the cost was only $7: why did I wait so long?

At the same time I ordered an ultrasonic cleaner, having gotten a tip from another vintage sewing machine person on Facebook. This wasn't exactly cheap but could be used for cleaning other household items so I went ahead and ordered it:

This is so cool! You can put just plain water into it or add a touch of detergent, put the sewing machine feet that are no longer new (that's a polite way of saying "layers of petrified oil gunk") and in less than 5 minutes they look like new or at least better. After the feet came out clean I tried some screws because I hate to clean them but are pretty cruddy on some machines, especially as they are on the top and get years of dust on them. Not only did they come out clean, they still turned great in the holes. I was sure it would strip off all the oils and make them hard to turn but that wasn't true. 

Here are a few pics of another set of feet, some better, some need more work, and some really shine!
Feet before the cleaner

There they are in the murky, dirty water!

After? some need more help!

I did these sewing machine feet in plain water so maybe adding the cleaner is really better. Because it loosenes the dirt, you also need to wipe the dirt off for a better final effect. Still, I love this new tool and think I will find many ways to use it.

For the love of gadgets and tools!


Unknown said...

For cleaning feet and other parts I've found that soaking them in a product called Oil Eater cleaner degreaser works wonders. So many machines that I get are covered in cigarette tar and old oil and dropping the parts in a container with this product at full strength you can see the gunk start to float off into the solution without scrubbing. I always rinse them well afterwords and bake them in a 200 degree oven for 10 minutes to make sure they're dry to prevent rust. PS Love your blog! -Stephen

Anonymous said...

I also use an ultrasonic cleaner to clean attachments/metal sewing machine parts (screws, feed dogs, throat plates etc.) nothing painted.
I use 6 parts water 1 part Mister Clean (about 1/3 cup in my cleaner) and a couple of drops of Dawn dish soap.
Make sure to rinse in HOT water.

silverarrow said...

My trick is to soak them in hot water with a good scoop of white wash (laundry) powder, works great in the ultrasonic cleaner too. Some very old feet needs to be polished up, they are neither nickeled or chromed finished.