Thursday, November 10, 2016

Brotherly Love

I love my brother. Let's make that clearer: I love my Brother sewing machine. Not just any Brother sewing machine, but the Brother Select-O-Matic. There are several posts about my love of this model and I even got a pristine model only a few weeks ago and I'm having so much fun with it. My great enthusiasm led me to find another one somewhat accidentally. Be careful what you wish for!

For months I have been checking to see if anyone had one for sale only to find them for pickup only from Texas or something else I was unwilling to attempt. My recent find on the local Craigslist did not stop me from looking, though, and wouldn't you know it, one came up at Goodwill Online Auction! There was one bid so I waited. And waited. Getting nervous, I went ahead and bid. I didn't need this Brother sewing machine so why had I bid? Now I was hoping someone else would come along and outbid me. This isn't the usual phrase that runs through my mind so I felt more than a little conflicted. Coming right down to the wire...no other bids so it was mine, much to my chagrin. Even though it was coming from California the S&H was only about $20 plus they reported the sewing machine was only about 20 pounds. I knew it was just the head and not a wooden box case but my other ones were at least 30 pounds so maybe this was going to blow up on me with extra charges...what had I got myself into?
Before: Brother from auction ad: what's not to love?

Shipped via FedEx it was very slow to come but I finally got an email stating it was delivered only a couple days before the craft fair. With no time to spare, I only took it out of the shipping box to find the cam and zigzag dial on top was askew. Even though it was fully wrapped in bubble wrap, the box was somewhat flimsy for such a heavy object and it probably got tossed into a bin somewhere along the way. In order to assess the damage, I needed to take the top off but that meant unscrewing the cam mechanism. Well, the cam mechanism was unattached and loose in the inside, rattling around once I unscrewed it. From there I could see where it was supposed to be attached:
See the rough ledge at the back?

There should be a whole camstack right in there!

Camstack showing off the broken place
 This was not good news but I wracked my brain trying to remember what others had said would give a weld-like hold on broken part. Jen-Weld? JB Weld? After the craft fair I went to Menard's and checked out their adhesives (near the paint department) to find JB Weld: World's Strongest Bond. That's what I wanted, alright, so I got the original formula, none of this quick stuff. It was a two part epoxy:
One part of each: does this look close?
that got mixed together and then came the repositioning and holding in place. I think I went back three or four times to get this in the exact position, level, and precisely in place. When it was finally done I went back and attached one of the feet that had snapped off (now you can see how it had been abused in shipping.)
Broken leg but we didn't have to shoot her
 It had to cure for 24 hours so I left it for a good 48 hours before I tested it and put it all back together. It worked! Really, I never expected it to hold and figured it was a goner. Then I let myself start to clean her up and I do mean clean: every little piece of chrome, screw, and edge was cleaned and polished with Blue Magic TR-3 Resin car wax and Brasso metal cleaner.
Camstack now in place
Without the cover, here's how the camstack is screwed into place
 It was looking really nice so I threaded her up and tried sewing. It was terrible! I finally replaced the bobbin case, twice, before I found one that held some hope of making a nice stitch. It was finally working good but it's not over yet since it will have to prove itself by sewing something up, like maybe a little girl's dress. But in the end, it is working just fine, very quiet and smooth, just proving you can't keep an old gal down.
After: Brother Select-O-Matic in blue:        :

I was referring to the sewing machine, not myself. Yea, you knew that.

4 comments:

Rebecca Jones said...

I think you did a marvelous job on the Brother, Karen. Watching your transformations is an inspiration.

Jonathan said...

I didn't know you could fix a break like that. Thanks for posting.

Science Guy said...

Do you have or have you found a manual for this machine. I have one exactly like it and would love a manual.

Karen said...

Yes, I do have the manual so please send me an email and I can send you one. It's also on the Facebook page/group for Vintage Sewing Machines.