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Thread: "Machine works and is in good condition" ,... really? Inspection List

  1. #21
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    Prudent check list. I might add...make sure feed dogs are present. In foreign models they are nearly impossible to find.

  2. #22
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DanofNJ View Post
    Prudent check list. I might add...make sure feed dogs are present. In foreign models they are nearly impossible to find.
    Oh yuck! You've ended up with feed dogs missing? The worst I've had for dogs is the rubber ones disintegrated. Or on the Winselmann - the entire lower portion of the machine was disengaged. LOL! The lesson there is don't look at a machine in the dark.

    Another one to check is that all 3 screws are in the bobbin case. I got a 301 this week that looked like all the parts were there... then I went to clean the bobbin case. Missing the tension screw. I wonder if that could have anything to do with it ending up for sale. At least I can still get that screw, and it doesn't effectively write the machine off.

    Still need to dig into the 201-2 to see if it has any surprises like Miriam said it might. That's tomorrow (later today?) I didn't check that one for bobbin screws either... but it's in awfully good shape...
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 411G, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, 31-15, Pfaff 130-6. Non-Vintage - Pfaff 6122, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81595 serger, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81155, 2013 APQS Lucey

  3. #23
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    I have some friends that are constantly buying machines and asking if I want them. NO I DON'T WANT certain models. They weren't any good when they were new. Age did NOT improve them. They are merely the forerunners of the plastic wonders. In other words have some idea what machines are worth keeping and what ones aren't. If you are Joe you probably can make them all work. If you are not chose carefully. You do not have to limit yourself to Singer Featherweight or Singer 301. They did make other good machines. And YES, there are machines other than Singer that are good machines as well. You will need to know what machines have odd needles or ask or research before you buy. There are some models so NOT worth buying at all. Do some searching.

    It is nice when you can find something in really good shape. Yes Tammi, check it over... I've seen feed dog height too tall. I've seen the tension spring set wrong more than once. Just little things but annoying when they don't work quite right. I have one right now - very pretty machine but the light switch doesn't turn the light on at all. If I could get it to go on I think I would just weld it light ON all the time - unplug it when you are done......
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

  4. #24
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    LOL! I often take them if they're free, fix them up the best they can be (within reason) and then find someone to give them to. Free usually implies little to no support, so I can give them away with a clear conscience. Besides, even an early 80s machine (like the one I learned on) is better than a plastic wonder from Wal-mart today. At least, it will sew through jeans.

    That said, there are some that I just hide in the basement and pilfer for parts. Almost anything labeled Brother is ending up down there lately. Broken gears on everything. Or the Touch and Throw that ended up in the basement when it sewed only in reverse with a cam but otherwise was perfect, even the wind in place bobbin winder worked. *sigh* At least I got parts for the 431G off that one.

    Truth be known, in a lot of cases, the Singers are still running because their tolerances were pretty loose. The European machines tended to be tighter, so they're more fussy about rust and lack of lubrication. If they were maintained, they're great, if they weren't, UGH. One of my favorites right now, I've admitted this to Miriam already, is a Pfaff, and it's not even vintage, well, not the vintage we talk about, it IS probably 15+ years old... and one of the last German made Pfaffs.

    I definitely avoid the machines that take special needles. That can be a real nightmare. Especially, what was it, the 306, or the 206? That some people timed differently and cut the bobbin case so it would take regular 15x1 needles? That's a repair nightmare before you even begin. I won't touch those machines at all.

    Well, this 201-2 wanted a lot of time from me. I cleaned it up, gave it the usual scrubbing of its life. It needs a tension spring, and a bobbin case screw. Both are functional til the replacements arrive. I'm not too upset about that. I paid little enough for it that $2 isn't going to sour me towards it. The decals are 99% intact, and there are only minor scratches.

    I did pull the brushes and found them wet though. Ugh. Pulled the motor, disassembled, cleaned it up (it didn't seem wet inside, maybe just inside the brush tubes, but an unreal amount of carbon), and figured while I was in there, I'd change the grease, and grease wicks. LOL! The neighbor dropped by while I was taking the motor apart. I answered the door with it in my hand, covered in grease. He already thinks I'm a nut anyway.

    Runs like a top and so quiet now. DH and I was were watching TV while I was doing this (normally I don't work on a machine in the Living room, I'm not sure what happened tonight.) and he saw movement and realised it was running. Could barely hear it over the tv. Dogs looked good. Typically, I don't even consider the tension spring being set wrong to be an issue, because I disassemble the tensioners completely while cleaning anyway.

    I really need to make a checklist of things to go over when I do a"First" service on a machine. I actually forgot the bobbin case today. I realised it as I was putting everything back together. Duh.

    You could put the light on an inline switch. I know I rarely if ever sew with the machine light on. I don't like the heat it generates (or the burn scars for that matter). I often leave the bulbs out altogether. Thrills people to pieces when they buy a machine from me and there's no bulb. I'm sure they wonder what else I "missed"
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 411G, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, 31-15, Pfaff 130-6. Non-Vintage - Pfaff 6122, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81595 serger, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81155, 2013 APQS Lucey

  5. #25
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    As far as a clean up check list. I start in one end and go around the whole machine. I try to get every little part as I go. I get too distracted for a check list. I had a machine I was working on and the DGKs showed up. Well, I let them take out the lint and pick at cleaning oil out of it. We shined it up pretty... Then they left and the machine went into time out... BUT I totally missed something... and totally forgot I never finished working it over... I never did a test sew with that one - I assumed I had finished cleaning it. It was one of the worse stuck up machines - beautiful looking though... and it's motor was perfect but the machine would barely chug along. Somewhere we missed one little bit of dried on goo. It was fun letting the DGKs help but I should have gone back over EVERYTHING the next time I looked at the machine.
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

  6. #26
    Senior Member Jeanette Frantz's Avatar
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    Yeah! I know all about things turning up missing! I was working with my FW Saturday night. All of a sudden, it came to a screeching halt. Now, this thing hardly had any use on it at all, but I yelled for my son. He worked on sewing machines for 14 years (including commercials/quilting, etc.). He replaced the needle because we were concerned that it might have been damaged. It still would work, so he took the bottom off of it. When he did that, I saw something fall to the floor. Well the screw that holds the feed dogs in the mechanism had loosened and fell out of position. A little bit of a scare, but thank God, my son was able to re-insert the screw. She sews like a champ now! Love my FW!

    Jeanette Frantz

  7. #27
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Is that ever bizarre! I wonder how long it's been loosening itself to do that!

    I've bought machines I knew were not working, in fact, I spent the most I've ever paid for a machine on a machine that wasn't working - my 222. I was thinking about that when I saw the response to this thread. Even if the machine "fails" a bunch of the things on the checklist, it may still be worth it to you, if you know someone who will fix it, or if you have the patience to do it yourself. Just make sure that the price reflects the condition.

    My 222 was not working when I bought it. It ran the whole gamut of problems: The "finger" was misplaced, the machine turned hard, the timing was off (someone had been in loosening things without knowing what they were doing). I still brought her home. The price tag made it easy to look past all of her little flaws.
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 411G, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, 31-15, Pfaff 130-6. Non-Vintage - Pfaff 6122, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81595 serger, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81155, 2013 APQS Lucey

  8. #28
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    I'm a newcomer to vintage/antique machines. I do love Singer. What machine do you find to be quality "keeper" machines. I appreciate your wisdom.

  9. #29
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by carol40965 View Post
    I'm a newcomer to vintage/antique machines. I do love Singer. What machine do you find to be quality "keeper" machines. I appreciate your wisdom.
    AAAAAAAAAAA LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL of them...... he he he
    NEVER let a sewing machine know you are in a hurry.
    Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts. Winston Churchill

  10. #30
    Super Member ArchaicArcane's Avatar
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    Hey Carol,

    This is pretty much all personal preference.
    My preferred keepers:
    For Singer: Almost anything that ended in a 1 or a 3: 201, 301, 401, 403 (And Miriam may call me out publicly if I don't mention the 404. ) and the 500, which should have been a 501, and 503. I really like the German variants 411G, 431G, etc. 221 and 222s are fun little machines and great light machines for piecing with a perfect straight stitch and quite collectible, so a -possible- investment if you can buy them at a good price. The 15s are work horses. The 201 is a work horse too, and quieter than the 15s, but some people have a harder time with free motion on them. Lots of people like the 66s / 99s, 127 /128s. I find them less desirable -to me- because the variable shuttle (127/128) is noisier and the 66s/99s, I guess it's just because they've given me the most grief for service, and they're less friendly due to the horizontal bobbin for what I do. (yes, I'm aware that they account for almost 1/3 of my collection, but 2 - 3 of them are also on the chopping block. Part of the herd that's getting thinned) That said, all of them make a great straight stitch, because they have a fixed needle bar.

    For Pfaff - The 30/130/230, The 362-261(?) I have here would likely be robust if it hadn't been flagrantly abused before I got it, and I really like even the "still made in Germany" early 90s machines, even with the plastic in them. I haven't met a Pfaff yet that was in good running order that hasn't pleased me.

    I'll take almost any German made machine in fact, regardless of the brand. I was in love with my Winselmann hand crank, My cousin has her now. Their bobbin winders, their look, and the ones with the big open hand wheel? ummm ummmm ummmm

    Now this will make me unpopular: Bernina and Elna. Both of these brands but 1 of the Elnas I've had here (an SU) did not impress me once I got the panels off and started working on them. They were just so "fiddly" I've serviced about 7 between the 2 brands so far, one serger, and all left me feeling the same. Perhaps the service tech at one of the shops here said it best. " Something about the Swiss, It's like they get the machine working perfectly, and then go "OK, we need another... 6, maybe 12 more parts in here, with no change of functionality." That said, almost everyone I talk to who owns either brand loves them. So if you're using them, they're great. Servicing, which you'll likely end up doing when you get enough of the vintage machines, I think not so great.

    I love love love servicing and using the Kenmores, especially the 158 series made by Jaguar / Maruzen. They're solid machines. Quieter on the whole than a 15, and nothing seems to really go wrong with them. The C877 series- I've never figured out who made them - often have that lovely retro look to them and are work horses as well.

    Brother made some really cool looking retro type machines, but it seems they went early into plastic gears, especially that cam gear which is almost always cracked on the machines I've seen, and so I won't even take a post early 1950s brother anymore.

    Some of the Japanese "clones" are so great! Again, nothing really goes wrong with them, and they'll sew forever. Some are also quieter than the 15.

    Like Miriam said, all of them
    Tammi - I've found that many baby steps tend to get you further than a huge leap in followed by a huge leap out - http://www.archaicarcane.com
    Singer 411G, 301A, 2x 221 (featherweight), 222k - the holy grail, 15-90 Centennial, 27, VS2, 28 hc, 128 knee bar, 201-2, 31-15, Pfaff 130-6. Non-Vintage - Pfaff 6122, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81595 serger, Kenmore (Janome) 385.81155, 2013 APQS Lucey

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