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Thread: treadle tension

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    treadle tension

    Any tips for an absolute novice about to throw her newly acquired treadle out the window if I don't get this tension right? I have had to take the top tension unit apart to replace the take up spring and clean a gazillion years of gunk off everything, and likewise the shuttle tension screw and spring. Now, I'm pretty sure I've got everyone back home where they belong but man.....I just cannot get the tension right! Here's a picture of my top stitching...it doesn't matter how much I loosen the top tension, I still get the funny little corners happening. Am heading for the red wine as we speak!Name:  IMG_4664 (Small).JPG
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  2. #2
    Super Member J Miller's Avatar
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    Your top stitching looks to be a bit tight.

    You didn't say what model machine this is so I'm going to use the SWAG method.

    First, go here to TFSR and read about adjusting tensions:
    { http://www.tfsr.org/publications/tec...machine_manual }
    They have very detailed instruction on how to R&R, clean and fix tensions.

    Second, check under the spring on the bobbin case or shuttle. It can get dirty under there, then the bobbin tension won't be right and the top will be too tight. Once the bobbin case is totally clean run the tension screw in until it stops then back it out a turn. Put a full bobbin in it and thread it. Then hold it by the string and let the bobbin case with bobbin hang. If it just falls away it's too loose. If you give the string a little jerk the bobbin should fall away a bit.
    When pulling the thread you should feel just a bit of resistance, but not much.

    When I have a machine that's being obstinate I usually find that when I get the bobbin right the top will fall into compliance pretty quickly.


    Oh, and be careful if you do toss it out the window, you might sprain your back.

    Joe

  3. #3
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    That TFSR site is wonderful.
    Muv also has a lot of info on her videos and her website.
    HOW TO CLEAN UP and use a vintage sewing machine - videos by Muv and Fav
    check all of her videos her website is on her signature:
    Muv
    http://www.lizzielenard-sewingdesigns.co.uk
    http://www.youtube.com/user/Muvandfarve?feature=mhee
    http://www.lizzielenard-vintagesewing.blogspot.co.uk
    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. #4
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    Thanks Miriam and Miller...had already found these sites. Am getting nowhere...if I loosen the top tension to eliminate the little grabs on the corners I then get the appearance on the underside stitching that the needle thread tension needs tightening. Am really frustrated as I think it must just be my ineptitude but unfortunately I don't have any friends who sew that can help and the sewing machine technician I use is not familiar with treadles. Anyway, the old girl is far to heavy to whack in the car and take to anyone. I may have to just be happy that I have cleaned her up and she looks nice and not worry about using her to sew. Back to the Janome...with my tail between my legs!

  5. #5
    Super Member SteveH's Avatar
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    ruby,

    If you are not too frustrated, perhaps we can do the next best thing to having a "sewing friend" nearby... if you can take a few key pictures, Tensioner, bobbin, shuttle, race area etc. It could be as simple as the bobbin is in the wrong way and the thread is coming out backwards... or something like that.

    Either way, it will get more eyes on the issue and perhaps a solution will present itself.

  6. #6
    Power Poster miriam's Avatar
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    When you are working on tensions it takes patience. Generally I take it apart, clean it and re-assemble it. I sit there with the page from the book - I enlarged it. Carefully follow the instructions. Then do the same with the bobbin shuttle. Adjust it like Muv says. It may need some clean up, too. After all that, it may or may not be the tension. Some times a bit of dried up oil in the tension or a thread race can make things not run smooth. Some times a burr somewhere - hook or the needle hole. A bad needle or the wrong needle or the needle in wrong for the machine can mess things up. A bobbin wound wrong or a bobbin out of round. So many things. You may need to pm with Joe some time as you work on it.
    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

  7. #7
    Muv
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    Senior Member Muv's Avatar
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    Hello Ruby,

    Yes, it can be frustrating.

    Looking at the stitching, either your bobbin tension is too loose, or your top tension is too tight, or it's a touch of both.

    Double check to make sure that you have reassembled the tension discs properly after cleaning. There are photos on my blog which you might find helpful.

    Next, do the shuttle dangle test, which is explained on my video about adjusting the tension. If you need to tighten the screw on the shuttle, only do a fraction of a turn at a time.

    If you post some pictures of your machine, in particular a close up of the tension discs, I might be able to see if there is anything that doesn't look right.

    Good luck - don't give up! The red wine will probably help.

  8. #8
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    Thanks everyone...have been unable to get any good pics of the "innards" of this blessed machine but as luck would have it , today I drove down a road I don't normally use and found a sewing shop. I went in and the lovely lady gave me the phone number of someone who, in turn gave me the phone number of someone who works on treadles.....he lives 10 minutes down the road from me and I'm taking the machine to him tomorrow morning. He is happy to look at it for me and teach me how to do the tension properly. yay! Over the phone he suspects it may be a problem with my shuttle....can't wait for tomorrow to come......in the meantime...where's the rest of that bottle of red! Thanks everyone for all the encouragement and links and I'll report back about the outcome....once I stop blushing about my "novice-ness"!

  9. #9
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    p.s......finally got the bolt thingys loose so I could separate the head from the cabinet and iron work. Phew.....that makes things a lot, lot lighter!! Fits in the boot of the car now!

  10. #10
    Super Member ThayerRags's Avatar
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    I fought with setting the tensions on a machine for a long time once, and the top thread was still too tight even when backed off to "0". I finally noticed that the thread was wrapped around the spool pin under the spool.

    CD in Oklahoma
    "I sew, I sew, so it's off to work I go!!!"
    ThayerRags Fabric Center
    http://thayerrags.com/

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