The Sewing Place

How practical a buy?

Marniesews

How practical a buy?
« on: May 08, 2017, 20:34:45 PM »
I found this Singer 201K in a village shop and was rather taken with it although the metal lid of the compartment has a badly rusted area. It comes with some tools and appears to be in immaculate condition. It's been put on sale by the family of the original owner (1949).

Question. 1. How good a price is £75 do you think? I've seen some others in reasonable nick with more or fewer attachments for around £60 but not local. The shop said they'd take an offer, but what would be a fair offer?

Question 2. I'm not wild about the hand crank as I much prefer to have two hands on the work. I'd consider converting to electric and would love a treadle but I be better to look for an existing electric one at this price?

Question 3. How easy is it to find a treadle that would fit this machine?

Question 4. It seems to move smoothly although the price label is stopping a complete rotation. It's not set up to try it out but how foolish would it be to buy it without insisting on trying it out first?
Aka Jacky F in a former life...

BrendaP

Re: How practical a buy?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2017, 11:21:15 AM »
It all looks to be pretty OK but if it's in a shop and they are serious about selling it it's not at all unreasonable to ask that the label be untied so that you can test run it.  The price seems fair.

That label says semi industrial use, which is not proper industrial use; continuously turning for 8-10 hours a day, 6 days a week is proper industrial.  The hand cranks might take that although an electric wouldn't.  What they really mean is professional use.  Being the top of Singer's domestic range for a couple of decades these were the machines favoured by many dressmakers who stitched for their living.

It's correct in saying 1949
http://ismacs.net/singer_sewing_machine_company/serial-numbers/singer-ef-series-serial-numbers.html
Brenda.  My machines are: Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born in 1940, Thirza a Featherweight 221K born 1949, Azilia a Singer 201K born 1957 and and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.
http://paternoster.orpheusweb.co.uk/

BrendaP

Re: How practical a buy?
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2017, 11:24:36 AM »
If an electric or treadle is what you really want then leave this one and keep looking.  They are not that rare.

There are always old machines on eBay, Pre-loved and Gumtree etc. 
Brenda.  My machines are: Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born in 1940, Thirza a Featherweight 221K born 1949, Azilia a Singer 201K born 1957 and and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.
http://paternoster.orpheusweb.co.uk/

Marniesews

Re: How practical a buy?
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2017, 13:12:26 PM »
If an electric or treadle is what you really want then leave this one and keep looking.

Thanks Brenda. You're right. Perhaps it was the combination of a nice machine and a husband who was quite happy for me to buy it that nearly overwhelmed me!  That bodes well for the future I suppose and shouldn't waste the opportunity.  ;)
Aka Jacky F in a former life...

arrow

Re: How practical a buy?
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2017, 18:11:44 PM »
Here the electrical 201s are the most common, either in a domed case or various cabinets. I have seen a few treadles and hand cranks too. The 201s I have seen first hand have a few signs of age and wear, but within acceptable and still nice looking. Some were dirty though, and in need of a few replacement parts.  The one you have pictures of is very nice, decals seem to be intact, just a couple of minor scratches. The last nearly flawless 201 I noticed a few months ago were a hand crank, early type decor, clean, shiny, almost like new. It had a green metal accessory box, domed lid wooden case. The guy who sold it wanted £150 for it, the add was up for months, I don't know how much it selled for. I think it was down to £75 there in the end, I almot bought it. If you want a machine that's seen very little use, or have particular decals, or feature you might have to pay more, maybe convert to motor and lights, or buy a second machine to get a different cabinet, etc. If you have time and patience I'm sure what you are looking for will turn up.

I hate to see machines scavenged for parts, and then thrown in the garbage. I don't mind gently swithching things around, cleaning and a bit of fixing; then another person get's a chance to have a nice 201, 15 or 66. They are appreciated for their individual advantages, many have a 15 as their favorite. It looks like we put a bit of effort into these old machines, clean them up, keep the one we like and pass the second on to the next person. Very few turn up clean and oiled. These machines aren't made any more, so we have to treat the ones in reasonably good condition well.

Marniesews

Re: How practical a buy?
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2017, 00:31:39 AM »
Some interesting thoughts there, Arrow. I've seen some electrical ones on Gumtree & ebay but not local to me and I'd like to try it first. I do keep thinking about the handcrank and wondering how expensive it would be to convert it to electricity and add a light.

Has anyone done this and have advice? I hasten to add that I wouldn't attempt it myself, I'd get my husband to do and then get it safety checked afterwards. That might not sound quite as I meant it - he has a good safety record!  :|
Aka Jacky F in a former life...

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Re: How practical a buy?
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2017, 14:01:51 PM »
It's easy to fit on the motor and light set as a DIY project. There's a screw and a bracket that fits where the hand crank is. The lamp needs a small bracket and screw, and goes behing the round plate in the back. It is a bit more cumbersome to rewire a machine with original motor and Singer lamp. I had my 99 in for rewiring and I have never regretted it. These days I feel up to the job my self, because of all the help and info on the web.

I think someone bought a fully rewired set of original Singer motor and lights from Helen Howes, and her prices are reasonable. She will take the machine in for converting too, as well as most repair shops (you might have to supply the parts your self). New sets of YDK motor and light can be found on ebay and other places. These work well, but in my experience, they  don't really have as high amp and watts as they claim to have. After seeing two versions of these motors first hand I had the old motor rewired in stead; it cost just as much but it was the same color as the machine, less noisy and it works just as well. The new motor sets are a bit faster, but for some reason they are not stronger (the punch power of the needle turns out much the same on layers of heavy material).

Either way, sooner or later a nice 201 with motor and lights will turn up, those are the most common I think. A treadle 201 will turn up too. Most machines are not too worn and in nice conditon, but be prepared for very dirty and lots of cleaning and oiling, some come straight out of 50 or 20  years of storage or something like that.  My 201 wasn't very dirty externally, just need a clean up, the bobbin case was full of hard packed lint and dust. My beige 201 had these brownish stains all over (oil that turns dark with time), but cleaned up perfectly.

This one has the chrome plates I am looking for. It has an odd looking motor and light, probably coverted around 1960, maybe a bit earlier. It's in very clean and nice condition, it will be interesting to see what it goes for.
« Last Edit: May 10, 2017, 14:21:00 PM by arrow »

Marniesews

Re: How practical a buy?
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2017, 20:25:15 PM »
I'm still interested in this 201 but I'd like to know how easy it is to convert a hand crank to electricity. Is it something we can do ourselves (my husband is very good with electrics) and then get it tested? If so, can you suggest a source for an appropriate motor as I'm wondering if it would be a financial option rather than just waiting for an electric model to come up that's in as good a condition with attachments.

Many thanks for the help.
Aka Jacky F in a former life...

Snowgoose

Re: How practical a buy?
« Reply #8 on: May 11, 2017, 22:59:39 PM »
That is a lovely machine!

If you search eBay for item number 142058147788 this gives you the motor and pedal.  It's very, very easy to do - I have replaced an old motor on one 201, and done the reverse on another, swapped the motor for the hand crank!  It just bolts on, no wiring needed  :). I'm not sure about the light though, as I prefer to use a seperate flexible table lamp.

If it were me, I would try an offer of fifty pounds!  It does look in wonderful condition, and I think £70 is a very good price for it.

Hand cranks are a joy  :). I think you would very soon wonder how you lived without it  ;)

Buy it - you know you want to  :angel:  I'm sure this beautiful  :vintage: has your name on!
'You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.'
Robert Louis Stevenson

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Re: How practical a buy?
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2017, 01:18:58 AM »
If you are still thinking about it, maybe this is the one to start with :- )

The new motor sets can be found on ebay, they are generic and made to fit several vintage models, the 201 included. Make sure the motor turns anti-clockwise; it should ideally include motor with bracket and a lamp. The light is often separate, but it's nice to have it all wired to the main socket on the machine. If you aim for the very lowest price you can find on the new Chinese motor set ups you can end up with a very light build (to say the least). I have seen electrical wire that looks like the gereral standard, but have a few very thin strands of copper wire inside, still with all the EU approval marks. The different motors aren't all exactly the same this way. I'm sure you will find a repair shop near you that carries them and have found a reasonable quality they trust, the same with a good ebay seller.

You could contact Helen Howes and ask if her husband have a fully serviced and assembled motor and lights set up. It's well worth the money even if it costs a bit. I could just not accept a white motor on my old 99, so I insisted on having it regreased and rewired in stead, I have never regretted it.

And yes, I am sure your husband is up to it. There is very good info on how to do it on the web. I was a bit worried before I had opened the first motor too, but you easily understand how it works. There are wiring diagrams available if needed. If you end up buying motor, light, pedal and plugs separately it will be more expensive than if you can find it in one or two purcheses. I bought my 201 for about £65, and about £40 in replacement parts; this could have been less if I ordered correct parts right away (people like Helen Howes is a good help there), but you sort of don't know until you have everything up and running. I have never regretted the time and money I spent on my 201s, they are my favorite and my first choice for most jobs.



Marniesews

Re: How practical a buy?
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2017, 12:33:48 PM »
Thank you Arrow & Snowgoose for keeping me looking. I've struggled to find information on converting a hand crank to electric power although there's lots of it on going to a hand crank from both electric and treadle. I've found the attached pdf although that is for a 99K and starting with a different wheel type. Now I know it's there on the web I'll get my husband on the trail, he'll probably think of better search descriptions than I'm using.

Thank you for the ebay item Snowgoose! It's actually from a local supplier to me and I had no idea they did vintage bits and pieces - never seen any in their showroom or reference on their website, so I'll give them a call.

I've also found an electric one for sale that does need a bit of cleaning up and is currently at a low bid so I may make a small bid and see if that one's destined for me. We'll see...
Aka Jacky F in a former life...

arrow

Re: How practical a buy?
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2017, 13:29:47 PM »
Don't be too hesitant to pay around £50 for a reasonably complete machine that needs a bit of attention. That's the sort of general price they go for. That said, used machine can go for less and more. Clean, newly rewired and fully serviced they are more like £150. If you are up to a DIY service it will easily lower the price to £40-50. I know some have been handed over a very nice vintage machine for free just because they knew he or she was looking for one and needed it. Be prepared to spend a bit of time and money on a machine straight out of storage, it's usually more time than money though, and minimum expense tend to be a bottle of oil, motor belt and bobbin tyre, ca. £12.

Marniesews

Re: How practical a buy?
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2017, 18:46:55 PM »
i didn't win the auction machine and my husband decided we should get the original hand crank that I saw because it was in such nice condition (apart from the compartment lid and he's already found another) while he does some reading up on converting to electricity. He thinks, as it's our first one, it makes good sense to start with a good machine and convert it rather than buy one that's not in as good condition and perhaps need to replace much if not all of the electrics anyway. I see his point.

So after our shopping this afternoon we popped out to the village where the machine is - only to find the shop had closed 10 minutes beforehand!!!  :\ The machine was still visible through the window and there's a vintage fair on in the village tomorrow so we'll be off nice and early to be first through the door before the vintage fans arrive. Wish us luck.  ;)
Aka Jacky F in a former life...

BrendaP

Re: How practical a buy?
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2017, 21:19:31 PM »
🍀  🍀  🍀
Brenda.  My machines are: Caroline a Singer 201K-3 born in 1940, Thirza a Featherweight 221K born 1949, Azilia a Singer 201K born 1957 and and Vera, a Husqvarna 350 SewEasy about 20 years old. Also Bernina 1150 overlocker and Elna 444 Coverstitcher.
http://paternoster.orpheusweb.co.uk/

Snowgoose

Re: How practical a buy?
« Reply #14 on: May 13, 2017, 09:05:56 AM »
Fingers crossed for you  8). I do hope that you are lucky and are able to bring her home - good luck!  :)
'You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.'
Robert Louis Stevenson