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Thread: Singer 401A - Good for quilting?

  1. #11
    Senior Member ShirlR's Avatar
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    Thank you, notsureif,

    I did flip the top yesterday when I got it home and could see that the 2 dials with the letters probably were the combos for the various available stitches, but being unfamiliar with the machine, I didn't know how the dials/letters interacted with the builtin stitches and the cams I don't have.

    Pushing that big quilt through the small harp area must have been almost impossible - I congratulate you!


    Quote Originally Posted by notsureif View Post
    these are also a double needle machine.

    I did use this one making a big quilt 7x8 ' it wasn't easy pushing the fabric, small harp area.. at times I had the needle so hot it would flex like rubber
    The lady that has it now, has a 603 her cams fit the 401

    had the 401 been black I would have kept it ..
    Shirley
    "We shall pass this way on Earth but once; if there is any kindness we can show, or good act we can do, let us do it now, for we will never pass this way again." Stephen Grellet

  2. #12
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Shirley,

    I get my Tri-Flow oil and grease from Sew-Classic.com: http://www.shop.sew-classic.com/

    Here is the controls and the inside of the trap door with it's pattern instructions:

    The "A-B-C" settings on the left are pretty much standard for the cams. To install and remove the cams you need to turn the right control (inside nob) off of the "Special" place, then once the cam in, they just snap in, you put the control back on the "Special" slot.

    Here is a pic showing the difference between the Singer flat and top hat cams:


    And here is pic showing a cam installed:


    Now here is two pics of the machine with the top off:

    In this pic you can see much of the interior of the machine and that there is a bunch of moving parts to oil. Your owners manual will give you specific instructions on what to oil and what to grease.
    I've marked the picture with notes. O's for oil, G's for grease. The owners manual says to use the Singer Lube for the gears, but I think the Tri-Flow grease works better. The only non metal gear in this machine is the big fiber gear on the back of the hand wheel. The owners manual says grease it.

    In this pic the vertical shafts the cam stack controls slide up and down on is indicated by an arrow. These need to be clean and oiled or they will bind and jam.
    If you look back on the pic with the cam installed you'll see two holes to the left of the cam stack, a slot with a shaft and hole in it's center, the top of the cam stack with a hole in it's center, and three holes to the lower right of the trap door mortise. These are all oil holes.
    This isn't all of the top either, and under the bottom there is a bunch of other oiling places.

    Keep it clean, oiled and greased and it will run nice.

    Here is the link to what I'm fairly sure is the owners manual I downloaded and printed. It's a pretty big .pdf file so it will take a bit of time to load.
    http://www.singerco.com/uploads/down...0496cf11fe.pdf
    If it's the manual I think it is there is extensive info in there on how to operate the machine as well as lube it.

    Hope this helps, if you have any questions ..... ask.

    Joe

  3. #13
    Senior Member ShirlR's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Shirley,

    I get my Tri-Flow oil and grease from Sew-Classic.com: http://www.shop.sew-classic.com/

    Here is the controls and the inside of the trap door with it's pattern instructions:

    The "A-B-C" settings on the left are pretty much standard for the cams. To install and remove the cams you need to turn the right control (inside nob) off of the "Special" place, then once the cam in, they just snap in, you put the control back on the "Special" slot.

    Here is a pic showing the difference between the Singer flat and top hat cams:


    And here is pic showing a cam installed:


    Now here is two pics of the machine with the top off:

    In this pic you can see much of the interior of the machine and that there is a bunch of moving parts to oil. Your owners manual will give you specific instructions on what to oil and what to grease.
    I've marked the picture with notes. O's for oil, G's for grease. The owners manual says to use the Singer Lube for the gears, but I think the Tri-Flow grease works better. The only non metal gear in this machine is the big fiber gear on the back of the hand wheel. The owners manual says grease it.

    In this pic the vertical shafts the cam stack controls slide up and down on is indicated by an arrow. These need to be clean and oiled or they will bind and jam.
    If you look back on the pic with the cam installed you'll see two holes to the left of the cam stack, a slot with a shaft and hole in it's center, the top of the cam stack with a hole in it's center, and three holes to the lower right of the trap door mortise. These are all oil holes.
    This isn't all of the top either, and under the bottom there is a bunch of other oiling places.

    Keep it clean, oiled and greased and it will run nice.

    Here is the link to what I'm fairly sure is the owners manual I downloaded and printed. It's a pretty big .pdf file so it will take a bit of time to load.
    http://www.singerco.com/uploads/down...0496cf11fe.pdf
    If it's the manual I think it is there is extensive info in there on how to operate the machine as well as lube it.

    Hope this helps, if you have any questions ..... ask.

    Joe
    Joe,

    I can't thank you enough for the time and detail you have furnished in response to my question. I am always humbled and in awe of the kindness and generosity of members of this Board when help is needed by another member. You have have certainly helped me tremendously with the pictures and advice you have furnished. I am so grateful. I've printed out the information and the pictures and will keep it with the machine. Thanks again!!!
    Shirley
    "We shall pass this way on Earth but once; if there is any kindness we can show, or good act we can do, let us do it now, for we will never pass this way again." Stephen Grellet

  4. #14
    Super Member Annaquilts's Avatar
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    Yes, it is a good buy and a great machine. I have heard though it is not great with the actual quilting but I have not tried.
    Anna Quilts

  5. #15
    Senior Member ShirlR's Avatar
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    Thanks, Anna,

    In the realm of quilting use, I think I will probably use it more for piecing rather than quilting other than maybe some SITD on small projects.

    Quote Originally Posted by Annaquilts View Post
    Yes, it is a good buy and a great machine. I have heard though it is not great with the actual quilting but I have not tried.
    Shirley
    "We shall pass this way on Earth but once; if there is any kindness we can show, or good act we can do, let us do it now, for we will never pass this way again." Stephen Grellet

  6. #16
    Super Member kitsykeel's Avatar
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    My first vintage (other than my Featherweight as a gift in 1959) was a 401A in a blond cabinet for $30.00, purchased just this past January (I am new to collecting vintage.) Our thrift shops around here have such good prices, the machines are just too great at those prices to pass by. I love the many decorative stitches built into the machine and when you apply that second needle, you get some really interesting designs, especially when you use two differing colored threads. Have not tried quilting on it yet. Interested to hear what others say about that too.
    Kitsy

  7. #17
    Senior Member ShirlR's Avatar
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    Wow, you got a really good deal! It is rare that our thrift shops around here have any sewing machines. IMHO, I believe Goodwill never puts them out, but instead places them on eBay for big bucks; If you do see one there, and it is so very rare, they are all beat up and ready for the junk pile. I felt really lucky to find this one at another type thrift store, so jumped on it. I think everyone should have at least one vintage machine (and more if you have the room, LOL!)

    Quote Originally Posted by kitsykeel View Post
    My first vintage (other than my Featherweight as a gift in 1959) was a 401A in a blond cabinet for $30.00, purchased just this past January (I am new to collecting vintage.) Our thrift shops around here have such good prices, the machines are just too great at those prices to pass by. I love the many decorative stitches built into the machine and when you apply that second needle, you get some really interesting designs, especially when you use two differing colored threads. Have not tried quilting on it yet. Interested to hear what others say about that too.
    Shirley
    "We shall pass this way on Earth but once; if there is any kindness we can show, or good act we can do, let us do it now, for we will never pass this way again." Stephen Grellet

  8. #18
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Shirley,

    You are right to a point. Good Will does not put machines out for sale, but they don't use eBay. They have their own on line auction site. http://shopgoodwill.com/
    Here is the direct link to the sewing machine search: http://www.shopgoodwill.com/search/S...&showthumbs=on

    We have been buying sewing machines and other goodies from there since last October and I have noticed a steady increase in prices of the sold machines. Especially the Japanese ZZ machines like my Alden and some of the others with built in and cam driven decorative stitches. Those seem to be quite popular now.

    Enjoy.

    Joe

  9. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by J Miller View Post
    Shirley,

    You are right to a point. Good Will does not put machines out for sale, but they don't use eBay. They have their own on line auction site. http://shopgoodwill.com/
    Here is the direct link to the sewing machine search: http://www.shopgoodwill.com/search/S...&showthumbs=on

    We have been buying sewing machines and other goodies from there since last October and I have noticed a steady increase in prices of the sold machines. Especially the Japanese ZZ machines like my Alden and some of the others with built in and cam driven decorative stitches. Those seem to be quite popular now.

    Enjoy.

    Joe
    They use eBay as well. I was surprised last week when I came across a goodwill auction. I've stopped looking at goodwill for the most part. Even when you donate to a specific store, they take most of it back to their processing center and redistribute it. The good stuff is pulled for auction there. St. Vinnies and salvation army is better for finding machines around here. Too bad they put crazy high prices on them.
    Last edited by misskira; 06-14-2012 at 08:33 AM.

  10. #20
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Yes, they do use ebay as well. There are Good Will auctions run through ebay. The ones run through ebay would be much more secure and have buyer protection.

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