Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Universe and Beyond

Sewing machines reflect the times in many ways: contours, color, accessories, names. This is a story of disappointment and redemption. As the holidays are winding down, I took a look at my repair room and thought I needed to get working on some that I hadn't had time to approach. Enter the Revere:

Revere in blue
The blue reminds me of my sister Jane's first car, a Mustang in this shade of blue. It's a Singer 15 clone with the tension dial on the left faceplate. This design/model is known for its great penetration so would be good for heavier fabrics and lightweight leather on an occasional basis. I had marked it for needing wiring so I checked everything out and attached a foot control, re-wrapped the wiring for the light, and turned it on. Very slowly things began to move so I cleaned and oiled so I could get it up to speed. It still moved very slowly. I took the motor apart but there wasn't too much debris but I cleaned it up and tried again. The motor, when disengaged from the belt, was very fast. Attaching the belt and leaving the clutch open, it also moved great. When I tightened the wheel back up, we were at a snails pace. Out came the hairdryer where I applied heat to all the moving parts I could find. It moved just a tad but faster. Time for bed and I'll look at it tomorrow.

Upon inspection the next day and another test drive, it was even slower! The heat might have loosened up that old oil but it re-hardened. I think this sewing machine is a good candidate for a kerosene soak but that will have to wait until warmer weather.

Underside of Revere: looks a bit gummy
 There are times when it's great being a senior citizen and senior discount days are one of then. I found a Universal sewing machine that looked so pristine I couldn't resist but I also couldn't try it out since it was just the head and it needed a motor block (a box with recepticals for the light and motor plugs). Forty percent discount later she's home with me:

Universal in blue
 I find a new motor block with cords and test it out. There is not much of a slow speed but it goes right into high speed. As it does this there is a slight pop or whiz, some noise that I haven't heard before. It does this several times so I find another motor block but it does the same thing. I disengage the clutch on the wheel and just listen to the motor and it has that strange sound right before it goes into high gear. I watch through the openings and see a very small spark but that's not unusual, especially if the motor hasn't been run in a long time. But still, it doesn't seem safe. I take the motor off and give it a good look:

Motor on Universal Sewing Machine
Back together and ready to test but nothing. No sound. I take it apart again and two small chunk of carbon fall out. Oh oh, those are the brushes! I take a good look and see there are short carbon brushes up against the motor but I cannot take them out for replacement because the springs are soldered in! So now I have a dead motor, not unrepairable but just needing more work than I want to give it. Then I have a brainstorm: why not put the Revere motor on the Universal? Both are blue, although different shades, but let's see how it works. With a different motor and foot control, the Universal sews like a dream, no racehorse, so I even put it in the blue wood portable case from the Revere. Now I have a complete sewing machine and one that needs work but that's okay. The Universal does a very nice straight stitch and a graduated zigzag, all you would need to start sewing. I can add accessories like a set of feet, needles, class 15 bobbins, a screw driver and cleaning brush and it's all set to go. Disappointment and redemption. Sometimes it's like that in life.


Jane Turner said...

You are right. Same color as the Mustang. Loved that car!

Karen said...

When you and Darrel had your big birthday party and the photos were rolling across the screen, I had to laugh when everyone told Darrel he drove a cool car back then and he admitted it was yours, not his!