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Thread: My Mechanic Questions

  1. #1
    Super Member fleurdelisquilts.com's Avatar
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    I just responded to "embarassed" about cleaning and oiling sewing machines. (It's the really long answer.) I realized that I am extremely lucky to be married to a sewing machine mechanic. Since I'm an avid quilter/seamstress, we talk "shop" all the time. Then the thought occurred to me: some of you may have questions you'd love to be able to ask him. He'll never consider getting on the computer, but I don't mind being the mediator, if you don't mind getting answers through a third person. That said, if you have general questions about your sewing machine, post it and we'll give it a whirl. I can't promise answers to every question, especially since he may not have seen your particular brand. Remember, he worked at a factory on industry machines. But we'll do what we can to help or at least should be able to tell you whether you have an urgent problem that should be seen by a pro right away.

  2. #2
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    What a very kind and generous offer!!! Thank you :D:D:D

  3. #3
    Moderator sharon b's Avatar
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    Why THANK YOU and him :thumbup: What a nice offer :lol:

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    Well what a generous offer. Thanks to both of you. I don't have a question just yet, but may in the near future. I just purchased a 1937 FW from Ebay and I know it needs a good cleaning. I did buy the cds and book that Dave McCullum puts out, to try and do my own thing. I have a Bernina I bought in 1985 that I use all the time, and I keep it cleaned and oiled all the time. I have always oiled my machines and kept the fuzzies cleaned out. I am lucky enough that I have never had to take it in to a repair man. Better knock on wood on that. I try to keep my machines cleaned. I always think of my car, oil changes and air filters, always need both clean, so I try to do the same with my sewing machines. However, all this being said should I have a question about either of these I will be using mainly I will definitely post and ASK. Tell dear hubby that if he can work on sewing machines, he can definitely tackle this computer toy. lol.
    But either way, I don't mind going through you for questions and answers. Thanks to both of you for the offer. Gerbie

  5. #5
    Power Poster dkabasketlady's Avatar
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    What a generous offer!! Your DH may be busier than he thinks once everyone reads this great post!!

    Hi and welcome from the sunny state of Florida!!

  6. #6
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    WOOHOO!! Thanks so much for the offer!! :)

    I have a Kenmore that the feeddogs don't work properly on...they move and "cycle", but they don't drop below the plate, so that all they do is move the fabric back and forth with no progression. I've downloaded a service manual for it, torn into it, and checked for a lint buildup under the dogs...nothing. I've adjusted the height of the dogs to it's lowest point...nothing.

    Any other suggestions? It was my mom's machine, I'd love to be able to use it!

  7. #7
    Super Member BKrenning's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlee
    WOOHOO!! Thanks so much for the offer!! :)

    I have a Kenmore that the feeddogs don't work properly on...they move and "cycle", but they don't drop below the plate, so that all they do is move the fabric back and forth with no progression. I've downloaded a service manual for it, torn into it, and checked for a lint buildup under the dogs...nothing. I've adjusted the height of the dogs to it's lowest point...nothing.

    Any other suggestions? It was my mom's machine, I'd love to be able to use it!
    I have a Singer that does that sometimes. It's like the lever doesn't raise them all the way up, though--not down. I just keep fiddling with the lever and they eventually work. Of course this fix may not work forever so it probably should be checked out but to me it seems like the lever that raises & lowers the feed dogs is catching on something so they don't raise all the way up.

  8. #8
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    My question to a sewing mechanic would be this. "How do you actually become one? What classes and training are necessary and how do you go about it? Do you need several kinds of certifications or ??"

  9. #9
    Super Member dglvr's Avatar
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    Thanks. That could be helpful. Okay I'll ask. I have a Jonome
    Memory Craft 4800. My manual is not to clear on the oiling of it. Even though I was told it didn't need oiled I feel it really should be. Alot of times I turn it upside down and take the bottom plate off and clean it out of all the lint but while I have that off is there some places under there that I can oil?
    Thank you so much. Your lucky. ;)

  10. #10
    Super Member dglvr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Candace
    My question to a sewing mechanic would be this. "How do you actually become one? What classes and training are necessary and how do you go about it? Do you need several kinds of certifications or ??"
    I've tried before to learn how to become a sewing machine repair/maintenance mechanic but came up with: You have to be certified to work on say Bernina so you have to have a quiltshop send you to the place they teach it at(at your expense). Then your only certified to work on those particular machines. If someones machine is under warranty and they have someone non certified to that machine do anything to it it voids the warranties. However if you come up with other options on learning how let me know.
    I have to take my machine to a shop that is an hour away.
    I even tried the community colleges around and they had nothing.
    Great question to ask so hopefully someone will know other ways of learning. I would be very interested. ;)

  11. #11
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    Thank you and your kind husband.

  12. #12
    Luckynumber7's Avatar
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    Thank you and your husband for this generous offer, it is very nice of you.

  13. #13
    Super Member Charlee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BKrenning
    Quote Originally Posted by Charlee
    WOOHOO!! Thanks so much for the offer!! :)

    I have a Kenmore that the feeddogs don't work properly on...they move and "cycle", but they don't drop below the plate, so that all they do is move the fabric back and forth with no progression. I've downloaded a service manual for it, torn into it, and checked for a lint buildup under the dogs...nothing. I've adjusted the height of the dogs to it's lowest point...nothing.

    Any other suggestions? It was my mom's machine, I'd love to be able to use it!
    I have a Singer that does that sometimes. It's like the lever doesn't raise them all the way up, though--not down. I just keep fiddling with the lever and they eventually work. Of course this fix may not work forever so it probably should be checked out but to me it seems like the lever that raises & lowers the feed dogs is catching on something so they don't raise all the way up.

    These are not dogs that drop...there's a plate that goes over them for embroidery and FMQ...

  14. #14
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Is he ready for Ask Me sessions? This would be a great category just for questions for him. ADMIN? I bet he will learn a lot about domestic machines too!

  15. #15
    Super Member fleurdelisquilts.com's Avatar
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    I didn't expect this many responses in such a short time. I'll start with the how do you become a mechanic question and answer the others when Richard is around. He started working for a garment factory because in our rural area there really weren't many choices. He worked at the lowest position for a few months and then moved up to something else. After a few more months, the bosses noticed his good work ethic and offered him a position as a mechanic. He had a great boss who mentored him and really taught him the basics. Then the company sent him to different places to learn one machine after another. He wasn't afraid to ask for help and he worked hard to learn everything he could. Eventually his boss retired and they asked him to take over as the supervisor. Then when the maintence supervisor left, he took that position as well, which means he was in charge of fixing the machines and making sure the plant had everything it needed to run: heat, elecrical, water, a/c, air, even controlling the pest problem and getting the grass cut came under his wing. But he really liked it and stayed with it until the plant closed a few years ago. He put the final lock on the door and turned the keys over to the new building owner. Surprisingly, many of the mechanics he knows sort of fell into the position the way he did. On the job trainging and specialized training were the way they all learned the job.

    Many home machine mechanics are people who worked in the garment industry and then got certified for a particular brand. Few get certified in every brand because it's a long, expensive process. But unless your machine is under warranty, this shouldn't deter you. The older models are basically the same on the inside. Now if your machine is under warranty, definitely go back to the dealer who sold you the machine so that you don't void the warranty. For example, Richard can fix my new Bernina, but I take it to Baton Rouge to get it serviced. A certified guy must be the one to break the seal. Richard fixes and services my older machines because they aren't under warranty. He also answers my questions and helps me decide when to bring in the Bernina. (I had a few problems last year.) Again, never mess with stuff you don't know for certain or haven't be trained to do. A machine can be knocked out of timing just the slightest (a milisecond) and not run quite right, causing skipped or bad stitches, thread breakage, tension issues, and so on. Also, anytime you bring the machine to a mechanic, bring in the manual, any tools that came with it, and a bobbin of thread. You would do well to thread it before bringing it in so that he can check to make sure you are threading it correctly. Even after all these years of sewing and reading the manual, I threaded my new long-arm wrong--I had never heard of double-looping the thread around the tension, how was I to know to do that? Rich caught it right away and now it sews beautifully. I told him the tension was wrong and I wanted him to set it. Who knows what would have happened had I not left the machine threaded.

    Again, thanks for the many responses. And hang in there for answers. My mom is very sick but we'll get to your questions eventually

  16. #16
    Super Member fleurdelisquilts.com's Avatar
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    I would clean anywhere I can reach and oil the moving parts that are metal (not plastics) and then leave the rest to a pro.

  17. #17
    Super Member fleurdelisquilts.com's Avatar
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    Shoot, I thought I answered this one....who knows where I sent that response!

    Here goes again, clean the areas you can reach and oil the moving parts that are metal (not plastic), and leave the rest to a professional.

  18. #18
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    When your hubby checks a machine, does he take a look at the battery case as well? I'm asking because I took my machine in to a repair shop regularly. When the "battery low" message came on, I tried to exchange the battery only to find out that the entire case was corroded shut. It must have taken a long time. I never thought to look - - - suppose I assumed that the shop checked "everything." WRONG!

  19. #19
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    That is so sweet. It's nice to know help may be a post away.

  20. #20
    Super Member blahel's Avatar
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    thankyou very much for your kind offer for advice. i am sorry to hear that your mum is not well and hope she gets better soon.
    Anyhow my question which I did also post in the other thread (i am a bit embarrassed) but thought I would also post in here incase people dont go to the other thread.
    In researching how to oil and maintain my Bernina Artista 180 I read that you should only use rotary hook oil (mobil velocite #10) on the rotary hook as normal sewing machine oil will gunk it up as it is too thick. Is this correct?
    I have now thoroughly cleaned out the bobbin area but have not oiled it as did not want to damage anything as my machine is my baby...Also i bought generic oil and it says you can use it on sewing machines, is this true or should you get special oil for the other parts too?

  21. #21
    Super Member fleurdelisquilts.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Charlee
    WOOHOO!! Thanks so much for the offer!! :)

    I have a Kenmore that the feeddogs don't work properly on...they move and "cycle", but they don't drop below the plate, so that all they do is move the fabric back and forth with no progression. I've downloaded a service manual for it, torn into it, and checked for a lint buildup under the dogs...nothing. I've adjusted the height of the dogs to it's lowest point...nothing.

    Any other suggestions? It was my mom's machine, I'd love to be able to use it!
    Richard says the collar is probably hung up or stuck, so the feeddogs can't work properly. Try this: open the machine so you can see the inside, turn the handwheel by hand in sewing direction and watch the feeddogs, when they get to the farthest back position, roll just a hair more so you can see when the dogs should begin to move down. Clean and oil (lots of oil) and move the hand wheel back and forth just a little to work the oil onto the collar. Re-oil and work the hand wheel again, and keep this up until the collar starts to move and the dogs roll down and around. It takes time and patience to loosen the dogs and collar but it should eventually work.

  22. #22
    Super Member fleurdelisquilts.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadQuilter
    When your hubby checks a machine, does he take a look at the battery case as well? I'm asking because I took my machine in to a repair shop regularly. When the "battery low" message came on, I tried to exchange the battery only to find out that the entire case was corroded shut. It must have taken a long time. I never thought to look - - - suppose I assumed that the shop checked "everything." WRONG!
    Did I imply that Rich works on machines now? Sorry. He doesn't. Well, he gets roped into it on occasion, but it's not his "real" job. To answer your question, though, he would check the battery and everything else if he were servicing the machine. To service means that they're cleaning and oiling and doing whatever is necessary to prevent problems. Checking the battery and recommending that you replace it when necessary should be part of that. I hope that the company made good on the battery and replaced it and repaired any damage.

  23. #23
    Super Member fleurdelisquilts.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blahel
    thankyou very much for your kind offer for advice. i am sorry to hear that your mum is not well and hope she gets better soon.
    Anyhow my question which I did also post in the other thread (i am a bit embarrassed) but thought I would also post in here incase people dont go to the other thread.
    In researching how to oil and maintain my Bernina Artista 180 I read that you should only use rotary hook oil (mobil velocite #10) on the rotary hook as normal sewing machine oil will gunk it up as it is too thick. Is this correct?
    I have now thoroughly cleaned out the bobbin area but have not oiled it as did not want to damage anything as my machine is my baby...Also i bought generic oil and it says you can use it on sewing machines, is this true or should you get special oil for the other parts too?

    Use an oil that specifies sewing machine oil, because, yes, it has to be very thin. Go to your favorite quilt or fabric shop, or a place that sells sewing machines to buy a good quality oil. It takes only a few drops, so a little will last quite a long time. The same oil can be used throughout the machine.

  24. #24
    Senior Member Katia's Avatar
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    I have a quick question. One of my machines, a Bernina 1011, was working fine. Still sewing fine as far as I know, but the last time I tried to use the bobbin winder, nothing. I did the usual normal stuff. But the winding does not happen. Is this something I can look into, or should I just take it in?

  25. #25
    Super Member fleurdelisquilts.com's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Katia
    I have a quick question. One of my machines, a Bernina 1011, was working fine. Still sewing fine as far as I know, but the last time I tried to use the bobbin winder, nothing. I did the usual normal stuff. But the winding does not happen. Is this something I can look into, or should I just take it in?
    I assume that the machine was plugged in, you turned on the winder mechanism correctly, and the machine was turned on. (you'd be surprised)

    First try one more time, making sure everything else is working properly and you fully engaged the winder mechanism. If you still have a problem, take the machine in because it could be that the bobbin winder is disconnected, has a short or is frozen. You can't fix any of those and it would be dangerous to try--you could damage the machine or shock yourself if you a wire is loose or damaged.

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