Monday, June 29, 2015

Grandma's Lotus

The Franklin treadle is all finished and Ellen came to pick it up so it could go with the current shipment of sewing machines to Haiti. It turned out quite nice, not in terrific cosmetic shape but the cabinet was nicely restored and everything is in working order. I took the treadle mechanism apart and had trouble getting it adjusted without a high pitched whine, but we both new it would have to be disassembled before shipping and would need to have it all adjust again upon arrival. So the big bulky treadle moved out of the garage...to have another move in. No! I convinced Ellen I only needed the head of the sewing machine since the cabinet was in poor shape and she didn't want me to put any work into it. Why have it at all in my garage? It was a Singer 66 with Lotus, sometimes called Egyptian Green, decals and I could put it into my cabinet that holds a Singer 66 Red Eye if I really needed to test it.

Here she is after removing the pin rag around the throat:
Singer 66 with Lotus decals before cleaning
The chrome pieces had rust spots and the clear coat was missing for the most part, exposing the decals to further wear. But there is a story with this one and why we are spending any time with it. Moving parts were removed for cleaning in an ultrasonic cleaner, other parts are soaked in Evaporust, and I start in on cleaning the body just so I don't have to keep touching the dirty stuff. Notice the bobbin winder? It's an earlier style, more like a vibrating shuttle style with the long bobbins but it's for regular round bobbins. It went into the ultrasonic cleaner and did a real number on the decals but it was just caked with grime. There were even a few scraps of leaves up inside of the pillar so I suspect it had been sitting out in a garage for some period of time. Metal polish was put on those metal parts and they really did come clean and mostly free of the pin sized rust spots. All put back together, I threaded it up for stitching and here's what happened the first few stitches:

Top stitches on Singer 66
Small tension adjustment and they are perfect! Looks like I won't have to put it in a treadle but just run it with my finger in the spokes of the handwheel. Yes, I'm careful! And for the final clean-up photo:

Singer 66 all cleaned up
Okay, so it's not startling but it is better. It just goes to show how great these old Singers really are: this one dates to 1902. Might I look so good at 113. Now to the back story of why I had to do this machine. Ellen depends on donations for her work in Haiti and people drop sewing machines off at her house on a somewhat regular basis. Someone heard about what she does and asked if she would use her grandmother's treadle in Haiti. The cabinet was almost gone but the head is what you see above. It would be a wonderful tribute to her grandmother so Ellen is going to send it down and have a photo taken of it being used. I'm sure this will delight the donor and honor her grandmother. I'm proud to be a part of this mission, too.

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