Monday, October 26, 2015


This might not be an exciting blog post for you but I'm pretty excited to have more of the cabinet/table model sewing machines leaving the garage. Not just leaving, but getting sold! At this point I have three requests to see cabinet models so that would only leave five. I know, there are really eight left but I always have high hopes.

Just as I passed up a Singer 237 last night at a local thrift store, telling myself "you already have one of those to sell in a cabinet" I turn the corner to find a Singer 404 in a nearly broken down carrying case. It's a 404, so I have to stop and check it out: good cords, hand wheel moves, not clean but no real chips or marks on the surface....I grab and go! There isn't much that can go wrong with this model and I love the gear driven sturdiness of this series. It's straight stitch only and not lightweight but would make a great beginners sewing machine. It comes home with me and I start to clean it up and take it apart.
Singer 404 mid-cleanup: note lever for needle plate release on bed

I can pick out the mountain of lint, thread wound around the bobbin casing, remove the tape from the bed, but I can't get the needle plate to move. there was a nest of thread that was caught in the needle hole and I can just about imagine what happened. When the sewing machine is threaded wrong on top, it makes a mess on the bottom of the fabric, even to the point where it can knot up and stop all motion. You can cut away the fabric but the knot is still there. Tweezers got it all pulled out but the needle plate release lever wasn't moving enough.

Red arrows point to the release pins

By now my husband is intrigued and starts making suggestions so with me on one side of the table moving the lever and prying with a screw driver and him on the other side with the bottle of TriFlow oil, we can get the release pins up but not down. Now the hammer comes out (his suggestion!) so they get tapped down (cover pins with soft cloth first), pried up, tapped down, over and over again with oil getting worked into them. Eventually they work easily, all that was underneath the needle plate gets cleaned out, oiled, gears cleaned and greased: She sounds terrific. Wish that was true of the case:

After the initial wipe down, then a good cleaner sprayed on, the Soft-Scrub comes out next. That helps get some of the scuff marks out but there are still mildew dots on one side so I take straight bleach to it. I would not recommend such a drastic action but I tested a small spot first and nothing dire happened. Voila! The mildew spots disappeared and it looked much better. Now it needs some carpentry so I have to pull it apart a bit to be able to get some nails and glue into the side that has nearly come off.

Gluing the vinyl covering takes many stages with clamps:
I think this is going to work out fine but I need to move on with other projects, taking this one in steps. Since this blog post was started another cabinet was sold and the BIG Pfaff 130-6 was picked up. With only seven cabinets left in the garage, I have high hopes for getting my car in before the snow comes. Did I say seven? Well, another one got added...but that's another story.

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