Showing posts with label Spool pin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Spool pin. Show all posts

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?

Thursday, 7 March 2013


I like parcels.  Even if I have a fair idea of what they are going to contain.  Yesterday when I got home there was a red and white card on the mat telling me that the postman had something for me.  Hurrah!  I clattered around to the sorting office as fast as my brogues would carry me and came home with this.

The return address is a giveaway.  A parcel from Helen Howes can mean only one thing.  My sewing machine goodies have arrived.  My experience of Helen is that she is very good at getting things out to her customers in a hurry.

And she wraps things up very well too!  Can you tell what it is yet?

Some will know exactly what this is, what it's for and where it goes.  I didn't think I would ever actually get to see/own one.  These two little drawers are the tool boxes which would have been supplied with the Singer 401G 'portable' when new.  My 401 came with a few useful bits and bobs (not least the walking foot) but was missing the original tool box.  I have been adding to the 401G's kit as and when things have appeared.  The hearing aid beige plastic tool  drawers tone perfectly with the case that mine came in and it has a rather clever trick up its sleeve.  More of that to follow at a later date.  There's still more bubble wrap to get through today.

I just couldn't bear the idea of buying the tool drawers without something to put in it.  This is an adjustable slotted binder made to fit Singer slant shank machines.  It makes me want to run up an apron or a table runner.

There were more goodies in the parcel.  This time for the 15K80

New 15 class bobbins and a second hand spool pin of the correct pattern it's a perfect match for size and shape with the spool pin under the 15K80's bobbin winder.  Now I need to dig out the rubber-faced mallet.  It was last seen on a camping trip to Cornwall two summers ago and is probably stowed with the tent pegs.

Monday, 25 February 2013

Room for improvement?

Now that the Singer 15K80 is clean, lubricated and forming acceptable stitches my thoughts return to some of the things which make this machine feel a little odd to me.

The first is probably going to be the easiest to sort out.  Look at this:

Singer 15K80 spool pins, stitch length control, bobbin winder and balance wheel
Notice how slender and wonky the upper spool pin is?  I think that this is because it's not a spool pin at all!

A nail maybe?

The "spool pin" is loose and was easily lifted out of the top of the machine.  This is an impostor!  It's actually a pretty rough piece of steel standing in the place of a spool pin.  Oh well.  I guess it shouldn't be too difficult to pick up a genuine part like the nice stout straight one below the bobbin winder.  I think I will have to check out that well known on line auction site.

There's something else.  It's not so easily spotted and maybe something the machine and I will have to persevere with for the moment at least.  I will try and show you.

If you look closely at this overhead shot of the balance wheel and hand crank you may notice that the decals on the machine bed and pulley guard do not match those on the top of the hand crank.  In use it soon becomes apparent that the fit of crank in the spokes of the balance wheel isn't great either.  If anything it's rather loose.  I have the feeling that the crank is from an older machine a 27 maybe?

Well we all know that vintage machines get modified don't we?  So... I wonder did this machine start life as a hand crank and get separated from the original somehow?  Was this the result of conversion to an electric motor?  Perhaps this unit started life in a treadle?  Does anyone know if the answer to this mystery lies in serial number records?

When I first brought this machine home I had a vague idea that I might somehow use it for free-motion quilting.    There's a lot of chat on line about how great Singer 15s are at that kind of work.  I know that the 15K80 lacks dropping feed dogs but I have read that this isn't too much of a handicap if the stitch length is set to 0 stitches per inch.  However I would still need to loose the hand crank on this particular example or try growing a third arm!  I wonder if it would fit in the treadle cabinet that my 201K came in.