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Thread: Anybody heard of a Nelco sewing machine? Worth fixing up?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Sharon - NC's Avatar
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    My parents saw one at a yard sale and bought it for me, since they knew I wanted to get into quilting. It was only $25, and came with the table/stand. The man who sold it told them it was his wife's, and she was a professional seamstress. The instruction book has a lot of her handwritten notes in it. My question is: it works, but the tension is "off" so I need to put some money into it to get it working perfectly. I don't know if this is a good machine and worth fixing or not. I have purchased a refurbished brother so I can use that now, but this "old" one seems real sturdy and probably worth fixing. Since I've never heard of Nelco, I'm not sure if it is worth it ... anybody know of it? Opinions? Thanks in advance for your input.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Rachel's Avatar
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    My mom bought one 20 years ago from some type of overstock sale. It had tension problems and we could never get it fixed. I don't know that she spent much money trying, but it was a headache from the start. If you can find someone that would try to fix it CHEAP, then it might be worth it, but I wouldn't spend much money on it...

  3. #3
    Senior Member Sharon - NC's Avatar
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    Thanks, Rachel. Interesting that it's the same problem. I appreciate the heads-up.

  4. #4
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    Sounds like they've been around for a long time and are still being made.. for commercial use... here's a place to start investigating. http://en.allexperts.com/q/Sewing-32...ing-manual.htm

  5. #5
    Senior Member Sharon - NC's Avatar
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    Thanks, Tippy!

  6. #6
    Super Member lalaland's Avatar
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    My first really nice machine was a Nelco, purchased back in 1972, and I loved it. I don't remember why I got rid of it but I believe, because I was moving around so much, that it was just too heavy to continue moving around so I had to give it up. Be sure you check both the bobbin and upper tension. The bobbin tension is easy to fix, upper tension is trickier. Take it in and ask your service technician to give you an estimate and explanation of what's wrong. If it's an easy fix - go for it! The older machines have all metal parts, are heavier and more durable, which is a major plus when quilting. My Nelco did everything a Pfaff could do for about a fifth of the cost. I wish I still had it.

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    Hi lalaland(I love your name!)
    I have a beautiful, well taken care of Nelco Sewing Machine (no.50917). It belonged to my Grandmother and I'm sure that she would be happy to see that it went to someone who truly appreciated it. If you are interested in purchasing it, I also live in California and could try to arrange something for you.

  8. #8
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    I just had to respond. I've had my Nelco serger for around 20 years. I've made numerous bridesmaid dresses in addition to quilts, alterations, baby blankets, tons of mending and too many things to remember. I absolutely love my machine. When it was new - I jotted down some basic tension settings from the manual for standard seams, rolled hems, gathering, etc and those notes still work all these years later. If the tension is messed up - it usually means I haven't gotten the thread snugged down into the tension dials. You have to gently tug it into the groove each time you change thread. Perhaps some models are better than others and I don't honestly know what model mine is, but it still works great and I still love my machine.

  9. #9
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    Nelco Sewing Machine

    Quote Originally Posted by Sharon - NC View Post
    My parents saw one at a yard sale and bought it for me, since they knew I wanted to get into quilting. It was only $25, and came with the table/stand. The man who sold it told them it was his wife's, and she was a professional seamstress. The instruction book has a lot of her handwritten notes in it. My question is: it works, but the tension is "off" so I need to put some money into it to get it working perfectly. I don't know if this is a good machine and worth fixing or not. I have purchased a refurbished brother so I can use that now, but this "old" one seems real sturdy and probably worth fixing. Since I've never heard of Nelco, I'm not sure if it is worth it ... anybody know of it? Opinions? Thanks in advance for your input.
    Hi: Just seen your question about a Nelco Sewing Machine. I have one that I have used since 1965. I purchased it in 1965. This machine is a sister to the Necchi Sewing Machine, which is a very expensive sewing machine. I used it so much that about 20 years ago I purchased a new motor for it. They are located in New York. I can't begin to tell you how much I have used this machine. I have made so many pairs of drapes, awnings, boat covers, dresses, costumes for boy scouts you name it this machine has done it. This machine cost more back in 1965 than the cheaper machines cost now. It is well made and whatever it needs fix it. You can't possibly buy a machine made today that will be the work horse that one is. If you need the manual I still have mine, however that machine is so easy to use.
    Good luck. Joyce

  10. #10
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    The New Yorker who imported Italian made Necchi sewing machines in the late 50s decided to make a machine on his own. He had these made in Japan, which normally means a well made machine. Necchi sued as the name he was using was way too close to Necchi and the machines are not in any way Necchis or related to them. I think Nelco was the new name he chose.

    I'd get the tension worked on one time. These old Japanese machines are workhorses, as previous posted have indicated.

  11. #11
    Super Member 1screech's Avatar
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    Have you cleaned and oiled it, rethreaded it, changed the needle? All of these things can make tension off. I have been searching for a manual.

  12. #12
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    Getting an estimate from your dealer sounds like a really good idea. Then you can decide what to do with it.

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    Hello to all. I just joined this forum after searching with Google for a question I have, about a Nelco machine I recently purchased.

    My question is... Does anyone know if it is possible to repair the stud that carries the upper tension discs, spring, and adjustment knob? The one that I have is loose and comes out of the casing. Might someone know how to fix it?

    From the looks of the stud/post itself, and looking in the hole where it goes, it seems there is a set screw or a roll pin that locks it in place and may have come loose, but I don't know for sure. Where it goes is one of the most difficult places to see inside of the casing from other open areas, looking in. I hope this was understandable.

    Help!

  14. #14
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    bartack, I think you should post your question on the "antique and vintage machines" discussions. There are many very knowledgeable people there who all love vintage machines and know just about everything there is to know about them. Actually, that would probably be a good idea for the owner of the Nelco machine, too.

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    JustAbit,

    Good idea and, ... done.

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    Get rid of it. Old appliances are covered in lead paint.

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    I have one that I purchased when my first born was due, she is now 45 years old. I use it on a daily basis. The biggest thing with adjusting the tension, is first to know how to do it correctly and to play with it. If the tread is too close to the top your bobbin is not tight enough, etc. I couldn't live without mine . . I can sew real fast with it, I can sew Leather with it . . and I do everything from clothes to quilts and all of our law enforcements and EMT patches

  18. #18
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HeatherSyl View Post
    Get rid of it. Old appliances are covered in lead paint.
    Is this really true? The vintage section is chock a block with old machines and I've never heard about lead paint before. Can you give us a reference pertaining to sewing machines? thanks.
    Alyce

  19. #19
    Super Member Cari-in-Oly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stitchnripper View Post
    Is this really true? The vintage section is chock a block with old machines and I've never heard about lead paint before. Can you give us a reference pertaining to sewing machines? thanks.
    Alyce,
    No it's not true, and seeing's how that was the only post she ever made, I don't think she was here very long. Sewing machines were first japanned, then went to a heavy enamel paint.
    And Nelco machines were Japanese made and not affiliated in any way with the Italian Necchi's other than being imported by the same distributor until Necchi canned him for it.

    Cari
    Last edited by Cari-in-Oly; 09-29-2014 at 02:03 PM.

  20. #20
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    I would just ask around for suggestions on a good sewing machine repair man. I know of one where I live. They usually can find the problem easily and will give you an estimate on what it will cost. Your DSM may just need a tune up like a car to get everything adjusted properly which will run about $100 depending on where you live.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  21. #21
    Senior Member quiltedsunshine's Avatar
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    From the images that came up on Google, it looks like it's a side-loading machine, which usually means the needle goes in side-ways. That would make a huge difference, to have the needle in the right way. The older machines are really sturdy, but your sewing machine mechanic might charge up to $100 to service it. It shouldn't cost anything for your mechanic to give you an estimate. I wouldn't put more than $80 into it. Does the foot control work? Just to replace that would add another $35 or more.
    Annette in Utah

  22. #22
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    Bartack, The setscrew may be in the bottom of your machine. It is very tiny. Look for it and if you find it, put it back in the stud inside the machine. It will tighten up the stud. If it is gone, that is your problem. Be careful with the stud. I have been hunting one, and can't find one.

  23. #23
    Super Member sewwhat85's Avatar
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    "Get rid of it. Old appliances are covered in lead paint."
    In response I do not lick my sewing machine
    Nancy

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    Looking for manual for a Nelco B-250-B-3

    Quote Originally Posted by Joyce123 View Post
    Hi: Just seen your question about a Nelco Sewing Machine. I have one that I have used since 1965. I purchased it in 1965. This machine is a sister to the Necchi Sewing Machine, which is a very expensive sewing machine. I used it so much that about 20 years ago I purchased a new motor for it. They are located in New York. I can't begin to tell you how much I have used this machine. I have made so many pairs of drapes, awnings, boat covers, dresses, costumes for boy scouts you name it this machine has done it. This machine cost more back in 1965 than the cheaper machines cost now. It is well made and whatever it needs fix it. You can't possibly buy a machine made today that will be the work horse that one is. If you need the manual I still have mine, however that machine is so easy to use.
    Good luck. Joyce
    Joyce,

    I am looking for a manual for a Nelco N-250-B-3. Yours wouldn't happen to be that model would it? Can't even find one to buy, one similar, but not quite correct.

    Jan

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewwhat85 View Post
    "Get rid of it. Old appliances are covered in lead paint."
    In response I do not lick my sewing machine
    Good come back

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