Monday, February 29, 2016

Sewing machine project

I'm still gloating over my great treadle sewing machine, but yesterday I started to realize just how very DIRTY it actually is. I took the faceplate off the front, and ewwww... Brownish-black, greasy, and FURRY with dust and lint! It was kept oiled, but I don't think it was cleaned very often, if ever.


I got out my can of Nev-R-Dull metal cleaner: it's not a cream, it's a thick roll of chemical-soaked cotton. You pull off bits of it to clean the grime off metal. Canadian Tire has it in the automotive section. Through a lot of rubbing, I managed to get a lot off the discoloration off the plate. It's now nice and shiny. But there's still the interior of the machine to deal with.

I've ordered a book from Amazon.ca on cleaning and fixing old sewing machines. We're still about 2 months away from being able to do anything in the garden, so this will keep me busy for the interval.

I did find one thing was damaged - not with the sewing machine, but with the cabinet. I couldn't figure out why the little side plate next to the machine wouldn't stay up when the machine was lifted up out of the case. I finally saw that there was a strong spring right at the back that didn't appear to be connected to anything. The end of that spring has broken off; it's supposed to stretch out like a finger underneath the side plate. When the machine is lowered down into the case, the weight of the machine holds it down. When the machine is lifted up, the spring holds the plate up in position. All I have to do is replace the spring.

I've looked on eBay, but so far all I see are spring/plate units for sale which, with the shipping, would cost almost as much as the whole cabinet and machine cost me at the auction! No way am I going to pay that much for a spring. If necessary, I'll just leave the plate hanging down into the cabinet; it's not essential for the operation of the machine, it just serves as a sort of dust protector and (I think) keeps the leather belt from slipping off the machine and falling down into the case when the machine is lowered. Putting the belt back on is not much trouble.

What I think I'll do, though, is keep prowling through thrift shops and this summer go to more auctions, and see if I can find a cast-off cabinet with that spring mechanism intact. I could probably buy one for $10 or less, take the spring and throw the rest of it away. It's by far the most economical plan.

Meanwhile, I don't have a very good picture of the cleaned-up front plate, because it reflected the flash, but here's what it looks like after a simple attempt to take off the surface grime. Once I get my book, I'll go at it more seriously.

Oh, and one nice thing I discovered: all the attachments that came with my 201K sewing machine (the one I got for ONE DOLLAR CANADIAN) at an auction last year!) also fit the older model 15! So now I have additional feet, besides the one original one it came with.

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