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Thread: What to do with non-working vtg. machines????

  1. #1
    Senior Member Just-Lee's Avatar
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    OK, I have 3 vintage machines that need repairs, but I am not sure if they are worth the $$$. The cheapest service price around is $78, for cleaning, etc, but no parts/ labor.

    I have an old Toyo/ Singer spin-off that was working when I took it in for repair, just needed adjusted, and when checking the zigzag out...never worked again. $85 spent for a pro to break it!

    Vtg. Kenmore 158.13031. Before we had a chance to check machine out, hubby dropped Bakelite foot peddle and it shattered. It will hand crank, but starts getting tight after 1 full rotation.

    Last but not least...bought a Singer Touch-Tronic 2010 at a yard sale. It worked fine and she even wound a bobbin, but when I have tried to wind one since, the thread just winds under the bobbin...sigh! This has loads of stitches, computerized, bunch of acc./ feet. It also came with the huge cabinet that had double opening doors underneath with tons of storage. The cabinet was the big reason for buying.

    Is there a book out there to learn to repair machines, should I take any of them to be serviced, or just sell them cheap and move on to something that works for sure?? lol Not asking much, huh?

  2. #2
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    I would join vintage sewing machine groups on Yahoo. There is a group for vintage Singers, another for vintage Kenmores (I think), etc. Plus there is a group called wefixit whose interest is in fixing up old sewing machines of any brand.

    Some of the problems you mention (such as the bobbin winding on the last one) sound like relatively simple fixes. There are places online to order a replacement foot pedal, etc. The Yahoo groups are likely to be able to point you in the right direction.

    If all else fails, you can take a non-working machine to Goodwill or a thrift shop. If the defect is not obvious, put a strip of painter's tape on the machine with "parts only" on it, or a description of the problem.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Boopers's Avatar
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    Check out the vintage machine shop on this board.

  4. #4
    Super Member lfw045's Avatar
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    You probably aren't putting the bobbin in just right. I say that because when I don't put the bobbin in exactly right that is what happens with my machine. I have a Singer 1030.

  5. #5
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I had a few older non working machines that I stripped of everything usuable like bobbin case, spool pin, foot, and don't forget the screws. Most screws fit all machines. I set them out for the garbage pick up (no recycling regulations here) with a note they are free non working. If the trash man doesn't want them for the electrical motors he throws them in with the trash.

  6. #6
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    The bobbins sold for the TouchTronic, Touch & Sew and some other models are very similar to look at but not exactly alike. You might want to buy a bobbin that you are certain is for the TouchTronic - the right one will also fit the early Futura and Athena machines from the 80's and 90's, but not the Futura embroidery machines from recent years.

    The only one that I would put any effort into personally is probably the Kenmore. There is a group of machines similar to this model and they're still sewing strong. The vertical bobbin makes it great for free-motion quilting, it uses easily-available low or high shank attachments and big class 15 bobbins.

    I would give away all of them, but the Kenmore, I would fix up first and give to someone who wants to quilt. :) But that's just me and I have somewhere nearing 30 sewing machines in the house and most of them need my attention for something or other, so I don't have a lot of enthusiasm for many of them. ;)

    If you want to learn how to fix the TouchTronic or any of the Touch&Sew models, Terry at TandTRepair can teach you anything about any slant needle machine. He's got a lot of downloadable material for free and he's written several manuals for sale, as well.

    His manuals are incredibly good resources and he carries a huge selection of parts. Great prices, fast shipping, too. :) http://www.tandtrepair.com/Athena2000.html

  7. #7
    Senior Member Just-Lee's Avatar
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    Thepolyparrot- Thanks for the link. The machine works great, except for the bobbin winding thing. I have 2 manuals and have followed directions to a T, but a service guy mentioned something about a part below the bobbin case being stripped, since the bobbin won't move and the winder underneath does. I will look into the Kenmore a bit more. I just didn't know if I should invest in one of these, or go on ang get the Juki I have been eyeing :)

    I have the original bobbins that came with the machine. The girl I bought it from was the original owner and even provided the sales slip. I can't believe how much stuff came with the older machines, unlike today.

    I guess I could part the others out and sell on eBay...probably do better that way honestly.

  8. #8
    Super Member thepolyparrot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Just-Lee
    I will look into the Kenmore a bit more.
    I've done a lot of free-motion quilting on a Kenmore just a few years younger than the 1303 - if it's got sound wiring and bobbin case, oil her up and get her to sewing. I think you'll be impressed at what a good job it will do at quilting. If it's a low shank machine, you can get a really good hopping foot for $3. If it's a high shank machine, you can get a Juki hopping foot for $40 and then when you get the Juki, you'll already have the foot for it. ;)


    I just didn't know if I should invest in one of these, or go on ang get the Juki I have been eyeing :)
    Well, I'm a great enabler - go get the Juki! You're not going to go wrong with that! I don't think they ever made a bad machine. :mrgreen:

  9. #9
    Senior Member cabinfever's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99
    I would join vintage sewing machine groups on Yahoo. There is a group for vintage Singers, another for vintage Kenmores (I think), etc. Plus there is a group called wefixit whose interest is in fixing up old sewing machines of any brand.
    Some of the problems you mention (such as the bobbin winding on the last one) sound like relatively simple fixes. There are places online to order a replacement foot pedal, etc.
    I recommend the yahoo group "wefixit" as well. There are several old machine repairs guys there that will help walk you through fixes. Also, getting an electronic foot pedal doesn't have to be very expensive, even for the old machines. One lady I like is Jenny @ sew-classic.com. I have bought parts from her, & shipping was quick & minimal cost. You should read her reviews on older machines, she has good reviews about pros & cons.

    I think you can also sell your machines on CL, when/if you give up on them, since there are many machine mechanics out there who will buy them from you for parts for old machine repair.

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