Saturday, June 17, 2017

Industrial Strength Singers - part 2

I wrote a month ago about a Singer 31-15 and now it is finally ready to be returned, getting picked up tonight. Sigh. It was so much fun while it lasted and I would encourage you to try an industrial sewing machine without the motor using only a treadle. At least for me, to have a strong motor is pretty scary and the treadle still does the job but not at top speed. In my last report on this sewing machine I hadn't figured out what really needed to be done beyond cleaning and further cleaning showed me the broken or wrong presser foot and feed dogs. I could easily get new ones and even cheaply, so I went ahead and ordered a new set along with the DBx1 needles in size 16 and 18. I was all excited when they arrived but that was before I figured out how to get the feed dogs off. Actually, I ended up not getting them off since I broke the feed dog bar. That's right, it just snapped and I thought "You did it now..." until I found one online for under $20. I had to eat that $20 since I hadn't gotten that approved first and it was my mistake but at least there was one to buy. Here's what it looked like:
Singer 31-15 feed dog bar broken with feed dogs attached and new bar on right
But how to get all of this apart? It turned out to be a bit tricky but not as bad as it could have been. Although there were several ways it might come apart, I ended up taking the whole plate, bobbin, and hook out several times to get it all fitting back together:
Singer 31-15 without feed dog bar in place
When all was said and done and I went to sew with it I found out I had reversed the feed dog timing: instead of the needle coming down into the fabric when the feed dogs were in the furthest back position, they were too far forward. There is a way to adjust it but that screw was not going to move so I walked away to think about it for a day. Or two. And in the end I went back and undid the work to get it together and held the feed dogs in the correct position, not just the easiest one. After some more adjustments to raise the feed dogs I finally got it to sew perfectly. Whew! That was a real learning experience and I don't have to own the machine to enjoy how it works.
Singer 31-15 with new needle plate, feed dogs, and presser foot.
Ellie came to pick it up and to find a place for it while they pack up another shipment for Haiti in September. She also asked for towels and soap for people who stop by the center. Most of the time they come right out of the fields and jungle and are in need of a shower, which they have, but towels and soap would be welcome. She asked the right person since I had recently bought new towels and the linen closet was too full. I also had small bars of soap from various hotels and samples along with new toothbrushes. Before Ellie drove off she commented that she almost put this machine out for a free pick-up since it came to her in such a poor state. I'm sure I wouldn't have recognized it if I hadn't seen Henry's back in January. There is so much to learn but I'm having fun in the meantime!
Singer 31-15 treadle bound for Haiti

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