Saturday, February 28, 2015

Singer Restoration Saturday - Model 127 Disassembly

Last week, my husband, Larry, posted some of the milestones of refurbishing a neglected vintage sewing machine, taking it from boat anchor (or barn decoration, or attic tenant) to bare metal chassis to (almost) finished, working machine. This week, Larry will walk you through the steps required to get the machine from its initial condition, to moving freely again, and ready to paint.  Take it away, Larry!


First, I had to remove the exterior plates and knobs.  Many of these parts originally had a shiny chrome finish, and should not be painted like the body of the machine.  Also, they will expose inner parts that may need to be removed and cleaned to make the mechanism run smoothly.

Here are before and after pictures, side by side, for each step in the initial disassembly:

Arm Rock Shaft exposed
Arm Cover Plate

Slide Plates and Needle Plate
Slide Plates, Needle Clamp, and Presser Foot removed, exposing Shuttle Holder 

Balance Wheel

Balance Wheel Removed, exposing Bobbin Winder and aged Bobbin Winder Tire

Front View of Bobbin Winder

Bobbin Winder removed

Trapezoidal Plate and 
Thread Tension Regulator
Trapezoidal Plate and Thread Tension Regulator
removed, Needle Bar Cam exposed

Underside - Feed Rocker Shaft (lower) and Shuttle Pitman Shaft (upper)
Underside, Shuttle Pitman Shaft and Feed Rocker Shaft disconnected

Shuttle Pitman Shaft, Feed Rocker Shaft and Feed Dog Carrier parts
At this point, I needed to get the internal parts under the Face Plate out, but they were frozen in place. First, I marked the rods where the clamps held them, so I could put them back in the same configuration when reassembling.  Marking the rods now is essential to properly restore the timing of the sewing machine; no machine will stitch correctly if its timing is off.  After cleaning out the gunk inside this area (mostly old oil and thread lint), it took multiple applications of WD-40 and patience to loosen the Presser Foot Rod and Needle Rod so they could be extracted.

Face Plate removed (upper), exposing Presser Foot Rod and Spring,
Needle Rod, and Thread Take-up Lever

Face Plate removed (lower), exposing Presser Foot Rod, 
Needle Rod, Presser Foot Lifter and Thread Tension Regulator
Finally, the two rods came out, and I was able to get the main arm shaft moving again. Yay! The pencil in the picture below is pointing at a small washer that goes on the little cam, reminding me where to put that little bitty thing when putting everything back together.
Presser Foot Rod and Needle Rod removed
Finally I reached the point of diminishing returns, meaning I got to a part that I couldn't get loose (the pin that keeps the Arm Shaft in), and I decided I didn't need to remove it to start painting. Everything still left on the machine already moved freely, and could be covered up to keep the paint off.

Next I started stripping the old paint.  I applied paint stripper, let it work a bit, then wiped and scraped the nasty gunk off.  There was still a good bit of paint left on (they used some pretty tough stuff back then) so I repeated the process. Again and again.  Finally, I got enough off that I was down to the bare metal.  Consider this a cautionary tale, this process was so time-consuming and not fun that I decided to consider a different approach for the next machine. Sand-blasting is definitely a faster and better approach.

Chassis taken down to the bare metal

Next week: time to start painting!


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