The Sewing Place

Advice needed: restoration

Helen90

Advice needed: restoration
« on: January 02, 2018, 10:22:23 AM »
Hi Everyone,

I got given a vintage singer sewing machine and table and it needs a little love! It’s in pretty good condition, I mainly need to clean the iron treadle. I am completely new to this so any advice would be great! The iron also has gold paintwork so I don’t want to ruin that, but need to bring it out a bit more.

I’ve only been able to find products that are available in Australia at the moment!

Thanks 😊

Roger

Re: Advice needed: restoration
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2018, 10:38:45 AM »
Show us some pics! (Please!) then we can see your beautiful machine, as they’re all a bit different.

Also what are the problems? Is the treadle cable broken? Is the machine seized? Does it feel stiff? Anything else?

Thanks :)
A bit of a vintage sewing machine nut! Singers: 500a, 401g, 48k Elnas: lotus SP & grasshopper, Bernina 530-2 F+R 504, Pfaff 30, Cresta T-132

Helen90

Re: Advice needed: restoration
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2018, 11:01:28 AM »
At the moment I just want clean it up and get rid of the rust on the base. Possibly varnish/paint it?!

Iminei

Re: Advice needed: restoration
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2018, 12:27:51 PM »
Glad you found 'The Man' to talk to Helen .... LeilaMay is also worth chatting to, Im sure she will be along in a while!

Was it a Christmas Pres Helen ??? It looks so right sat near that beautiful tree!
The Imperfect Perfectionist sews again

Helen90

Re: Advice needed: restoration
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2018, 12:43:44 PM »
It was a Christmas present, I’ve been looking for one for so long! Thank you, I’m biased but I think it’s beautiful 😍

Madame Cholet

Re: Advice needed: restoration
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2018, 12:56:41 PM »
Here's a useful tutorial from the magnificent Helen Howes:

http://www.helenhowes-sewingmachines.co.uk/tutorials/treadlefettle.html

I have a 1914 Singer Treadle base in a closed cabinet, and I have been studying Helen's tutorial myself lately, as I'm hoping to clean and grease the cast iron treadle mechanism in the near future.
Although I do need a bit of a hand in lifting the whole thing onto my dining room table first...  :ninja:

Snowgoose

Re: Advice needed: restoration
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2018, 13:03:48 PM »
Beautiful  :)

I am in a similar position, I'm afraid the eBay bug overtook common sense and I have a beautiful treadle coming to me  :D  :D  :D

Don't use paint!  I clean iron treadle framework with a wire brush on a power drill (take the machine head out first!), and then use Liberon Iron Paste to polish it up with.  Best done in the garden, it's a messy job oh, and wear a dust mask when removing the rust  :)

If the framework has gold on it, the best to use is Treasure Gold wax - both the iron paste and wax are available on Amazon  :)

The machine I just carefully clean with warm water and a gentle soap followed by wiping every available bit with a quality sewing machine oil.  The sewing machine oil will help clean and free up the workings, too.

Have fun and please, lots of lovely pictures  :flower:
'You think dogs will not be in heaven? I tell you, they will be there long before any of us.'
Robert Louis Stevenson

arrow

Re: Advice needed: restoration
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2018, 19:13:10 PM »
I liked Helen Howes' tutorial (probably her husband's by the look of the hands). I didn't know the wheel arm (is that what they call pitman?) had ball bearings? I know some were ment to be oiled, they have a groove for the oil, some are better greased.

There are easy ways about it, like this youtube tutorial. It's on the minimal side and will keep most of the original look intact. Some do a total disassembly, rust removal, brush up and repaint from scratch. The original treadle irions I have seen have some shine to it, some have details in gold, maybe red and green too. To get the right finish it's important to get the right type of paint. Hammerite is an ovious choice for many, but it's much thicker paint than the original and often gives a lumpier result. Snowgoose's suggestion is probably better.

The machine is a model 15. They need regular oil, and often quite a bit of cleaning before they are up to their former glory again. It's a good model worth fixing up. Be carefull with the gold declas, The shiny metal parts usually shine up like new with the right polish (needle and presser bar, nickle / chrome finish on hand wheel, throat plate and bobbin cover). Your machine looks like it has a black face plate, the most chommon is chrome or nickle if it's made around 1920 or older. Helen Howes have new leather belts for the treadle.

Have you had the chance to look up the serial number on ismacs?

« Last Edit: January 02, 2018, 19:18:10 PM by arrow »

Roger

Re: Advice needed: restoration
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2018, 21:59:23 PM »
Oh that is lovely!

I don’t tend to ‘do Treadles’ so I’m not familiar with the bases, but I do love getting a machine working.

When it comes to the machine I like to use baby wipes (check for ingredients you want some parabens and ones that end in ‘ol, parabens are industrial cleaning chemicals and the ols are alcohols) these are great in the workings for cleaning off dried oil and grime, fluff etc and they’re gentle on decals and enamel, but don’t scrub. I also use toothpicks and toothbrushes for cleaning in the cogs and gears. Q-tips are great for swabbing with oil or wd40.

Use sewing machine oil as a lubricant especially the first time through as it’ll soften the grot and it’ll probably need 2 going overs. Don’t forget to go under the plates, and inside the bobbin area.

The grot hunting is very satisfying.

If it’s completely seized and doesn’t turn when you turn the wheel. See how the wheel feels if there is no movement it’s an issue on the main shaft if there’s some movement it’s a peripheral issue, start with a solid clean and oiling, check for threads and needles/pins matted fluff, solid grease, etc.

Let us know how you get on and if you have any queries drop us a line!

It looks like it’ll be a lovely stitcher when you get it going

A bit of a vintage sewing machine nut! Singers: 500a, 401g, 48k Elnas: lotus SP & grasshopper, Bernina 530-2 F+R 504, Pfaff 30, Cresta T-132

Madame Cholet

Re: Advice needed: restoration
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2018, 18:47:16 PM »
I would add from experience that when you cut a new leather belt to fit the treadle, use a craft knife/stanley knife to get a clean, straight cut. And squashing each end of the belt slightly flat with a hammer - place the end on a hard flat surface first of course - helps with positioning the hole accurately in the centre.

Also if you have a dremel tool with a tiny drill bit then use that to make the hole 1/4" from the each end of the belt. You could use a drill but a dremel is better as you have more control at slower speed.

I mention this as when I have tried to use a sharp awl or a small tack and hammer to make the hole -  which is what most tutorials advise - I have usually had the end of the belt shear off and break. But that could just be a sign of my incompetence rather than anything...

When you get a new leather belt and have cut it to size, keep the bit you chop off and use it for some practice piercing first.

Also I thread dental floss on a needle and loop that a couple of times through the holes you have made before knotting the ends of the floss securely in order to join the ends of the leather belt together. I understand some people choose dental floss over the metal staple supplied with the belt in order to have silent treadling, rather than hearing the clicking of the metal joining staple on its way round the wheels.

I have a Bernina 717 sat in my treadle base; I have modded the balance wheel with epoxy putty so that it can be treadled and I didn't want to potentially damage the hardened epoxy with a metal staple, hence the dental floss.

My treadle mechanism is clean and rust-free so I don't have to engage in much dustworthy work, but there is some play in the footplate and the wheel bearings, so that is why I want to strip it down and pack the bearings with grease.
Also I just like taking mechanical things apart to see how they work  :ninja:
« Last Edit: January 03, 2018, 22:53:19 PM by Madame Cholet »

Madame Cholet

Re: Advice needed: restoration
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2018, 19:28:55 PM »
The grot hunting is very satisfying.

... oh yes indeed, I second that! The hunting down and banishment of grot is, um, in its own very special way, strangely fulfilling.

In my quest for grot removal, especially between the teeth of gears, I have found the very best cotton buds for the job are ones like these, which have a firm pointy end and a sturdy flattened end:
https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/60-Cosmetic-Cotton-Buds-Soft-Nail-Make-Up-Shaped-Flat-Ribbed-Round-Pointed-End/253338837664?hash=item3afc2be2a0:g:UYUAAOSw3ZtaSScq

A very dear friend of mine presented me with some as a gift as he knows how obsessed interested I am regarding the thorough cleaning of sewing machine innards  :ninja:
I am sure he didn't pay that much for them though - the ones in that link are mega expensive - I saw some on Amazon that come from Waitrose but the pic wasn't too good, so I have posted the ebay link instead.

I have also got a supply of cotton buds that are six inches long and are great for getting at hard-to-reach grot.

I also find that long-handled artist paint brushes are good at de-fluffing hard-to-reach areas in the internals of sewing machines.

You know there is nowhere else on earth I can talk about my fascination for the relative usefulness of various cotton bud designs. I am sure to the outside world in general I would be regarded as odd.
But here... I am not alone! I do love this forum!  ;) :ninja: :vintage:

LeilaMay

Re: Advice needed: restoration
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2018, 17:03:37 PM »
Nice machine :)
I must say that although we've restored (for ourselves) a very old treadle, we did paint the base. It was nothing but rust and had been barn stored for decades, so OH took it to pieces, cleaned it all back and painted it black again. It has a wooden pitman rod, and he painted the 'SINGER' bit gold again too - it's looking good. But I appreciate that we have destroyed the evidence of the years no it, and some folks wouldn't do that.

I should say it was re-assembled with all the right grease and so forth, and did operate as a treadle, but I can't use a treadle - I discovered - because of my arthritic knees, so now it acts as a stand for my other machines .

Pictures - first as found before we got it - so much rust
then as it is now
(I have 95 other photographs of the various stages LOL)
Singers - 28K, 66K, 99K, 201K - all manual. Singers 221K (2 of 'em), 319K and 401G - electric. Bernina 730 Record, Elna Grasshopper, Husqvana 5220, Grain chainstitch toy machine, most of a Guhl & Harbeck chain stitch machine called Lyra. That's all!  :)

Madame Cholet

Re: Advice needed: restoration
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2018, 09:22:58 AM »
Nice machine :)
I must say that although we've restored (for ourselves) a very old treadle, we did paint the base. It was nothing but rust and had been barn stored for decades, so OH took it to pieces, cleaned it all back and painted it black again. It has a wooden pitman rod, and he painted the 'SINGER' bit gold again too - it's looking good. But I appreciate that we have destroyed the evidence of the years no it, and some folks wouldn't do that.

I should say it was re-assembled with all the right grease and so forth, and did operate as a treadle, but I can't use a treadle - I discovered - because of my arthritic knees, so now it acts as a stand for my other machines .

Pictures - first as found before we got it - so much rust
then as it is now
(I have 95 other photographs of the various stages LOL)

@LeilaMay thank you so much for posting these photos!  :loveit: :vintage:
-this is ancient history now but I'll mention it anyway... I finally joined the 'old' forum because I wanted to look at the pictures of your new-to-you ancient treadle... I had lurked for a good while but it was wanting to see your treadle that finally drew me in  :P
So I joined, and then suddenly the old place was no more, and I still hadn't seen your treadle!
It looks truly wonderful. You did a marvellous job, a real labour of love <3
So it's great to see it at long last  :)

LeilaMay

Re: Advice needed: restoration
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2018, 10:10:05 AM »
Thank you! It was a good experience - we made some mistakes but then it wasn't a vitally important piece, it was going to be slung out to the tip so anything was an improvement.
No more though, we don't have the room  :)
Singers - 28K, 66K, 99K, 201K - all manual. Singers 221K (2 of 'em), 319K and 401G - electric. Bernina 730 Record, Elna Grasshopper, Husqvana 5220, Grain chainstitch toy machine, most of a Guhl & Harbeck chain stitch machine called Lyra. That's all!  :)