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Thread: VSMS: Difference between Singer 115 and Singer 15-30 machines?

  1. #1
    Senior Member kwendt's Avatar
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    Hi all... I've been 'absent' for a while... but yesterday, I happened to stop by a thrift store and pick up a (I think) 15-30 in a plain jane, 5 drawer cabinet #2. Other than lifting wood on the fold out top, it's in great condition. Drawer springs intact, center drawer perfect, treadle head almost mint 'Gingerbread' decals. (See picture of machine). Came with attachments (low shank/side clamp) but no book.

    Here's my question. The serial number is hard to read, I think it's G394507. But after looking at it in strong light, I think there's a "1" stamped on the far right side of the brass plate, almost off the plate itself. If so, then it's a model 15, allotted 2/15/1915. There are a lot of sub models, but given that the bobbin winder is high, the tension is not numbered and there's no bobbin winder guide on the right side bed - I think it's a 15-30.

    Question #1: That cabinet #2 (sorry no picture yet) according to ISMACS, was used for 15-30s, 66-1s, 127s and 115s. I hadn't heard of 115's.... so I looked. It looks awful similar to a 15-30. A google search doesn't show me much. What's the difference?

    Question #2: Is it possible to replace that old, bunch o wires tension, with a say... 15-91 tension set up in it's place?

    Question #3: The face plate on this machine is totally dull silver blank... no scroll, no striations, it's flat-plain. Never seen this before.... what is it? It's in a treadle cabinet, not portable case... so I don't think it's a Navy/Army machine. See picture...

    Note: the pictures are pre clean up. Thanks for any tips/advice/knowledge... kim

    Front of 15-30? Gingerbread decals
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    Face plate view, note old tension
    Name:  Attachment-212771.jpe
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    Backside of 15-30
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  2. #2
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    I don't know about the 115's, but that is going to be a gorgeous machine when it's cleaned. Except for that one small place on the back of the bed and the "Singer" on the back of the arm, you might be able get back all the color of the original decals. How fabulous! :)

    It looks like you should be able to replace the face plate & tensioner with a decorated one from the 30's. Do you have another 15 that you could try it with to see if it works?

    These old tensioners are really good ones, though - a couple of my treadles have them and once you get the two disks polished, they work beautifully. :)

  3. #3
    Senior Member kwendt's Avatar
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    Hi Polyp... thanks... the decals are really steller. Little to no chipping in the japan either. Just a lot of dirt and old grease.

    The bed looks like the oil will clean off and the decals be fine. I'll need to go slow and careful... one swipe cotton balls and q-tips for sure. There is one spot on the bed where they might be a tad silvered. The section "N" on the back, that's worn... and I can't tell why. There's no pin rash. Who knows.

    I do have a 15-91 from 1942, but that's got a totally different molding to the face plate. I checked. Interesting. I've got my eye out on ebay for some old timey scrolly 15 plates....

    Meanwhile, I guess I'll try using the dremal for polishing up the metal bits, then 000 steel wool. I'm not sure what attachment to use on the dremal though... I'd think the brushy sanders are too harsh, and the sanding drums I have will also cut grooves into soft metal, I should think.

    What dremal attachments/sanders/belts/brushes do you recommend???

  4. #4
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    You can get buffing wheels at just about any hardware store that will fit a Dremel or you could get a buff to put on a bench grinder/jeweler's lathe if you happen to have one of those.

    Get either flannel or muslin and for a handheld rotary or a bench grinder buffing wheel, take out the outer ring of stitching on the wheel to make it softer. Take it outside and run it against a screwdriver tip to tear up the outside edges and pull out any loose threads/lint.

    Of course be sure to follow all safety considerations - if you have long hair, pull it back into a bun, take off all jewelry and wear short-sleeved, close-fitting clothing and eye protection. Especially in the case of the bench grinder or jeweler's lathe, the amount of power to rip something out of your hand and send it flying is just incredible.

    I like to soak the plates in Evaporust - it floats off a lot of gunk effortlessly. Then you just polish up the metal with a soft cloth and some metal or chrome polish. Even TR3 Resin Glaze will shine it up and protect it. There are buffing compounds to use with your buffs, but I've never gotten any of those. Between the Evaporust and Wright's or Brasso, it's always gotten the parts shiny and clean and that's where I have stopped. You can go a lot farther with it, though. :)

  5. #5
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    I definitely would not use any grinding or sanding bits - only the buffing wheels.

    And without any kind of compound in the wheel - some of those buffing compounds cut VERY fast - you'd think you're using sandpaper! :shock:

    What a lovely project this is going to be! :)

  6. #6
    Power Poster sueisallaboutquilts's Avatar
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    Kim, I don't have any answers but I suggest going to the virtual machine shop on the board for some.
    What a beauty!!!!!!!! Can't wait till she's jazzed up :D

  7. #7
    Senior Member kwendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thepolyparrot
    You can get buffing wheels at just about any hardware store that will fit a Dremel or you could get a buff to put on a bench grinder/jeweler's lathe if you happen to have one of those.

    Get either flannel or muslin and for a handheld rotary or a bench grinder buffing wheel, take out the outer ring of stitching on the wheel to make it softer. Take it outside and run it against a screwdriver tip to tear up the outside edges and pull out any loose threads/lint.

    Of course be sure to follow all safety considerations - if you have long hair, pull it back into a bun, take off all jewelry and wear short-sleeved, close-fitting clothing and eye protection. Especially in the case of the bench grinder or jeweler's lathe, the amount of power to rip something out of your hand and send it flying is just incredible.

    I like to soak the plates in Evaporust - it floats off a lot of gunk effortlessly. Then you just polish up the metal with a soft cloth and some metal or chrome polish. Even TR3 Resin Glaze will shine it up and protect it. There are buffing compounds to use with your buffs, but I've never gotten any of those. Between the Evaporust and Wright's or Brasso, it's always gotten the parts shiny and clean and that's where I have stopped. You can go a lot farther with it, though. :)
    Thanks... your advice is running right along with my inner 'feeling' on it. I do have a bench grinder, but it's too big to do the small parts with control. The dremel will work fine with a buffer. I also have Brasso and Simichrome which should work just fine for this. What I don't have is Evaporust. I've used regular Kero for cleaning. Thanks for that tip. (I've seen this just recently over on the VSMS board... too).

    Yes to all the protections! Thanks. I'm a hobbiest blacksmith as well as a quilter.. I've had my long hair set on fire three times - even tied back.. lol.

    Love these old machines...

  8. #8
    Super Member Lucky Patsy's's Avatar
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    I think the 115's have a rotary hook and the 15's have oscillating hooks.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Queen's Avatar
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    What a beauty!

    Mary

  10. #10
    Senior Member kwendt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucky Patsy's "Mom"
    I think the 115's have a rotary hook and the 15's have oscillating hooks.
    Now that's a big difference, thanks.

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