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Thread: 'Stored' machines, oiling or not, how often to run?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Caroline94535's Avatar
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    'Stored' machines, oiling or not, how often to run?

    Because of remodeling, I can not easily get to the Singer 15-91 or Pfaff 130-6 (both in cabinets) in my little sewing room. This means the 1975 Singer Fashion Mate 252 is getting far more attention than she's ever had before. She was officially retired when Santa brought me a new Bernina 230 PE several years ago, and long before I discovered this site and found the two "refined old ladies."

    It's been suggested to clean, but not oil, a machine that is not going to be used for a while to prevent the oil from drying out and forming an unmovable mass. Is this what most people do?

    How often should a stored (in the sewing room's closet) machine be run?

    How long should I run it at each session to keep the oil soft? Should I move it through all the needle positions and stitch options?

    How will I go about using, or at least running, three vintage machines, my little Bernie wonder, and the serger?

    How do you serious collectors manage all the 'care and feeding' of your extensive herds?

    As I was checking FM252 yesterday, I removed the bobbin case and discovered a hard packed lump of fuzzy "felt" that I had missed when I cleaned it earlier this year. I oiled the bobbin case and area, plugged in the machine, raised the presser foot, and just let it "run" fast and non-stop for about 10 minutes.

    Would this type of 'running' be sufficient for all three vintage machines? Could I simply turn them on, set something heavy on the foot controllers, and let them hum along. I'm sure it would cause DH to shake his head in wonder.

    Or - should I plan several quilts, and work on each sewing machine for an hour each week, thus making four quilts at once? This might work, since I've collected enough old jeans to make each of my six nephews a denim quilt.
    "Not all those who wander are lost." ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

  2. #2
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    I go from machine to machine when piecing quilts.

    I'm afraid of things getting stuck too.

    I would think the machine would have to be sitting unused for a mighty long time for things to get that dire though.

    I always thought too that if the only oil that touches your machines is sewing machine oil or gun oil(same type of oil)it shouldn't be a problem.

  3. #3
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    I'm not a collector, and not sure how to manage the herd but when you get those denim quilts done I would love to see some pics. I do collect denim for repairs but it has gotten out of hand.

  4. #4
    Junior Member Caroline94535's Avatar
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    Isn't that the truth, June? I'm fortunate that my room is small, 12'x12', and must have walk ways and free space for two easy chairs and a tea table - otherwise "things," like fabric, would get out of hand.

    I hit the mother lode of great denim at a yard sale; I got several pair of as-good-as-new jeans, 100% heavy cotton, in a very large men's size. They were size 54x36, relaxed fit, and only $2 per pair.

    I will post photos once I get started. I've gotten most of the denim prepped. I take it to the commercial washer for a really hot wash and dry, then cut out the seams, cut out back pockets leaving a generous seam allowance since I like to add lots of pockets and zips to the boys' twin-size throws.

    I haven't messed with the fronts much. I can't decide how I could use the front pockets. Some of the zips are given to a friend that does clothes-repair sewing for others.
    "Not all those who wander are lost." ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

  5. #5
    Super Member Rodney's Avatar
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    I've only been at it for approaching 2 years now. So far it hasn't been an issue. I do try to find a reason to give each of my working machines a little attention. It's not easy for me either. I started collecting with a small house that's already full so storage is less than ideal to put it kindly. I'm sure as I get more of my machines back into usable shape it will be a bigger issue. I prefer portable machines but most of what I find seem to be in cabinets. Cabinets are even harder to have set up where I can use them. I'm hoping that by the time most of my herd is operable I'll be able to build or get some shelves and have them all stored properly with easy access.

    I think as long as you run the machine a little every few months you won't have any issues. It takes a long time for oil to gum up.
    Rodney
    "Neglect to oil the machine will shorten its life and cause you

    trouble and annoyance" Quote from Singer Model 99 Manual

  6. #6
    Super Member Rodney's Avatar
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    It might be a mistake with boys being boys but you might try leaving the pockets on and sewing them into your quilts. I don't know if that would work with your designs though. I would love to see them when you're done.
    Rodney
    "Neglect to oil the machine will shorten its life and cause you

    trouble and annoyance" Quote from Singer Model 99 Manual

  7. #7
    Junior Member Caroline94535's Avatar
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    I have cut out patches all around the pockets, leaving a generous seam allowance outside of the pockets' original outside seamed edges. The pockets are still attached just as they were on the original pants.

    Once sewn into a block there will be a denim backing with the denim pocket still sewn on using the seam allowance I left all around it. Clear as mud? The "pockets" blocks will have more bulk, but will still function as the original pants' pockets did for all their "stuff."

    I'll try to get some photos soon.

    The blocks will be roughly 12x12, with no set pattern. I'll just try to use all of the denim and cut the patches to fit the scraps.

    Some blocks will be crazy patches with a bit of embroidery; (if my fingers hold out!); some will be simple vintage block patterns - Churn Dash, Four Patch, Nine Patch, Rail Fence - designs that will work with heavy denim. If a block is too small, I can use more narrow strips to fill it out.

    I may take some of the more narrow pants' legs and cut 6x24 pieces to set between two sets of 12x12 patches to break up some of the various blues with blues patchwork confusion.

    I'm excited to start this project. Now I must decide if I complete all six quilts before giving them to the boys, or start with the oldest nephew and work my way down the list?
    Last edited by Caroline94535; 08-29-2015 at 10:17 AM.
    "Not all those who wander are lost." ~ J.R.R. Tolkien

  8. #8
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    Thank you for posting this question. I have always wondered if I was doing the right thing by running mine for a few minutes every 4 months. Now, I think I wil sew a few quilt patches with them each time, also.
    /Sarah in OK

  9. #9
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    My treadle hadn't been used for over 30 years when I bought her. She had been on display in the house with the machine down. She had been cleaned and oiled before her long vacation. The oil had turned golden brown but was not gummy. I agree that if you run them a few minutes every few months everything will be fine.
    Singer 66 treadle, 15-91. 1036. White 2334 Brother serger. And Singer 600 (Touch & Sew) that doesn't count because I only wanted the cabinet!

  10. #10
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    Oil evaporates over time. The earliest machines came with two oil cans. one for oil, one for kerosene. The kerosene was used if the oil got dried up. It breaks down the varnish that oil becomes, so that you cen the re-oil them to restore operation.

    I do not let my machines that are setup sit for more than 3-4 months without some form of use, machines that are packed down and stored get unpacked every 6 mos for rust check, wipe, and lube.

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