Saturday, November 17, 2018

The Twenty-Nine Cent Wonder

I buy a lot of sewing machines. I have many donated to me. And sometimes I get a bargain basement deal that turns out ... surprising.

This past week I went to our Goodwill E-Commerce building to pick up an Elna SU62 I won on their auction. It was a super deal and I could pick up locally so I planned it for a Wednesday morning when I could go into work late (because I worked the early evening shift) and take advantage of the senior discount. That's a whopping 25% off when shopping at their outlet store right next door. I found a few things but the two sewing machines they had set aside for $5.99 each were not stellar models so I just kept shopping. Along the way I spied two sewing machines that were in with all of the usual stuff but had no foot controls and were both somewhat stripped down. I kept shopping until I checked the pricing sign: electronics were 29 cents each. Really? I went back and picked up a Kenmore 158-1340 that was in so-so shape and possibly could still be useful. At the check out I confirmed that it would only be 29 cents and the young woman got a big smile when I got excited about my deal-of-the-day.

Once home I got to checking it over and couldn't figure out why the needle bar wouldn't go up or down and only moved a little bit. There wasn't anything in the way in the bobbin area and parts were missing from that area anyway so less to get jammed. The presser foot pressure dial was missing but I had more of those, and the tension unit was missing parts. As I picked it up to better see, I heard a clinking sound and found one of the missing tension disks was inside the machine near the needle bar, preventing it from moving up or down. Once removed the needle bar move just fine. A little cleaning, oiling, adding those missing pieces, including a power cord and foot control, and we were in business. Here's what I added:
Tension assembly
Shuttle hook
Race Cover
Bobbin case, bobbins
Pressure regulator
Light bulb
Power cord and foot control
New tension assembly in place and presser foot pressure thingy

Shuttle hook and race cover in place

All were pretty standard and I thought I might even have the extension table but I didn't find it with all of the others so chances look slim. I did have to try out a couple different tension assemblies to find one that was compatible but with some testing and adjustments it stitched just fine. Not every machine is worth rescuing but these old Kenmore's are sturdy, basic, and easy to use. Did I mention it was only 29 cents? That was a big win-win and someone will get a good no-frills sewing machine that's a nice bargain, too.
Kenmore 158-1340: a ready to go
Next up was the Elna SU62, the purpose for my visit to the outlet. It came in the blue metal carrying case, complete with foot control and power cords but sans any accessories. At first the stitching would only jam things up so I took off the needle plate to find thread caught up in the bobbin area plus a ton of linty stuff. Even after cleaning out the fluff it wouldn't stitch but the thread kept getting caught. Once I took the drop-in bobbin case out, held in with only two screws, I could see a large piece of thread caught in it. In the end I had to take most of it apart to get that thread out but now it was super clean and ready to sew again.

Elna SU62 feed dogs and bobbin area exposed (after cleaning)
It stitched very nicely and needed very few adjustments. I already have a set of accessories for an Elna SU, including many of the coveted cams for decorative stitches, so she will be ready to go to a new home very soon. That blue metal case was in excellent condition and I used my new Gojo to clean off the dust and give it a bit of a shine.
Elna cams and accessories

Very portable with accessories neatly tucked under the free arm
Elna SU62 ready for a new owner
A trip to Goodwill to pick up an auction item can sometimes turn out to have a bonus: a 29 cent machine discounted to less than a quarter of a dollar. Sweet.

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