Thursday, July 14, 2016

Bargain Basement

Years ago large department stores used to have a bargain shop, sometimes in their basement, where all of the sale items ended up. Imagine, a whole floor of bargains! We don't see that too much anymore as the sale items are usually kept within the department and relegated to a section of shelves. But I got a bargain last night and here is the story:

Tuesday is Senior Day at one of my favorite thrift stores so I make it a habit to stop and check their sewing machines and fabric to see if there is something I "need" and can now get at 40% off. The first store had three sewing machines and one was a newer Necchi but the whole aisle smelled like mold from the case so I didn't linger. The next store had two Singer's that were later versions of Touch and Sew and I only paused a moment before I turned to a Kenmore 158-1560. This one I looked over carefully and considered plugging it in but decided I already had several that fit the bill for good straight stitch and zig zag with stretch stitches and didn't need another one. The above three were on an endcap of the shelving so I was surprised when I turned the corner and found another one, a Montgomery Wards UHT-J1947. When I turned the handwheel it didn't move much so I looked at the bobbin and needle to discover it was partly jammed. I took out the bobbin case, and other two parts to find they were a bit rusty. After the needle was removed it would turn but was still pretty stiff. No foot control could be found but I could see it took a standard pin configuration and I had several at home. There were enough accessories in the storage compartment to more than pay for the low cost of this machine, now 40% off.
Montgomery Wards YHT-J1947
Then I spied a white plastic sewing machine extension table with a price sticker on it. Should I pick it up? Would it fit a machine I already had or would hope to have? I looked around and found a Brother XL-3750 on another shelf with a price sticker on it. Thinking they should go together, I removed the front compartment and fit the table right up to it: perfect! Handwheel moved easily but no power cord yet the pin configuration is one I knew I had at home so I could try it out. They both came home with me for less than $10.

Brother XL3750 with extension table (I couldn't get it off at the store!)
Once home, the MW sewing machine had that familiar thunk thunk of a broken gear. I couldn't get the motor to stop straining and it just didn't take off. I did find an extra power cord and foot control and now needed to just take a look at what I feared was a broken gear. No broken gears. There was that yucky tan grease that is not at all fluid, heading towards solidifying so I scraped it out and replaced with Triflow lubricant, oiling the other areas with Triflow oil with Teflon. Still very little movement and the motor just didn't want to turn it over. I made an executive decision to let it sit overnight and maybe the Triflow will have worked its magic and it would be ready to go in the morning.

Before I even could take a shower this morning, I sat down at the MW sewing machine and turned it on, moved the handwheel, and hit the gas: she ran! Pretty smooth except for a light ticking sound that turned out to be the left cover what housed the light needed some adjustment. I couldn't wait to see if it would stitch so I put in a new needle, threaded her up and got it to sew. Not bad, small adjustments and she sewed better, even a zig zag stitch. I dialed other stitches but she wasn't going to do that yet. Looking under the hood I could see the fingers that read the stitch cam configuration were not engaged enough and it was more of the stiff tan lubricant holding up the works so I'll need to get out the hair and get things working better. As it turns out, this did not solve the problem because I noticed the dial wasn't turning just right. Yes, there was a broken plastic part on the gear so it wasn't turning for each type of stitch. It's such a small part but essential so I'm not sure what to do next. Should I just try to sell as a straight stitch and zig zag but no special stitches? Should I take that part out and see if I can glue it? Or maybe I should just strip it down and see what parts I can use from it.  See what I have started?
See the crack in the black plastic gear in the foreground?
My other gem-of-the-day has an even sweeter story. The Brother XL-3750 needed a power cord/foot control configuration that I had on another machine but I don't have an extra so that's going to cost...only $20! The missing accessories could cost more than that so this is pretty good news. After I get it threaded up and stitch, I can see it skips stitches pretty bad so I change the needle and check the top tension and find this time she sews just fine. It is so easy to use and the wide variety of stitches isn't too difficult to figure out how to dial to each one. They all work, utility stitches and stretch stitches. The extension table is handy but feels a bit flimsy compared to working on a table made for a sewing machine but it is handy and I realize its all what you get used to. More clean-up is needed inside of the machine, at least the bobbin area needs a good cleaning, but what a gem for a lightweight plastic machine that retails for $200 and can be bought now for around $100. This will make a nice beginners or a travel machine so I plan to make a carrying bag for it so the accessories are kept with the machine as well as the awkwardly large extension table. Now I'll need to order that power cord/foot control and she's nearing completion.

Brother XL3750 without extension bed: compact!
Wow, what a day when I've said no more machines but sometimes you just have to look and then it leads to bringing them home. Can I spell A-D-D-I-C-T-I-O-N? But it's fun when your addiction turns into a small business, too. Isn't that why you are reading this, too?

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