Saturday, October 17, 2015

Good Advice

Sometimes you get to work with the good guys. It was my pleasure to have Rick Engel, a great sewing machine tech, over to take a look at a couple machines and to show off a few in my collection. It started out with the return of a Bernina 807 that had more problems than it was worth fixing and I coveted the case and foot control for an 807 that did work.

While visiting and listening to the Bernina 830 I just got (needing the foot control), I pulled out a New Home I have been struggling with. Why wouldn't the new gear stay in place? Rick made his suggestions, offered to take it if I wasn't interested in doing it myself, but I thought I'd give it a go. His eyes wandered to the antique Singers I had in the next room and he was very intrigued by a Singer 99 in the combination table, even taking photos:
Singer 99 in the Combination Table

Although he works on all models and types of sewing machines, his real favorites are the 19th century models: do you think this might be because he doesn't get to work on them all day long? As we discussed our favorites and why, he mentioned Kenmore's and although I adore my Kenmore's I've been more than a little disillusioned with a string of older 385's (made in Taiwan) that are either stuck in reverse or will not backstitch. They will do backwards and forward motion but not straight back for a reverse on a seam to tie it off. He said he loved those models because they were good machines and only needed oil and heat from a hair blower to get them moving again. What? This is a trick I perform all of the time but for some reason it had escaped me with these machines.

Rick left with a Pfaff Expressions 3.0 to see what he could find and I started to think about those Kenmore's. Last night I got around to actually opening them up to see if I could get them moving again with just some hot air and oil. Yup: it worked on two of the three! Here's the spot that was stuck:
Green arrow shows stuck area
The third Kenmore had a few more problems and back when this was first discovered, almost a year ago, we ordered two new parts that were thought to be faulty. Now I'm not so sure they actually do need to be replaced. Under the reverse button is a lever that needs to be engaged and although I at least got it to move and the button to actually work, it could not push down far enough to do more than stop the sewing machine from moving forward, similar to the "stop" button on newer machines that can simply stitch a few stitches in place to anchor a stitch. This is a little frustrating but at least two are working just fine now. As I was putting them all away and contemplating what I would do with the third machine I find a spring I had overlooked, one of the new ones ordered last year. Now where does this go? Looks like I'm going to be opening it back up again and trying to figure out if this is a part that will restore the life in the reverse button.

I worked quite a long time on the New Home and tried what Rick suggested but it has become clear I will be passing this one over to him next time I see him. At some point I have to give up, sometimes to contemplate a solution but this time to pass it over to someone who really knows. I'm looking forward to getting the Pfaff back, hoping it's good news, and passing the New Home over to Rick. Sometimes we get by with a little help from our friends.

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