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.


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