Thursday, 22 May 2014

Singer 128K Restoration - Work in Progress


If you have been reading my blog, you will know that I made a rash purchase of two hand crank sewing machines, Singer 127K (already with its new owner after being sold on Ebay) and a Singer 128K which needed a more time consuming restoration.

Here she is before I started to clean her.

She had a yellow/brown tinge to her which I think was nicotine film.  The recommendation for cleaning Singer paintwork is to use Singer oil but that didn't touch anything,  I reckoned that seeing it was only £10 it would be OK to use something a bit stronger and tried paraffin (Kerosene in USA), again this didn't get the yellow tinge off the decals so drastic action, used Mer car polish (which cleans as well as polishes) which took off a lot of muck judging by the colour of the cloth and the decals came up brighter gold instead of the brown/yellow film.    Then I read on the net that someone had cleaned their machine with Dr. Bronner Castile soap so got some, put a few drops in warm water and tested it out on the machine with a soft cloth, it brought another load of dirt off and the decals were brighter again, I dried each section as it was cleaned.

I must point out that the paintwork on this machine was in poor quality, the shellac varnish had started to break down before I did anything to it, I don't recommend that anyone uses the same on their machines.  I was very gentle when cleaning the decals, and was prepared to stop if they started to flake off.

Everything on this machine was caked in dried oil, it was amazing that it still worked.  Started to scrub the mechanics in paraffin which did the trick.  Also used penetrating oil on the seized stitch length knob, bobbin winder, needle bar adjuster and to be honest almost every moving part underneath.  Used a craft knife to carefully scrape the congealed oil off which was very time consuming, then scrubbed with an old toothbrush dipped in paraffin.

Bits kept falling off, alright, I kept having to take bits off to get at them to clean, was hoping that I wouldn't have to do this but it was so hacky (yorkshire saying for really dirty).

You can see the damage to the shellac on the machine bed, there is nothing that can be done with this to make it better.

This is half way through cleaning the needlebar and foot bar with paraffin using a toothbrush making sure that the base was covered with a cloth to catch the drips.  I had to remove the tension assembly to give the disks a good clean which was scary putting it back together.

The back slide over the shuttle is stuck solid, not really sure how I am going to get this moving again so have put penetrating oil on it and will leave it for a week to see if that does the trick.  The needlebar thumb screw on the top which adjusts the pressure of the foot is totally stuck so again penetrating oil and leave it.

The oak base and benwood case were cleaned with wire wool dipped in Briwax which got most of the dirt off.  The domed case came up well, going to give it a few coats in Briwax so that it has a good shine.

This machine will never be pristine but hopefully will be able to sew with it again.  Its been a great learning curve, had to keep telling myself if it all went wrong, the machine could be broken up and sold as parts.

Will let you know how I get on.


Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Victorian Work Table - Auction Buy


Well, I have been at it again!  Buying at local auction on the internet without checking the item out first.

Spotted this and thought that I couldn't afford it but when it didn't sell and was put in the next auction,  I  left an absentee bid.

I won the bid and went to collect it but when I got there, it was very wobbly one of the supporting legs had pulled away from the bottom of the drawer runner.   Initially, I was going to use it to display one of my Singer machines but if anything had been put on it, it would have collapsed sideways.  The top was badly marked with water, there was a burn mark on it and a couple of scuffs which had taken all the finish off it. One of the decorative finials was missing along with the original sewing basket that hung below the drawer.

 On the plus side, it was solid mahogany, with dear little knobs on the drawer and underneath the legs still had the original brass castors.   As usual, I forgot to take a photo of all the damage close up.  I was a bit disappointed and thinking it was a dud but when I got my mahogany furniture touch up pen to fill in the light marks, then gave a really good polish with Briwax, began to quite like it again.  The damage to the joints were well beyond my very limited skills at furniture restoration so I took it to Randal at  He was a star, while Julie his wife and I went to the Harrogate Flower Show, he took the joints apart and re-glued them, turned a matching finial to replace the missing one, fixed the loose knob on the fake drawer at the back.  He advised me not to use it for displaying my heavyweight machines as the joint has been repaired several times before including someone trying to fix it with hot glue.  Its going to go in the entrance hall where it will look very pretty and sweet.

So what I thought to be a dud turned out to be a little gem.  Not bad for £45 plus commission.

What a super job Randal made of the finial, he is so clever.

Its a Victorian Work Table around 1860ish (not quite sure), good quality mahogany with really fine dove tail joints in the drawer.  I don't have many true antiques so I will treasure this one.  Randal said that if I wanted to refinish the top with french polish, I should cover the top with methylated spirit and put a match to it, which sounds horrifying, apparently this takes the old finish off. Think that if I decide to get it re polished, I will leave it to the experts!

The oak hall chair was bought at an antique fair, I think its Victorian, the canework is in good condition and I made the cushion pad to fit.


Saturday, 10 May 2014

Cozy Cover for Singer 201K


Been busy playing with my new 201K, its really fast compared with the Featherweight.  Getting more used to the knee controller and quite like using it.

Made a cover for the 201 to protect it from the sun, don't want the paint to fade or the oak base so the cover fits over the machine and base.  Used vintage Laura Ashley curtain fabric which is a nice firm cotton, I put a white cotton lining in it and finished with pretty pink bias binding edge at the bottom. I wanted a snug fit on the base so had to play a around with my pattern to get it to fit.  Finished it off with vintage Mother of Pearl buttons and a dinky scissor label made from printed ribbon.

While I was on, made matching Sew Tidy (aka Thread Catcher), ironing pad and drawstring bag for the power cord.  I like things to match.


Sunday, 4 May 2014

Singer 127 and 128 Sewing Machines - Oooops


Note - I had to change this blog as I got the model number wrong, DOH.  They are 127 and 128 not 27/28.

I've done it again, bought two, yes two old singers.  Must be bonkers, need more sewing machines not!  Went to the pub on Friday had a couple of wines, got talking to someone from down the village who is into motorbikes, somehow got talking about sewing machines and it turns out he had a couple of Singers he wanted shot off so on Sat morning went to look!  Fatal.  To make matters worse they were handcranks with bullet vibrating shuttles so not something I needed at all.  But never having touched a vibrating shuttle machine before (gosh that sounds so wrong when I type it) I gave him a small amount of money and came home with them.  So instead of gardening at home, I started to clean them up.

Didn't have a clue which models I had or how to use them.  Started by looking up the date numbers, one was 1917 and the other was 1931.  Took me a while to find out what the models were.  Turns out they are 127 and 128, one is larger than the other.  The smaller one has the bigger number, which I find confusing, Singer for some unknown reason, made smaller versions of a machine then gave it a higher number, like the 66 and 99's, (99 being 3/4 of the size of the 66).  While I am on the confusion topic, the shuttle doesn't vibrate (or oscillate) at all, its carrier is on pivot and it swings from side to side.

This one is the 127, the larger of the two and looks the youngest but it turns out its the oldest, it was made in 1917.  Unfortunately it came without it's lid.

This one is the 128 which is 3/4 smaller, its got more ornate decals and is much prettier.  Its got its original bent wood case but the lock is stuck open so will have have to source a key for it.  There is a full set of Singer feet with it which all need a wash and brush up.

Cleaned and oiled the 127 first as that needed the least work, the mechanical bits are in super condition as it had been well oiled by a previous owner so hadn't rusted despite spending many years in a garage.

Here it is finished.  Its going on Ebay this afternoon for the price it cost me and hopefully, someone will buy it and love it.

Really must do the garden today but the 128 keeps asking for a clean and oil!  She is feeling left out!

Update - just found out why the 127 looks later than the 128, it has been refurbished sometime between 1935 and 1953.  Apparently, you could part exchange your sewing machine out of your treadle for an new electric one, then the Singer dealer would refurbish the old machine with new japanning, new paper clip decals, new plain faceplate and remove the old gold singer badge to replace it with a silver Singer badge. They would then put them in a none Singer base with a wooden cover over the accessory storage compartment.   It's been bugging me as to why it was so plainly decorated so had a hunt on the net to find out.

The difference between these machines and the earlier 27 and 28 is the bobbin winder which is near the wheel on the 127/128s, also they have a little ejector button to push out the shuttle of its carrier.

Sharon the mad.