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Thread: Best Sewing Machine Oil?

  1. #1
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Best Sewing Machine Oil?

    I really miss my old Kenmore, for piecing! Took it apart again, for the umpteenth time, trying to figure out why it wants to balk. No lint build-up, no thread nests, nothing obvious . . . except that I noticed one of the little "oil this" areas was practically bone dry. I oiled the whole shebang, less than a month ago and haven't used it, since. SO! I'm wondering if maybe my Singer sewing machine oil is too old. Does sewing machine oil expire (found no date on the can)? Can't remember when I bought it but am betting it was at least a good 10 years ago!

    Anyway, I need advice! What's the best sewing machine oil, to be had? This is a 158.19142 Kenmore, about 35 years old.

    Thanks, for any advice!
    Neesie


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  2. #2
    Senior Member Katia's Avatar
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    Does sewing machine get old?

  3. #3
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    I don't think the oil is old. Give it a chance to work its way into the gears. BUT sew some scraps to make sure you did not over oil or you will have it on the fabric. My mother got one in the 1940's it still runs but you do need to oil where it tells you to. Do you have a manual? That would help

  4. #4
    Super Member Havplenty's Avatar
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    the vintage machine group swears by tri-flow. it's on my list of oils to get. you can also ask on that thread about your kenmore and its issues. maybe someone can assist or have had the same issues and can offer some advice.
    Last edited by Havplenty; 07-17-2012 at 09:12 AM.
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  5. #5
    Super Member icon17's Avatar
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    I asked my other 1/2 and he said Oil won't go bad! But I do know it can get Gummed up so maybe your Machine needs the insides Cleaned of the old Gunky oil build up? as to how I don't know but Maybe here on the site somewhere the info you need to do it?
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  6. #6
    Super Member mike'sgirl's Avatar
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    I recently bought a singer from the 50's and went looking for how to care for it. I found an instruction book online that said to oil those old machines daily. I don't know if yours would need it that often, but I do know that sewing machine oil evaporates so that it won't gum up the machine. That is why it's important to use only sewing machine oil. I would suggest oiling it more often, maybe every week if you use it a lot, or bimonthly if you use it less often.
    I can't answer about the age of the oil, but would think that it would be fine to keep using it. I think it is good for a long time.

  7. #7
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Beebee View Post
    I don't think the oil is old. Give it a chance to work its way into the gears. BUT sew some scraps to make sure you did not over oil or you will have it on the fabric. My mother got one in the 1940's it still runs but you do need to oil where it tells you to. Do you have a manual? That would help
    Yes, I have the manual and have oiled it, repeatedly. Right after oiling, it runs smoothly for maybe an hour or so, then starts balking again. I've oiled and let it sit, also. I've had this machine, for about 35 years, and it's been a sweetheart, until this past year. After we moved, it sat unused, for a couple years (lack of sewing space), so I suspect that has something to do with the current problem.
    Neesie


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  8. #8
    Super Member Havplenty's Avatar
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    you need to oil vintage machines almost daily if you use them 8 hrs or more to keep the metal parts running smoothly. yes sewing machine oil evaporates which is it suppose to do or you would have gumming problems.
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  9. #9
    Super Member Havplenty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neesie View Post
    Yes, I have the manual and have oiled it, repeatedly. Right after oiling, it runs smoothly for maybe an hour or so, then starts balking again. I've oiled and let it sit, also. I've had this machine, for about 35 years, and it's been a sweetheart, until this past year. After we moved, it sat unused, for a couple years (lack of sewing space), so I suspect that has something to do with the current problem.
    try the tri-flow oil. many of the vintage machines we score today have sat forever without use so your kenmore cannot use that as an excuse. maybe you just need to oil more frequently like every day. i am sewing on my singer 15-91 (i just love jo-jo) and i oil her everyday. she just purrs along happily.
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  10. #10
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Havplenty View Post
    the vintage machine group swears by tri-flow. it's on my list of oils to get. you can also ask on that thread about your kenmore and its issues. maybe someone can assist or have had the same issues and can offer some advice.
    Thanks! Will look into that.

    I'm pretty certain it's an oil issue, since it runs smoothly immediately after oiling.
    Neesie


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  11. #11
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Thanks for the advice and suggestions, everyone!
    Neesie


    By all means let's be open-minded, but not so open-minded that our brains drop out.
    ~Richard Dawkins

  12. #12
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Havplenty View Post
    try the tri-flow oil. many of the vintage machines we score today have sat forever without use so your kenmore cannot use that as an excuse. maybe you just need to oil more frequently like every day. i am sewing on my singer 15-91 (i just love jo-jo) and i oil her everyday. she just purrs along happily.
    Last time I was sewing on her, I got maybe a good hour's worth of sewing done, before having to give her more oil. After the third time (same sitting), I just gave up and decided to buy a new machine. I've oiled and let her sit. Doesn't help. A relatively short while after oiling and starting to sew, the problem starts. I'll start a new seam and she hesitates, until I put more pressure on the pedal, which causes her to race ahead.

    Will try to get a good picture, of the area I think may be the problem.
    Neesie


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  13. #13
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Aside from oiling, have you lubed the gears? Lube *goes* get old, sticky and gummy. On old machines I get a tube of sewing machine lubrication, try to scrape off as much as I can of the old stuff on the gears, then add new lubrication. Just be careful where you put the lubrication -- it goes *only* on gears (the things with teeth).

    It may be that when you put new oil on, there's enough excess oil to compensate for sticky gears.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Ginaky's Avatar
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    If it's sewing, slows and down and then races when you push on the pedal, it sounds like the pedal itself could be faulty. I would definitely get that checked out. It could be overheating and causing problems like that.
    Regina in Richmond, KY

  15. #15
    Senior Member Patti25314's Avatar
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    From what I've learned about oiling and lubricating (and yes, tri flow is the best!), it should be oil and sew. Not oil and sit. The older machines have a lot of metal to metal places that need TLC. I also agree that the foot pedal might have an issue.

  16. #16
    Super Member Havplenty's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prism99 View Post
    Aside from oiling, have you lubed the gears? Lube *goes* get old, sticky and gummy. On old machines I get a tube of sewing machine lubrication, try to scrape off as much as I can of the old stuff on the gears, then add new lubrication. Just be careful where you put the lubrication -- it goes *only* on gears (the things with teeth).



    It may be that when you put new oil on, there's enough excess oil to compensate for sticky gears.
    oh yes. i forgot about the lube. you need to do that also but less frequently. and regarding the foot pedal, my 25+ yr old babylock was having problems in the foot pedal. when i called for a replacement was told $35+. so i took the foot pedal apart to inspect it. what i found was that one of the striker pieces (when you depress the pedal) had worn down and could no longer strike properly. so i turned that piece around to use the less worn part and presto, we were back in business again.
    Last edited by Havplenty; 07-17-2012 at 11:33 AM.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Donnamarie's Avatar
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    I purchased some sewing machine oil from a Bernina dealer, don't know the brand. But, he did tell me that machine oil should be clear. If its yellow, dispose of it and purchase new stuff.

  18. #18
    Super Member Caroline S's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Havplenty View Post
    the vintage machine group swears by tri-flow. it's on my list of oils to get. you can also ask on that thread about your kenmore and its issues. maybe someone can assist or have had the same issues and can offer some advice.
    I agree with Havplenty. Post a pic of your sewing machine on the Vintage board. I am sure you will get a lot of suggestions. I also agree with some of the others that the real issue may be the foot controller.
    Sweet Caroline

  19. #19
    Super Member Deborahlees's Avatar
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    Could this group be any more informative....I think not...you are all so giving of information and concerned about others problems and wanting to help.....

  20. #20
    Super Member Neesie's Avatar
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    I don't think it's the foot pedal, as when the sticking occurs, the hand wheel is also sluggish to turn. Here's a picture, of the possible problem area (2), along with some mysterious goop (1). In the (2) area, there's a groove/scratch, which probably shouldn't be there. Can't get into the area, to see the plates on either side. The (2) spot is one to be oiled; the oil doesn't seem to stay on it, at all.
    The goop feels like Vaseline. Could that be a build-up of old oil?
    Name:  KenmoreQuestions.jpg
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    Last edited by Neesie; 07-18-2012 at 08:04 AM.
    Neesie


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  21. #21
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    Maybe you need a new belt?? Not sure, but maybe when it turns and heats up, it stretches just enough to make it sluggish? Time to take it to the "hospital".

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