Showing posts with label Cleaning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cleaning. Show all posts

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

And the Singer 99K makes five!

Another new arrival at Oil and Thread.  Oops.  I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to do it.  I couldn't help it.  She was a local beauty, the price was right, I was weak.  Anyone will tell you these are excuses and not reasons and they'd probably be right but who could have resisted this little honey?  A 1935 Singer 99k, the bright work is unmarked and the black lacquer still has a deep gloss.

Singer 99k from front

The following were included with the machine
  • rigid straight stitch foot
  • adjustable hemmer foot
  • two class 66 bobbins
  • a couple of needles
  • Singer screw driver
  • correct instruction book
The key and the extension table are missing but as we all know a narrow screwdriver will open and lock the case with impunity and I can live without an extension table until fate is kind enough to send one my way.

Singer 99k hand crank from behind

The vendor told me that he had bought this machine from a sewing machine dealer, for his wife, in 1979.  I think she must have used it quite a bit because the bobbins were each wound with the statutory five different colours and there was a LOT of fluff behind the faceplate, around the hook and in the base.  I resorted to a vacuum cleaner and an old toothbrush.

With the fluff removed, oil in all of the usual places got shot of the slight squeak from under the machine bed.  The slide plate had been pulled off but was easy to replace by following the directions in the instruction leaflet.  The machine produced excellent stitches with balanced tension right from the word go.  It must have been well set up back in '79 because there was very little for me to do except get down to some sewing!

Singer 99k face plate
Not just a pretty face(plate).  The eagle eyed will notice that a binding foot has been fitted.  What can Mr G be up to?

Singer 99k bentwood case with logo transfer
The bentwood case is in more than fair condition but missing a key.  I will wax polish it someday I promise.

In closing today I am going to offer some buying advice.  This machine was offered for sale at auction at a tiny starting price.  I have seen similar on offer for ten and even twenty times what I paid for it.  My point?  Set a limit and then be patient.  There are a LOT of little black Singers out there in the world.  If you sit tight the right one will come and find you (almost).

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Singer 15K80 Makeover

Remember the crooked makeshift spool pin the 15K80 had when it arrived?  If not see the photograph on the left for a reminder.  The picture on the right was taken after I fitted the proper Singer part.  Fitting turned out to be very easy.  The most important thing was making sure I got the correct hole.  I didn't want to end up blocking up an oiling point with the pin!  I couldn't find the rubber-faced mallet so I gently tapped the new pin home with a steel claw hammer.  Probably not to be recommended but I was very careful.  As well as being the right size and shape the spool pin is firmly fixed.  It's a small thing but I think it really improves the aesthetics of the machine.  The difference in reality is probably more marked than in my pictures.

Although I am not the number one fan of the blond wood base this machine currently resides in I am pleased with the way it has cleaned up.  I used fine grade steel wool and Black Bison wax.  This removed dirt, white marks (which might have been plaster of paris or poster paint. I have been told that this machine spent some of its life in a primary school) and even imparted a slight shine.  It has improved the appearance (and smell) of the base so much I am tempted to try the technique on the case that my 28K came in.  The 'coffin lid' is so dirty and dull I doubt that anything I do to it could make it  look worse.

Those of you who have been following the progress of the Singer 15K80 since it's arrival will remember that I had concerns over the authenticity of the hand crank fitted to it.  The decoration on the crank does not match that of the pulley guard and machine bed.  I also have issues with the fit of the lug/finger thingy on the crank between the spokes of the balance wheel.

  1. the lug/finger thingy seams too narrow for the space between the spokes of the hand wheel
  2. the lug/finger thingy is so long it fouls the bobbin winder when engaged.

This pic shows the hand crank taken from my 15K80 on the left and another Singer crank I managed to get hold of on the right.  It came from a 1936 Singer 99K someone was "breaking for spares".  Spot the difference.  The one on the right has a shorter wider lug.  The one on the left is exactly the same as the crank on my 28K.

Not all Singer cranks are the same

In the next picture take a good look at the brackets which hold the cranks to the body of the machine.  The 28K type [on the left] is shorter than the later type [on the right]  . The combination of shorter lug and longer bracket on the newer hand crank explains why the crank that came with this machine was fouling the bobbin winder.

All back together again and happily winding a bobbin with new navy blue Guterman's.

The new crank
  1. is plain black so it doesn't clash with the decoration elsewhere on the machine
  2. is a much better fit in the spokes of the balance wheel which results in quieter running
  3. doesn't foul the bobbin winder when it is engaged 
I think it's time the 15K80 was put through its paces sewing up a real project.  PJ pants anyone?

Saturday, 23 February 2013

More of the Singer 15k80

Here is the Singer 15K80 after some light cleaning.

Front of Singer 15k80 after cleaning

I used sewing machine oil and cotton wool balls to clean and polish the black japanning and gold decals.  Just a little oil gently lifts the muck and imparts a little shine and I am careful not to rub the decals too hard.  The general condition of the finish is really quite good.  One or two chips on the leading edge of the machine bed but nothing I won't be happy to live with.

Sweet Bird of youth.   Sorry about the camera shake I am still learning.

I use the same technique on the bright metal.  The throat and slide plates are as new but the rim of the balance wheel is less than perfect.

Underneath wasn't too mucky but bone-dry.  When was the last time this one saw oil?  I took the throat and face plates off and cleaned the feed dogs and presser and needle bars with an old toothbrush.

At this point, clean but not yet oiled, the machine turned freely but did not resemble the the smooth, quiet running, machines other sewers have described on their blogs.  I am new to Singer 15s so I wasn't sure what to expect.  My 201k whispers along the seams and hems but this 15 clattered.  I have read comparisons of the 201 with a Rolls Royce.  If my 201 is a Rolls then this 15 is a Model T Ford.

Now I love sewing machine oil.  It's like Doctor Good for machines.  When I oil a bone dry machine like this one I feel like I am working a little miracle.  I go right over the machine from slide plate to hand crank and from spool pin to shuttle looking for any points at which metal bears against metal and apply no more than a drop or two of oil.  Then I have the pleasure of:
"run[ning] the machine rapidly for a few moments (with the presser foot up) to work the oil into the bearings"
That's one of my favourite bits.  Listening to the machine becoming quieter and actually feeling it become smoother in operation.  In a matter of seconds the clattering is more like clicking and hey presto this sewing machine is running like a sewing machine.  The 15 is not as quiet as the 201.  I don't think I would expect it to be.  The design of the 201 is about 50 years younger than that of the original 15 after all.  I would say that this machine is now maybe just a shade quieter than my 28k.  Any 15 aficionados who can confirm this as a sign of good health please drop me a line.

By the way anyone thinking of recommissioning a neglected machine should make this excellent video by Lizzie Lenard compulsory viewing.  One can learn a lot from that wise lady!