Monday, February 6, 2017

Trading Up

I love having long term relationships with my sewing machine buddies. Patty and I met when she was willing to come down to the Twin Cities from up near Duluth for a Singer 201-2 in a bentwood case as I wrote about in Among Friends. When I traded a Singer 101 for two Singer 201-2's, I knew the Centennial of the two was going to Patty. She previously told me she already had a Singer 201 Centennial but it wasn't in the best of shape and she was still looking for a better one and now I could help her out. It was very cold in the Home Depot parking lot when we traded sewing machines, not like my cozy kitchen in our last visit, but she was picking up ordered items then wanted to stop in to visit her sister before heading back north and this was going to be the quickest way. Both of us were happy when she got a better looking machine and I can easily sell her Singer 201-2:
Singer 201-2 Centennial (I know, it looks great!)

Patty has given me some good advice in the past and now she had another little tidbit that I'm going to follow up on. The bentwood cases have keys but it's hard to know where to put that key so it's handy and easy to use. I usually put it on a length of ribbon and hang it from the handle but that's not the greatest of ideas so Patty put hers on a type of key-chain holder that would easily snap off. Now I'm going shopping to see what I can find, possibly a key holder that has a retractable cord? I'll keep you posted.

After Patty and I parted I drove directly to Cabela's. No, I'm not hunting or fishing, but I did hunt down a Singer 15-91 and met a man at Cabela's to pick up this gem:
Singer 15-91 as it appeared in the ads
Yes, it was pretty dirty and with no cords but I didn't have one in my inventory but had someone interested in one so this seemed like a good deal. When I got it home I immediately looked at the cords and noted the foot control cord that was snipped off. In fact, the whole three prong receptacle was hanging off the side so I removed the snipped cord, screwed it all back into place and plugged it in with a cord set that was an "extra". Nothing. The light didn't turn on but I tried the foot control and the motor hummed but didn't want to move. That's okay, it was getting the power! So now the clean up process began. First I took the light off the back of the machine and put a new bulb in. After cleaning up the back of the machine I screwed the light back on, after testing to make sure it was just a dead bulb, and now we had light. I used TR3 Resin Glaze and Polish to carefully clean off the dirt, being careful around the decals but this machine had no compromise of the clear coat finish and cleaned up very nicely. When I got to the bobbin case I could see the thread jammed in there thinking this must be why the motor couldn't turn over. Sure enough, when it was all cleaned out and tested, she hopped right to it. Success! Just some more cleaning and checking on oil and grease conditions (it was pretty clean inside and grease wasn't even black) I oiled it with Triflow and cleaned old grease out and added petroleum jelly. That's right, good old Vasoline, as per Bill Holman and others who tell us not to use Triflow grease in a potted motor. I learned this the hard way when I regreased a potted motor and then found it running too slow. Bill says you need a light grease like Vasoline so that's what I use on a potted motor now. Everything back together, some tweaking of the wiring and cords and it's ready to stitch. She did a good job after some adjustments on the bobbin tension. Just look at her now:
Singer 15-91 after cleaning
She's dated as being labeled on September 23, 1952. Let's see, I would have been only two months old at the time so Mom, if you are reading this, try to remember back when you had your baby Karen plus two other little girls while living on a farm in Iowa. Was there canning to do at that time of year or was harvest in full swing or was Jane finally in school half days? I'm pretty sure you didn't have time for sewing, even if you had this fine machine at the time. It's fun to look back to remember what life was like and how it has changed, some for the good, some not so good. Yet change is right around the corner, isn't it?


Jonathan said...

I purchased a 15-91 last winter. Haven't worked on it yet. I had no idea petroleum jelly was good for the potted motor! Is it better than the standard Singer (grease) lube they sell in the tubes?

Karen said...

According to Bill, it's nearly identical to the original Singer grease. I don't like the stuff Singer now puts in tubes as grease.