Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Double Your Trouble

There are some makes of Sewing machines that are always good: Bernina, Singer (before 1968), Kenmore (before 1980), and others. Then there are some I'm a bit skittish about: Viking, Pfaff, and Elna to name a few. Why? You never know what you are going to find: broken gears, cleated belts, and other things I'm reluctant to work with. If I have a good model in hand I can give it my best and that's what's happening with the Pfaff model I recently acquired.
Pfaff 297 sewing machine
It was Goodwill Auction again where I got the Pfaff 297 with free local pick-up. It came pretty dirty but all of that cleaned up and it ran pretty good except for a familiar thumping. I've heard that before but couldn't quite place it. Taking the top off and peering inside I could see the beautiful cleated belt that was intact. The cam shifter and gears are plastic but they didn't have any cracks in them either. So what was the thumping noise all about? Take a look:
Pfaff 297 looking down on the cream colored cam gears, motor on the right.

The motor is upright along the right side of the sewing machine and there on the top of the motor is a friction wheel. This is a rubber wheel that is usually seen outside of the casing of a sewing machine. It rests on the end of the moor and makes contact with the handwheel to engage the rest of the machine. So what was this friction wheel doing inside? Same thing, only under cover.
See that black cone shaped disk? It's the friction wheel.

This one had a flat side from sitting too long in the same place, a common occurrence. I checked to see if I could buy a new one but this wasn't going to be easy so I took the next best step: I filed the existing one with some emery cloth into a new smooth surfaced wheel.  It sounded much better, not quite like the loping horse, but I could still hear it. Maybe I could just hear the typical sound a friction wheel makes instead of the smoother sound of a belt driven sewing machine.

As per other Pfaff models of this era, it comes with a nice case that can be a tricky to open but once you know the trick it's easy:
Pfaff cover with lock that swings out to disengage
There are top compartments that open to store thread and bobbins on one side and attachments on the other:
Pfaff cover opens to reveal more storage for bobbins and presser feet.
Unfortunately, this model was before the IDT, the Pfaff walking foot system, but it's still a good sewing machine that stitches a standard variety of stitches. It's easy to use, performs well, and won't cost an arm and a leg. That's part of the reason why I like this vintage sewing machine hobby-turned-business: you can enjoy a quality sewing machine without paying the quality price! Well there are many reasons to love these old babes and cost is only one factor. But you knew that already, didn't you?




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